Ramblings on the development process of Whole:

Whole has been in development for 3 years. It began with a writing residential run by theatre maker and poet Hannah Jane Walker at Cambridge Junction, which led to a sharing of some early writing, which led to a successful ACE award for R&D. 

The R&D aimed to develop my skills from actor to theatre maker & to start making the show, culminating in a work in progress sharing. I got to work with some fantastic theatre makers: Jamie Wood, Josie Dale-Jones, Marcin Rudy & Hannah Jane Walker, for 3-4 days each, exploring different ways to approach the piece.

An early 20 min work in progress of ‘Whole’ was shown in May 2019 at Cambridge Junction, and I have since been awarded a New Ideas Award from an open competitive call, to help towards developing the piece into a full length show. 

Further development of the piece has been created & explored on Haley McGees Solo Show Creation lab Part 1 & Part 2, (October 2019 - Feb 2020). This course is excellent & highly recommended to solo theatre makers who want to test their stuff & take risks in a supportive environment www.haleymcgee.ca/workshops 

The process culminated in another scratch sharing of work at Theatre Peckham.

 

I was awarded a time & space residency at the wonderful Metal, Southend in 2019 & early 2020 

http://www.metalculture.com/artists-area/emma-spearing/

The last week of the residency at Metal was in Feb 2020, just before the world changed and we locked down for the first time. I am so profoundly grateful that I got this time to work on the show. I spent a week working with my collaborator/director Jamie Wood at the beautiful Chalkwell Hall. We had such a creative & inspired time, culminating with a wall covered in Post-It notes, outlining the narrative journey of the show, soundscape ideas, & lighting & set visions. We were buzzing with all the connections and ideas for the rest of the creative journey.

'Whole' had been selected by HighTide to be performed at its producers showcase for emerging East of England theatre makers at Latitude festival 2020 (Cancelled). It was also programmed to premiere at Cambridge Junction in October 2020 (Cancelled) reprogrammed for November 2021. 

We are now looking to create 3 versions of the show: Indoor -studio version, Outdoor -fireside version, and an audio version. Watching work digitally over the past year I realised that one of the benefits of not being in a room with people is that sometimes, with very intimate & emotional work, it feels safer to be emotionally vulnerable at home, in a private space, because no one is watching. There are people whose experience of grief is utterly overwhelming, and I want them to feel able to access this work. This is why we are creating an audio version. The live versions will give a space for a collective experience. The fireside version, created in woods, will give a connection to nature, life cycles, and a sense of myth within the story-telling.

I have an amazing team of designers who are ready to come on board in August. We are using a process of devising, writing & collaboration to create the work, so the piece is fluid and will be influenced by the design team as we collaborate. We have just started working with sound designer Dominic Kennedy, to explore the soundscapes and audio involved in the show. If you would like to know more, or are interested in partnering or programming the completed piece, please get in touch. x