A KEY feature of the cultural scene in Scotland begins today and is taking place in Govan for the very first time.
Following the controversial loss of the Arches performance space, Into The New is being held in the Pearce Institute from today until Thursday.
Always a sell-out, Into The New (ITN) is the annual festival of new work by graduating students of the Contemporary Performance Practice Programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). While there is a wide range of performances open to the public that come from the Conservatoire, this is a festival of experimental cutting-edge performance and gives a real insight into the talent being fostered at the RCS.
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A vital part of the festival preparation this year has been the students’ involvement with the local community.
“This has been really important for us as we felt that as it was being held in a community centre for the first time we should engage with the community in Govan,” said student producer Stephanie Katie Hunter, left. “The experience for us has been invaluable.”
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?
This year’s festival consists of a symposium, a live art cabaret and the work of 10 graduating artists who examine topics like what it means to be gay in today’s society and the effects of pornography on young males.
This evening’s symposium is called “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” and includes reflections from artists and practitioners including Gary Winters (Lone Twin), Nic Green and others about love and care in arts practices.
The symposium is followed by Nima Sene’s ICHI PINKS trulove exploring ideas of the “Cultural Transvestite”, influenced by the work of Coco Fusco and G Gomez-Peña.
We Always Knew This Day Was Coming from Daniel Purves is a performative exploration of what it means to come out, while in S E L K i E, Craig Manson looks at the idea of transformation through the age-old tale of the selkie.
The Coolidge Effect by Wonder Fools looks at the fact that we live in an age where hardcore porn is often accessed by the age of seven. What does this mean and how does it affect society?
Student Jo Sharp presents Daughter, a collaboration between herself and the women in her family. Looking at notions of identity and heritage, Sharp examines the legacy gifted by family bonds.
Moving away from autobiographical performance, is The BIG Adventure, an interactive theatre experience for those aged 4-5 presented by Corrie McKendrick.
In Will Stringer’s As the Night, As the Day audience members join the artist to take some time to make bread for another. Through this hands-on one-to-one performance, audience and artist explore themes of nourishment and memory.
Meanwhile in The Magic of Reality, David Gillan explores people’s understanding of deception while those who like knowing what to expect and being told how to think will enjoy Gudrun Soley Sigurdardottir’s At least we can laugh about it. By deconstructing the very nature of performance, Sigurdardottir aims to make the audience feel exactly what she wants them to feel.
Finally, the after-party on Thursday will celebrate the work of female artists with guest DJ Push It, a collective that operates a safe space policy.
WHO IS IT FOR?
As well as being held in Govan for the first time, this is the most accessible ITN ever presented with two performances tomorrow interpreted in British Sign Language (The Coolidge Effect and At Least We Can Laugh About It.) The BIG Adventure on Wednesday works with mostly visual language.
“This year’s ITN has also had a real focus on where performance situates itself and how it can hold itself in conversation both with new and old audiences,” said Hunter. “With an awareness of what it means to bring the festival to a community centre, I challenged the students to think of ways in which they could engage with those local to Govan.”
As a result, Jo Sharp attended sessions of Tea in the Pot, a drop-in support service for women, while Will Stringer and Sigurdardottir both performed street interventions.
“The performance intervention was an exploration to see what strangers on the street would do in the name of ‘art’ that they wouldn’t do normally,” explained Sigurdardottir.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Other community involvement included workshops for 3-5 year olds in nursery and primary schools in Govan led by Corrie McKendrick while Hunter led workshops with high school students.
Said McKendrick: “My intention going into nurseries and primary schools was to try out performance material for a young audience while allowing their responses to influence my practice. I think the ITN process is unique as while we are in an institution we are afforded free reign to explore our artistic voice.”
Added Hunter: “We feel that continuing to place the festival outwith the RCS is important for both situating the work of the artists in Glasgow and for highlighting the importance and need for performance space following the demise of the Arches.
“I’m only the third student to specialise in producing at the Conservatoire and it feels like more than ever, the range of practices coming from the CPP programme are needed to further develop and uphold the thriving performance scene of Scotland.” Visit www.2016.intothenew.org.uk for full listings.