During March I had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with the companies that will be participating in Contacting the World 2012 as part of the March meet at Contact: Arts-In-Action-Wordsmiths & CYAC, Yard Youth Theatre & Moradokmai Theatre Community, Boundless Productions and Crown Troupe of Africa.
The meet started on Monday with a get to know workshop and the opportunity for the participating companies to meet all of the staff at Contact.
I arrived on Tuesday and we started with a group meal where everyone could meet each other and talk over their experiences of how they were finding Manchester so far and by far one of the most hilarious incidents happened when there seemed to be confusion over who was getting ice cream and who wasn't between Boundless and Moradokmai and the situation has not really been solved, so watch out for July, because I'm expecting a fierce battle when they return!
To culminate the day we were all luck enough to have a preview of 'Dominic Berry: Wizard' a theatre show exploding with physical acting and slam poetry which was a very interesting experience to be involved in because a lot of the audience didn't speak English as a first language and so the effectiveness of the show was down to how it was visually communicated. It was a hilarious show but with a serious and thought-provoking message underpinning it, a wonderful end to the first day.
We started the third day of the meet with rehearsals for Wednesday's preview evening in Space 1. Watching and being involved with rehearsals that were taking place in a different language was certainly entertaining and fascinating to see how people from different countries and cultures were entertaining and be entertained by people from different theatre backgrounds to their own.
As we moved into the afternoon session representatives from St Ann’s School, Stockport, Blessed John Newman RC College, Oldham and William Hulme’s Grammar School, Whalley Range had workshops with the companies involved with the festival. I was lucky to be in the workshop with Arts-In-Action-Wordsmiths and CYAC and got to learn a lot about Trinidad and Tobago, how to beatbox and come third in Splat (very proud to have achieved this accolade). As we moved into late afternoon we had some technical rehearsals to put the finishing touches to the preview show.
The preview show contained performances from all the companies involved including a spectacular uses of tele-presence technology between Manchester Trinidad & Tobago and New York which made every hair stand up on my body!
Everything about Contacting the World is exciting and out of the ordinary and this was summed up with an amazing impromptu jamming session in a local resturant where everyone after eating some delicious food got hold of any instrumennt they could find including knifes and forks and starting to create music.
I was only there for 2 days but it was an amazing experience and I cannot wait to be back for the full festival in July!
If you would like to support the festival we are fundraising on Indiegogo - please help us make the festival as special as we can by donating at: indiegogo.com/CTW2012