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In the Space/Time continuum

Space/Time at Cove Park, photo by Eoin Carey Space/Time at Cove Park, photo by Eoin Carey

During the week of 11th May, we’ll be trialling an online version of our Space/Time retreat.  Usually Space/Time is a residency in a rural location – previously venues include Cove Park in Argyle and Bute, The Old Brewery in Cromarty, Lyth Arts Centre near Wick, Findhorn in Moray, and the Swallow Theatre in Dumfries and Galloway. This is because being away from your regular surroundings is an important element in allowing people to focus on themselves without distraction.  Clearly this is not currently possible, so - like everyone else – we’re having to work out how to do things differently.

People are often intrigued by the idea of these retreats and ask what they’re like. It’s quite hard to explain what the experience itself is like as each person’s experience is different – though participant Rob Young has done a very good job in a previous post – but I can describe what the structure is and what the ideas behind it are.

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Virtual walks in real places

Photo by Nicholas Bone

As reported in my previous post, we began our first development week on Sara Maitland's book Gossip from the Forest in the week the lockdown began. We had already planned to work slightly differently because of the travel restrictions that had been introduced the week before, but Boris Johnson's announcement came immediately after we had finished our first day so more adaptations were needed.

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Artist Attachment update

In January 2020 I took part in Magnetic North’s Rough Mix Residency, where I was given the opportunity to collaborate with artists from varying practices on a new work. The other artists were Flavia Hevia, Uther Dean, Gavin Glover, Greg Sinclair, Kol Sigfúsdóttir, Rachel Drazek, Apphia Campbell, Claire Willoughby, Elspeth Turner, Marion Geoffray, Nicholas Alban and Sean Hay.

Leading up to the residency, I was really unsure about what I wanted to explore, with different projects tumbling around in my mind, I felt a real pressure to pick the ‘right’ one, and to come out of the residency with a really solid WIP. I was also a little unsure of how to use the main resource available to us: six performers, especially as I was still unclear about what form I wanted to explore.

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Magnetic North: Adapting to a new world

Magnetic North is developing a new performance project based on the book Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland. The book explores the strong connections between folk tales and forests, and investigates our forest-dwelling roots. Our adaptation will use live music (particularly traditional/folk) and storytelling. The team working with Magnetic North’s Artistic Director Nicholas Bone is writer Martin O’Connor, songwriter Kirsty Law and three performers: Biff Smith, Kirsty Eila McIntyre and Claire Eliza Willoughby (you can read more about them at the end of this post). 

We were due to begin work on the adaptation with a development week beginning today at Summerhall, but like everyone else we have had to re-think our plans very quickly. Half the team is based in Edinburgh, the other half in Glasgow. Once the advice about only undertaking essential travel was given, we realised that it wouldn’t be possible to all be in the same physical space. After talking to everyone, it was apparent that people still wanted to work, even if we couldn’t all be physically in the same place. So this morning, we’ll start an experiment in working together separately. The three Edinburgh artists all live within walking distance of Summerhall and will meet in a studio big enough to mean they can be in the same room while maintaining the suggested physical distance from each other. We will undertake tasks, including learning the song that Kirsty Law has written, and at times the other three will join us via a video-conferencing app. How will it work? We don’t know, but we will talk about it at the end of each day and see how we feel. It’ll be a learning experience, but we are all going to have to get used to doing things differently over the next few months.

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Space/Time residency March 2020

Magnetic North is delighted to announce the artists who have been selected to take part in our next Space/Time retreat.  This edition of Space/Time is presented in partnership with Dance North Scotland and will take place at Findhorn, Moray.

Space/Time is a paid creative retreat for experienced artists from different disciplines that asks the question “How does an artist keep developing?”.  It aims to refresh participants through a stimulating examination of creativity. During the residency, we explore how creativity can be nourished and how artists can continue challenging themselves to develop.  The residency combines facilitated dialogue - built around a series of self-generated questions - with time for individual reflection and work as well as time to cook and eat together. It is led by Nicholas Bone and Alice McGrath.

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Latest Comment

Guest - J. Sharp Taking A Walk
07 September 2014
Very much enjoyed your show at the Brunton Theatre last night and the silent walk to start was an excellent addition, creating the perfect atmosphere....

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