Private Plays on Mainspring Arts
I have created 3 new online Private Plays Performance based zines for autism arts organisation Mainspring Arts.
Please visit http://www.mainspringarts.org.uk/private-plays for more information on this project and info on what Performance Zines are.
The first Private Plays performance zine launched on 26 October 2020 and is called Faces.
All three online Private Plays performance zines can be read here.
Stay Together on Disability Arts Online
Private plays are intimate performance encounters where the audience read illustrated performance scripts that are presented in a zine. Zines are self-published booklets that cover a wide variety of topics and tend to be made by marginalised people.
With Stay Together, the idea is that you read the script, follow the instructions and act out your own performance. Private Plays usually occur in strange and atypical settings, where the location acts as a stage or set. Stay Together happens in the home of the reader. The zine is digital and can be read on a mobile device or smartphone.
I created Private Plays as I wanted to present experimental and unusual performances in a format that was comfortable to me, as an autistic and queer person. I decided to create text-based performances that people could read and act out by themselves. I felt that this was more of an autistic considered approach to experimental and intimate performance. Uncomfortable stimuli associated with busy and unwelcoming performance spaces are removed. All that is left is the text and the reader.
In the past I have presented Private Plays in different formats. I have created art installations that work as a set. I would leave objects, puppets, props and items in the installation space that people could interact with. This format of working takes up a lot of space and requires a lot of time, planning and also some funding. It also requires acceptance and interest from venues and festivals who look to programme more experimental and inclusive autistic led work.
I have a DIY approach to my art. I am drawn to self-starters, self-publishers and people who create art with very little time and resources. I am drawn to creating zines, as zine makers produce work outside of traditional publishing. Zines feel more inclusive and exciting to me.
The project was made during a time of self-isolation, social distancing, quarantine and COVID-19. I feel that this caused the Private Plays approach to performance to have a wider appeal.
This is also a time of activism, inclusion and conversation. With Stay Together, I wanted to create something intimate, personal and something that recognises the need for human connection. I feel that these things are important now more than ever.
Delay on Shape Arts – All Bound Together Exhibition
As well as reading the zine, you can listen to an audio described version.
I also did an interview with South London Press about the exhibition. You can read this here.
Circles, Circles, Circles
Circles, Circles, Circles is a short Private Play that was specifically written for the Anatomy Arts/Theatre/Music/Spoken Word Event at Summerhall, Edinburgh. The event took place on Friday 4 March 2016 at 8pm.
The Private Play itself was presented in a new way that I had never tried before. There was no installation or exhibition. The script was contained in a zine and handed out in-between two cabaret acts. The audience read the script collectively, in silence, to themselves, as some ambient music played. The story looked at money and work in the context of mental health.
This method of presenting Private Plays was an experiment and is the first time I have asked an audience to read together in a theatre setting.
The zine can be downloaded from here.
Creature was performed at the Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh on Tuesday 26 May 2015 and Wednesday 27 May 2015. Creature is a Private Play and allowed the audience to experience a relaxed and experimental performance in an installation space. The story looked at personal reflection and vulnerability through an autistic lens. The zine contained illustrations and a performance script that the audience could read to themselves and act out. The installation featured drawings, objects, props and mechanically operated flipbooks.
Love.Stop.Repeat. was performed on April 18 2015 at the Rich Mix venue in London. It is a Private Play that looks at love and self-belief. The performance involved a small installation, a zine and an audio version of the play. Audience members read the zine in the performance space and viewed the installation.