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    Theatre and Dance Previews

    The show will be called The Secret Ingredient
    The Secret Ingredient

    The Big Spring Project update!

    Katy Lewis
    We catch up with the St Albans community arts project, where they started with a theme and a blank canvas to see where it would take them!

    The Big Spring Project 2007

    This is Trestle’s third Community Project and is part of the ‘Making Space at Trestle’ programme – which provides opportunities for local people of all ages and abilities to get involved in the arts.

    Trestle’s Big Spring Project 2007 is about to culminate in an interactive theatrical art event The Secret Ingredient.  The theatre at Trestle Arts Base will be transformed from 28-31 March into a magical, colourful exhibition – a feast for the senses! 

    The Secret Ingredient project has been created over 10 weeks by Trestle and diverse local community members.  There will be daily live performances inside the exhibition featuring Trestle performers and participants of this years project, and audiences will also be able to visit the exhibits at their leisure during the day.

    Based on the theme of food, the performances and the exhibition explore stories and symbolism of food in different cultures, its place at the heart of communities, and how it both connects and divides people.  Audiences will be able to make sculptures and contribute their own stories, leaving their own mark on the community project. 

    Exhibition: open daily 11.30am – 1.30pm and 3.00-5.00pm.

    Performances inside the exhibition: daily at 7.00pm, Sat mat - 3.00pm

    Performance tickets: £5/£4

    Exhibition only: entrance by donation.

    For more information or to book tickets please contact Trestle on 01727 850950.

    Imagine starting a project with a basic theme, a group of adults and children from the local community, and the proverbial blank canvas. i.e. no real idea where you're going to end up!

    Well that's exactly what Trestle, St Albans’ resident professional theatre and arts organisation are doing with The Big Spring Project, a creative community activity celebrating the cultural diversity of St Albans.

    Following the success of last year's event, The Big Spring Project 2007 is bringing together local people of all ages from a range of cultural backgrounds and is led by a professional creative team from Trestle, with the aim of creating "something".

    At the beginning of January, co-directors Laura Halliwell and Fenella Lee had a basic theme of "food" and were hoping that at the end of 12 weeks, they would end up with some sort of performance plus an interactive exhibition – but they honestly didn't know what it would be!

    Now, after nearly three months of weekly workshops they are nearing the end of the project and that performance piece and exhibition, entitled 'The Secret Ingredient' are almost ready!

    We spoke to three people involved with the project to see how they got involved and how they were getting on.

    Dina Mandalia

    Big Spring Project: Dina
    Big Spring Project: Dina

    I got an email from a friend to say that this project was happening here. I lived in Sandridge for ten years but now I live near Royston and I wanted to go back and see what was happening in the area where I used to live. So I phoned and asked if it was possible to take part in the project, they said yes and that's how I got involved.

    It is 30 miles away but definitely worth it because I like working with different age groups. I go to my local playgroups and primary and secondary schools and I teach English as a Second Language to adults in Cambridge. This project gives me the opportunity to work with the primary sector.  

    I'm not an actress but I get involved with lots of projects. I organise diversity projects in the prison service because I used to be on the Independent Monitoring Board  of the Little Hay Prison and I have also organised sari workshops because I am a Hindu.

    At the start of the project, the students were asking us questions such as what is your favourite food, and then we drew pictures to say what sort of things we liked and why we liked them - that was the start of it.

    Now we are doing lots of improvisations to express our inner feelings - if we feel like being somebody or feel like eating something - you can actually express yourself in so many ways. You don't have to be intimidated by who is in front of you, listen to your inner voice, that is I think the main concept of this project.

    There are also lots of resources being developed while we are doing all these things. We draw pictures and we express our views. We do some actions and we are acting, we are absorbing a lot of things so that we know what we are going to do. We are building up confidence and things like that and we are also building up lots of resources which people will be able to relate to because it's all visual.

    Anjum, aged nine

    Laura and Fenella passed on a letter to our school and we had to fill in a form saying what we could do.

    The Big Spring Project is about food and we've been playing games and talking about food and thinking about what kinds of food are healthy and doing drawings of them. We've also been chatting about what we're going to do in the performance.

    We've been drawing food and making stuff like seeds into balls. There will be an exhibition of these during the performances and we might take them home as well!

    I've enjoyed the games we've been doing, they are really fun and I've enjoyed doing the drawings as well.

    The performance will be about a little girl who is wanting to have food but is a bit bored. The performances are this month (March) and I can't wait - no one knows their part yet. They've explained it all to us about what's going to happen but we still don't know what we're going to do! I'm really excited.

    Gwen Isaac

    Big Spring Project: Gwen
    Big Spring Project: Gwen

    The ladies from Trestle Theatre came to an Active Lifestyle club that I attend for more mature people and asked if any of us would like to take part and I thought I'd give it a go!

    Normally people like the police and fire officers come and speak to us and we're also doing a computer course but this is very different, I've never done any acting before but I've always had an inner urge towards it.

    At the first session we had to pretend to be someone else, I had to be a 21-year-old up market yuppie type person. It was very good, I enjoyed it, you had to totally put yourself into that character and be someone else. The images and words came and I was just that part. There was no script, it just came straight from the brain.

    We've also been writing about our hobbies and things we like and the food we like and dislike.

    There will be a performance at the end of March where we shall perform to the public. That will be my first time and I'm very much looking forward to it.

    The most enjoyable thing has been coming here and meeting all the different people and being able to interact with each other, seeing the children and their happy faces - they really enjoy it as well, and we learn from each other. I don't agree with the saying never work with children and animals, because where would we be without the children? We all get on very well.       

    The performance is something that will really get you thinking so come along. It's interesting, you will have a laugh and just for five minutes, half an hour or whatever, come away from whatever you are doing, have a change and just chill for half an hour with us and have a laugh!

    Read our interview with Laura Halliwell and Fenella Lee at the start of the project.
    The Big Spring Project! >
    Picture gallery: Big Spring Project 2007 >

    For more information or to book tickets please contact Trestle on 01727 850950.

    last updated: 03/04/07
     
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    Anjum (st.albans, camp school)
    Today was our last performance and it was brilliant. everyone done very well, and i wish to do something like this again.

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