Fun in the Oven are back and creatively revived after a week-long residency at The Witham in Barnard Castle. Thanks to the Arts Centre’s artist residency scheme, the company were hosted in the town and given space to work for the week.
We were welcomed by Executive Director Katy Taylor and the wonderful team at The Witham and given the run of the place. From playing hide and seek in the stunning Music Hall, to spreading out our research on the boardroom tables in The County Room to watching the snow fall out of the massive windows of The Witham Room…we made ourselves at home, wandering through the building in our socks followed by curious eyes in the café.
We were accommodated by the lovely and generous Lusia; a passionate friend of The Witham who opened her home to us. As well as insanely warm and comfortable beds, we were able to invade her kitchen to prepare our ritual big protein breakfasts and share winter-warming dinners and good conversation with her.
As part of the week we worked with ‘Turrets’, The Witham’s two youth theatre groups , led by Rupert Philbrick. The sessions gave us an opportunity to explain physical theatre using our devising processes, games, exercises and improvisations as well as exploring some of our show themes; munitions factories and WW1. We were ‘blown away’ by the talent and commitment the groups demonstrated and their willingness to have a go at our somewhat absurd imaginings, including the creation of a ‘love machine’ and mannequin challenge of an explosion in the munitions factory.
Rupert came in to help the company with sound design allowing us to choreograph a detailed and precise introduction to the day in the life of the Canary Girls. Clown expert Karen Bell also joined the company on the final day as a provocateur and outside eye and helped us tidy up our physical choreography.
It was an enormously useful week for the company to revisit the content and lay some foundations for the next period of development. We plan to be back at The Witham for that next phase and appreciate their continued support for the project.