Earlier this year we took an art project out on tour with a new play from Heroica Theatre Company produced by Stellar Quines. ‘A Private View’ was a new play about the life of Artist Joan Eardley. The promenade theatre show opened at The Modern here in Edinburgh during a retrospective of Joan’s work and then toured the Highlands and Islands before heading south and across the border.
Thrive’s Curator Jan Bee Brown is a collaborative artist who trained in 3D Design at Central St Martins and has designed a range of touring theatre shows over the past 15 years including several for Stellar Quines Theatre Company. Small-scale touring in Scotland involves many one-night-only performances and Jan always thought that there was a missed opportunity to engage a rural audience in a more holistic way to enable communities to tell their own story.
Jan designed and trialled ‘After Eardley’ a 90-minute creative art workshop to engage the audience before the show and our favourite artist Lucy Schofield joined The Thrive Archive to help deliver them at a range of eclectic venues, galleries, art centres and village halls during the tour.
The workshop was conceived to get both local artists and complete beginners to work at speed, in pastel, inspired by archive footage of Joan sketching Glasgow children in the 1963 film Three Scottish Painters. The resulting art works were so impressive they often became part of the set during the promenade performance. Gallery staff at one venue also joined in as part of their CPD and the actors even had a go too.
The Thrive Archive were delighted with the feedback and we really enjoyed working with Lucy, Heroica and Stellar Quines. The play had 5 star reviews and the workshops were well attended and it was wonderful to be able send such positive feedback to the funders at Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.