This year Samantha O’Rourke, a theatre maker based in North Wales (pictured above far left), was awarded an Articulture bursary to support her work with South Wales based Volcano Theatre, building her relationship with the company and delivering a commission as part of Volcano Theatre’s Troublemakers Festival in Swansea.
The Troublemakers Festival focuses on changing the landscape of Swansea high street with site specific outdoor art and theatre. Samantha’s piece focused on local women’s right campaigner Emily Phipps and explored her contributions to the local community, as well as highlighting the wider national struggle for the women’s vote. Here her account of how the bursary support was useful in forging creative relationships and creating work across North and South Wales.
I was thrilled to receive support from Articulture with my recent project entitled ‘No Persons Only Women’, a commission from Volcano Theatre and Swansea Women’s Institute about local headteacher and suffragette Emily Phipps.
The piece was a one woman show developed for the Troublemaker’s Festival as part of national incentive – Ideas: People: Places. I was hugely excited to be involved in such a great project and to work with Volcano, however it became clear early on that being based in North Wales would make the development of a piece rooted in South Wales extremely challenging. The play was also site specific, taking place on Swansea High Street and so it was vital to have the time and access to the environment where we would be performing so we could tailor it to our surroundings.
Fortunately this was where Articulture came in, due to their bursary support myself and my small team were able to travel from North Wales to Swansea for period of additional meetings with Volcano, developing our creative relationship, as well developing the work collaboratively undertaking onsite rehearsals which would otherwise not have been possible. This allowed us to uncover what worked and what didn’t and undertake a focused redraft of the script. The result was that we were far more prepared creatively and practically for the quick pace of the Troublemaker’s Festival and that we were able to form a closer working relationship with Volcano.
In the end the project was very successful, we had brilliant audiences and received lots of positive feedback. It was fantastic to be part of such an inspiring project, bringing community and art to ordinary spaces. Collaborating with other artists is so important and it’s fantastic that Articulture understands this and focuses on bringing people together and facilitating creative opportunities. We are grateful for the support and I recognise the significant impact it had on our project.
We have already been approached about further opportunities to perform the piece and the so the development time afforded to us by Articulture will continue to resonate through our ongoing work. Thank you Articulture!
Image: No Persons Only Women’ Credit/Samantha O’Rourke