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Reflections on Rough Mix 2020

Reflections on Rough Mix 2020 Photo: Jenna Watt.

I’m writing this in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown, which makes this reflection even more poignant. It was only a few months ago that I spent two incredible weeks at Summerhall working with a brilliant bunch of artists on Rough Mix. In case you don’t know, Rough Mix is Magnetic North’s annual opportunity for 5 experienced artists to workshop their ideas alongside 2 emerging artists and a group of performers.

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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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David Shrigley's Pass The Spoon Character Drawings

Here's how some of our Pass The Spoon favourites began life:

 

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Watch a full recording of Pass The Spoon (until 31 May 2020).

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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 Theatre Productions Ltd.
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