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Check here for latest news from the company as well as rehearsal room updates, articles from the creative teams and what we are up to next.

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read the whole story Mar. 28th 2018

It's official: Tangled Feet is Fantastic for Families!

By Kat Joyce

 

We are very honoured to have been recognised with a prize for Best Family-Friendly Workplace Initiative' by the Fantastic for Families campaign.

 

Over the years the number of people in the ensemble with kids has grown to the point that there are now more children than adults in the TF tribe. So really, we had to adapt our working lives or we would just not have been able to carry on making work. The upshot of that is that, motivated by our long-standing commitments to working together, we've found loads of creative ways to accommodate people's parenting status.

 

The theatre industry can be horribly unfriendly towards parents and parents-to-be. I know of women who work at major buildings who privately report a culture where taking time out for motherhood marks you clearly as someone with no desire to succeed. I know actors who have been dropped by their agents during maternity leave because 'it doesn't seem like you want to return to work after your baby'. Others who've had to desperately scrabble around for childcare when production schedules are changed at the last minute. In an industry where there are always more creatives than there are jobs, and people often feel very precarious and disposable, many try to behave as if they don't have children, hiding their families out of sight. This is a real shame, as it means that talent and experience haemorrhage out of our industry as people (mainly women) find family lives incompatible with continuing to work.

To read the full blog click 'Read the whole story' next to the date at the top.

But as TF have found, if you are invested in people and committed to making a relationship work then it is often remarkably easy to make some accommodations so that they can continue being a valued part of the team. We've done flexible working, part time, having meetings via skype, bringing small babies in to work and strapping toddlers on in slings and cracking on with the tech. Ensemble working lends itself job shares and shared responsibilities. It's no hardship to plan a production schedule so everyone has a good few weeks notice. It's very often possible to accommodate someone arriving late or leaving early to pick up a child from nursery. What works for one parent might not work for another, so we've been very proactive about sorting out a solution for each person. 'How can we make this work for you?' is a phenomenally easy question to ask but takes a lot of people by surprise.

 

And the benefits are manifold. Parents, of course, bring a wealth of skills to the table: patience, ability to juggle, conflict resolution, silliness, and the ability to see the world from a different perspective. When people are freed of the stress of trying to juggle competing demands, they can use that energy creatively. Children in the room often generate play (admittedly, sometimes they are a huge distraction, but swings and roundabouts). But really importantly, people with children understand the pressures of having children, and how to alleviate them. If we want our theatres to be family-friendly places, open and accessible, then we need our theatres and companies to be family-friendly workplaces. One begets the other.

 

We’ve been out on the road over the last few weeks with our show for 2-7’s Need A Little Help. The show follows the life of a young carer who has to take on the caring responsibilities for her father. The theme of care, families and juggling life’s challenges is central to the performance as well as the creation and touring period (the cast and creative team features 4 parents). To us, it feels like the work has an extra layer of authenticity and love as it focuses on the challenges of being a parent and having a child, as well as being a child and having a parent and was made by parents with children in the room!

 

What’s been hugely satisfying is the type of tour we’ve been on – its part of a Strategic Touring Scheme named Hopper and takes early years theatre to meet early years audiences in rural settings. Most of the young audience in Watchet, Middlezoy, Taunton and Tidworth had not spent much time in theatres nor had this sort of theatre visited their place of care/education. We had so many comments that the children rarely got the chance to see plays and that it was so important that it connected with their family life and their family relationships. We were so pleased to share the work in this way and continue our commitment to families – both in the company and in the audiences we meet.

 

Special thanks to all our children and long suffering partners and wider families for their love and creative inspiration.

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read the whole story Mar. 14th 2018

Tangled Feet wins Fantastic For Families Award

Tangled Feet is delighted to have won Best Family-Friendly Workplace Initiative for its contribution to arts and culture for families during 2017.

 

A message from the judging panel:

'Tangled Feet know that having caring responsibilities brings valuable skills and insights so they made space in every aspect of their working patterns and creative work to benefit from this. From job sharing to baby-friendly matinees the value of ‘care’ is at the core of the story they tell to audiences and colleagues across the industry.'

 

Voted for by a panel of expert judges from the arts sector, awards recognise the outstanding events that took place during 2017 and the exemplary family-friendly organisations and venues that participated.

Awards recognise the fantastic organisations who put on excellent events, welcomed families into their building, thought about the needs of older visitors, and considered the caring responsibilities of their staff.

Fantastic for Families is a website and promotional campaign run by the Family Arts Campaign, helping families to discover affordable and relevant quality arts and cultural activities from trusted organisers in their local area. Since its beginnings in 2013 as an annual national Festival during October, it has reached approximately 2.2 million family members and included over 750 pieces of newly commissioned work specifically for families.

 

Daren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said: Whatever the shape of your family the arts can provide it with happiness, with pleasure, with things to do together to create together and to remember together.

 

 

Phil Cave, Director of Engagement and Audiences at Arts Council England said: The Family Arts Campaign continues to inspire artists, arts organisations and families to engage in a vast range of arts activities across the country. It provides time for families to get together and create shared memories, and to experience the power of engaging with the arts.”

 

 

 

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read the whole story Dec. 20th 2017

Merry Christmas from Tangled Feet plus WHAT'S ON TOUR IN 2018

A very Merry Christmas to you from everyone at
Tangled Feet

 

WOW what a year it's been. As always we owe so much to the artists we work with, our audiences, participants and the funders who make all the work possible and have helped us have a wonderful year. This year we have been funded by:

Arts Council England, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Odin Charitable Trust, Big Lottery Fund, Foyle Foundation, Hanley Trust and Children in Need.

And commissioned by:

Imagine Luton Festival, Half Moon Theatre, CYTO, The Bush Theatre and Croydon Council.

We were thrilled to be invited to become one of the Arts Council's core funded companies in June this year. You can read our response here. We can't wait to get started delivering our plans in 2018.

Shepherds Bush Families Project  Aug 2017

Collaboration with Bush Theatre

'If I could make one rule it would be: always be proud of yourself.'

 

Touring in 2018

Inflation 2018

We are pleased to be bringing back INFLATION in 2018 (but with a Brexit remix!)  Our political landscape has possibly never been more ridiculous or unstable- so a fine time to get the bouncy castle out with a Brexit update, joining the dots from the banking crash, through Austerity to the Referendum. The show will relaunch at the Shop Front Festival in newly crowned UK Capital of Culture 2021 Coventry in March. Touring April 2018 onwards. 

                            
 
Find out the rest of what TF are up to in 2018 below...
Click 'Read the whole story' next to the date at the top to read the whole story!

That Parking Show

New for 2018, touring from June onwards - THAT PARKING SHOW - we'll be using the metaphor of two couples battling over a parking space (withtwo real cars) to investigate division, anger and holding onto what you believe is yours. An absurd physical exploration of how conflict escalates in a highly playful, visual piece of clowning. Expect comedic, physical theatre, special effects and a pumping car radio soundtrack.  
 
 
Boots On The Ground

BOOTS ON THE GROUND (a collaboration with Salisbury Playhouse) is inspired by the 100-year anniversary of the Armistice in 2018 and notions of conscription, demobbing and peace. The show will involve audience members putting on a pair of military boots, wearing headphones and walking together through public space as they listen to a narrative inspired by interviews with serving and ex-military personnel. Touring September 2018 onwards.

 
Butterflies

'Totally wonderful. Expressed exactly what my daughter has been feeling. Thank you'

In September 2017 we were thrilled to collaborate again with Half Moon Theatre and create a Co-Production Butterflies for 3-9 year olds and are very pleased to announce the show will be tour in Autumn 2018!

Click on the picture to watch our new Butterflies film.
 
 
Need A Little Help
We are delighted to be re-touring Need A Little Help in collaboration with Half Moon Theatre and Hopper Scheme to rural and community settings in London, Somerset and Surrey in March and October 2018.

         

 
Contact us at contact@tangledfeet.com to discuss any of these shows.
 
Have a wonderful New Year
 
 
 
 

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read the whole story Oct. 10th 2017

World Mental Health Day: Butterflies Diaries #5 by Sara

New Beginnings

Whilst rehearsing the show ‘Butterflies’, I discovered that Butterflies can symbolically mean ‘New beginnings’ which I thought was a lovely affirmation of our title. It was another layer, as butterflies initially came to us in a brainstorm about describing how anxiety feels. I also learnt so much more about Anxiety through our research and discussions that surpassed my personal experiences with it and treating it with therapy and yoga practise.

The show sees three characters going on a big adventurous journey filled with danger and excitement in new scenarios and how they overcome their anxieties in these moments. Every scene is a new beginning, a new thing to overcome, which each character successfully does. Especially at the end standing atop a mountain looking into the horizon , looking ahead to the future. 

 

This moment had a real personal connection for me. The first time we did it in rehearsals I cried!

 

Earlier this year I learnt to ski in the French Alps and had really moving moments looking out at 1850 metres above sea level over these beautiful landscapes. It gave me an enormous feeling of hope and new beginnings after a painful few years in my personal life and the fact at 34 I had learnt a new skill I never thought I would do. Skiing is SCARY and when I started to learn I was so anxious and by the end of 2 weeks practise I was loving it! So I really felt a personal connection to the show ending in this way.

 

As I mentioned I have suffered with anxiety notably since a road accident 6 years ago so I had some knowledge before we started making the show. I have had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help deal with it. It helps you to simplify the sensation of anxiety and explore the anatomy of it to some extent as well. It asks you to question why you feel this way, are you actually in danger, reprogramming the way you behave or react to things both through your thoughts and behaviour. In doing that, you calm down as you rationalise the sensation and learn techniques to cope with them. When we were devising we looked at similar ideas and also found that offering new opportunities and overcoming them might be a good way to let our audience know that having anxiety is OK, and there are ways to overcome it. We looked at the anatomy as well, to deepen our understanding of the physical sensations of anxiety and used this in our devising process. The process deepened my own understanding of anxiety, even having already had therapy for it!

 

Discussing anxiety out loud with my fellow collaborators made me realise that everyone has anxieties, some heavier than others, but actually that it is OK. It’s a part of life. During a scene in the play where the characters encounter a huge cavernous hole and they all get butterlfies, one of the characters says:

 

You have it too’

to which my character nods and responds with

It means we won’t jump in’

 

Anxiety actually protects us from doing things that might harm us. So it is essential to keep us safe. Even though I think I knew this (we all know the feeling of flight fright or freeze in stressful situations) I think now when I suffer with my ‘flutter’ in everyday life I will know its just my body telling me to look after myself, keep myself safe and sound and it will pass. That’s comforting and a new method to incorporate into coping with my own anxieties day to day.

 

This was a very therapeutic experience for me to explore an issue I actually deal with and also in finding a way to explain and understand it to convey a story to our audience deepened my understanding of it. I have learnt so much from sharing this process with such a great team. Thanks so much to the Butterflies cast & crew.

 

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read the whole story Oct. 4th 2017

Butterflies Diaries #4 - Post show reflections

By Nathan Curry

 

The rehearsals have rushed by like a runaway train charging towards the station of ‘Performances ‘and it feels like I was hurtling along with it and now have emerged blinking outside the station going ‘Oh! This is where I am!?’

 

Reflecting back a week after we presented the show it feels slightly like we have unfinished business. The making process of devised theatre means that the narrative of the show is often completed in the imaginations of the audience. You learn so much about how the show is structured and its dynamics by watching an audience experience it – particularly an audience of children. This is why in other styles of theatre you have previews to test the work in front of a live audience. We shared the show four times last weekend and developed it each time but by the final performance it felt like things were really starting to emerge (for me and the actors) that were showing up the real potential and the gaps in the story. I wanted to get straight back at it the following Monday morning.

For the full blog click 'read the whole story' by the title.

We had probably found the structure of the show (through improvising, research and playing) by the end of the first week – 3 friends on an adventure, each with 2 major moments of anxiety and a sense of how the show started and ended. This is like DRAFT 1.  At this stage of the ‘play’ you may share it with your colleagues and friends and receive feedback on its structure and character arcs. This journey of dramaturgy on a new play happens in offices, cafes and over months, sometimes years. In our process it happens live, in the room and over week 2 – this is the editing and testing period.  This becomes DRAFT 2 by the end of the second week. At this stage the traditional new play may start their rehearsal period where ours seems just to be ending (!)…. So into Week 3 and we make it all work in the theatre- adding lighting, the right sound, the final props. And suddenly we have reached the station – the performances.

 

There is a joy of this by-the-seat-of-our-pants making process. You genuinely offer something up that feels fresh, newly baked and get an instant feedback. The work is so close (in terms of time) to the moment it was created that the actors are still discovering new things right in front of the audiences eyes. It also allows the audience to have an authorial role – they can insert their imaginations into the gaps and for young audiences these imaginations are rich and ready.  I love listening and talking to the audience about what their imaginations conjured, what images meant to them and where the story wobbled.

 

 

So onto the next period… Reflection, re-rehearsal and touring in 2018.

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read the whole story Sep. 27th 2017

'Butterflies' in pictures - Photographer: Al Orange

 

For more pictures click 'read the whole story' by the title.

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read the whole story Sep. 23rd 2017

Butterflies Diaries #3

By Mario Christofides

 

So first show today of Butterflies and it's an exciting time. Reflecting back over the devising process and R&D, it's been so interesting to learn about anxiety in children (and in general), and about how anxiety lives in all of us. Though our coping mechanisms all differ,  I think the main realisation about it for me is the notions of what 'control' is to us all, about the feelings you get when you are not in 'control' and how your experience becomes something you focus on as a safety tool.

We explored in devising about feelings like 'missing-a-step', 'falling' and 'floating'; in each one of these feelings the surety of the physical world is missing (i.e. the actual sensation of your hands grabbing something or your foot landing on the ground). 

 

I confess I have times when my anxiety gets the better of me, but whenever I've felt like that one of my coping mechanisms is that I know it's only temporary,  the 'grounding element' is that the feeling has happened before and I'm still here - I've  experienced it already - what's the worst that can happen, right? 

 

But what if you are not built that way?  What if you feel like you will never get that grounding? You can't control yourself - your descent or ascent, how then can you be sure that you are not going to feel that way forever.  

 

Very scary, and the really sad thing is that some people no matter how hard they try cannot find that surety of 'I'll get past this'. 

 

It's really tough place. A place that needs greater awareness I think and makes me glad that we've created a children's show about it. 

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read the whole story Sep. 21st 2017

Butterflies Diaries #2 - Spread Your Wings

By Abigail Dawson 

 

With less than a week until the first performance of ‘Butterflies’ it’s a good time to reflect on the past couple of weeks and how the show has developed.

 

The whole team came together for the first few days and discussed the idea of anxiety – what our own anxieties are, what can cause anxiety and how to deal with them. It soon became clear that most of us are in fact very anxious people, and we tend to hide it. However, over the course of the two weeks of rehearsals I realised that it is okay to have anxieties, and just like our three characters in the show with the support of each other around us we can combat them together.

 

Below is a picture of Tunji, one of our actors, showing everyone that we’re nearly ready to spread our wings at Half Moon Theatre and welcome you to ‘Butterflies’!

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read the whole story Sep. 20th 2017

Butterflies Diaries #1

By Tunji Falana

Before I was told we were making this show about anxiety/worrying in children, I wasn't fully aware of how it affected people’s day to day or activities. I knew people got anxious or worried as did I from time to time, but never that it stopped people from doing what they should or wanted to do. Growing up in Nigeria, it wasn't really spoken about or echoed not in adults let alone children. The general knowledge was you are worried about it, get over it and do it.

For the full blog click 'read the whole story' by the title.

Now, with research and learning during rehearsals, I have a better knowledge on the subject. The cerebral process, the physical and mental reactions etc. Most of all I feel a little equipped on how to help someone who is anxious or perhaps having a panic attack. I am no professional don't get me wrong, but one of the things I’ve learnt over the course of the time is to acknowledge the feeling, as it allows the person to realize that it’s normal to feel this way. Everyone has either a healthy level of anxiety or that one thing you most worry about and just can’t shake the feeling.

Oh yes! the feeling is a thing and sometimes we can’t explain it, sometimes it takes over our lives. We all experience it at some point. Right now I’m a little nervous that all I have said won’t make sense. However, I am going to focus on the task rather than the outcome.

 

So come join us, come take a little journey with us as explore this sometimes inexplicable, sometimes hindering, sometimes helpful feeling that we can’t just shake.

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read the whole story Sep. 6th 2017

One common factor: Young People

 By Sara Templeman

 

Two rather different shows.

One outdoors, One indoors. 

One in Luton, One in Croydon

One common factor: Young People 

 

I've done my fair share of one off drama workshops across Schools Colleges Universities and drama groups with Tangled Feet (TF). We always treat any of our workshop participants as if they were part of the company and we form an ensemble within each group that works uniquely together. That's the basis of all our work. Creating work from the group of people in the room. No script and no idea what will happen. It's an exciting way to work.

 

 

For the full blog click 'read the whole story' by the title.

Workshops are often one or two days worth in length, sometimes just an afternoon and although you make a lot of headway and often create small pieces of theatre and magic, there's always scope to develop creative ideas further. It was exciting to embark on two long term projects earlier this Summer with two seperate groups of young people from opposite sides of London (just outside London) Luton & Croydon to be precise. 

 

'Mirror Sky' up in Luton was a large scale outdoor devised show with a cast of over 100 local young people from a bunch of schools and the wonderful Next Generation Youth Theatre (NGYT). The TF crew consisted of further actors/directors/workshop facilitators. It was to be the finale show at the first year of 'Imagine Luton.'

 

It was an epic task organising this many young people working in smaller groups with seperate directors and actors over many weeks, learning choreography TF actors had previously devised. The age range was broad with our youngest performer being just 7 years old! The show explored societies obsession with devices (phones) and the fact we all walk around eyes down, not interacting with each other or taking in the surroundings we might be travelling through. Living inside our own digital worlds. The message we were hoping to try to get across was to look up. Look out at the world. Be here now. Interact. Reconnect. We had four groups of young people rehearsing on different afternoons in schools and church halls across Luton learning their own individual movement pieces that would pop up around Luton town centre on the performance day. We had one day when all groups met and rehearsed the mass ensemble finale with over 100 young people dancing and moving together in St. George's Square in Luton. It was no mean feat when it all came together on the day. Amazing team work and focus and energy from all involved meant it was a big success and a really special community project to partake in for us all! Young and Old (ish) alike. 

 

On that note, 'Tracing the Past' down in Croydon was a community project involving Young and Old from Croydon Youth Theatre Project (CYTO) and the residents of an old people's care home called Whitgift House, as well as other more senior members of The Shoestring Theatre where CYTO are based. The show explored entertainment in Croydon over the last 50 years through accounts from old and young participants. We visited an old people's care home in Croydon with our young people and had the most insightful, jolly and nostalgic afternoon. Old and Young interacted and recalled their experiences of Croydon and what they had all got up to in their spare time in conversation with each other. We recorded the chats to use in the show. The piece was a subtle indoor documentary style piece which was performed in a verbatim style - actors performed with headphones, listening live to the stories we had recorded and spoke them out loud for the audience to hear. Our young people spoke the words of the old and vice versa. 

It was a very simple but effective device for showing the similarities and differences these people had of Croydon. It also transformed 14 year old performers into an 80 year old person in an instant. It was remarkable sometimes. There was a proper respect and regard from both sides in this project. Old were happy to learn that young people still got up to the same old things they had, it wasn't all mobile phones and computer games. 

The oldies (I'm sure they won't mind me calling them that) when they were younger were entertained and excited by new technologies like cinema and music on the radio, then television. We still enjoy that now and technology has rapidly advanced which we enjoy, but we had shared interests that were commonly enjoyed from all participants like dancing and singing, attending cinema, music concerts and enjoying the theatre with friends and loved ones. Also the fact they were part of youth organisations was a very common similarity. It was great to be part of learning this myself as my age sits somewhere between the oldies and the youngies and perhaps you can feel a divide or a distance between social groups like millennial’s, younger people, older generations etc. The fact is we are all still people and enjoy the same things and personal connections and we have more in common than perhaps we might think.

 

A strong connection throughout both projects was a real sense of community.  All ages coming together with a common interest in theatre and wanting to make work and share stories. What also stands out for me across the board was a dedication and commitment to the respective projects and the human connection experienced by all. We collaborated well with each other and some people didn't know anyone at all when we first started and had been brave to come and get involved. They all volunteered their spare time, brought their own fresh ideas to sessions, did research in their own time and behaved professionally. A massive compliment to the youth organisations and schools where our young people volunteered from.

 

Thanks to all who were involved across both projects, I loved working with you all!! 

 

Sara x 

 

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read the whole story Jul. 19th 2017

Mirror Sky - What the students say

Mirror Sky was a thrilling experience which allowed me to engage with the audience (Luton) in a physical way. I enjoyed this because I was able to convey this message of ‘reconnecting’ something I do believe our society struggles with as we have become hypnotised by our mobile phones rather than the world God has created for us. I wouldn’t have done anything different as I felt involved and a part of a community when we performed on the street and in school (practise sessions). The best thing about it was meeting new people from all walks of life, there were: dancers, musicians, actors and other schools involved. I would love to take part in a project like this in the future again, just sign me up!

Michelle - Year 10

When they asked me to do Mirror Sky it made me happy because it can help me do better at drama. Rehearsals for Mirror were fun and exciting because we did dancing and it got me out of my comfort zone it also helped me make new friends and makes you achieve something out of it.

On the day it made me feel so happy because I know that all the hard work would pay off and for people to enjoy it like I did.  After the production was finished it was sad because it was fun and enjoyable. I hope it will be on again soon because it made good memories.

Scott - Year 10

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read the whole story Jul. 5th 2017

Mirror Sky in Pictures

All pictures by Al Orange

 For more pictures click 'read the whole story' by the title

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read the whole story Jun. 27th 2017

NPO Announcement

Tangled Feet are thrilled and immensely proud to have been invited to become one of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations

Thirteen years ago, as a group of creatives we made a long-term commitment to each other, and we've been on an incredible journey together since then, through thick and thin. It has often been the bond of friendship that has kept the company going when we didn't know when the next bit of funding was going to come from. It's also been this trust in each other - and the trust we've built with partners and venues - which has allowed us to take bold artistic risks, knowing we will all catch each other.

 

Being an NPO will finally give the ensemble the financial security to create even more ambitious plans. We'll be able to put much more of our time, energy and creativity into making work and building relationships. It will allow us to dream even bigger and we can't wait to get started.  

 

At a time like this it’s even more important to be making brave, bold stories that investigate and challenge the tensions in the world around us.  This investment will allow us to be more ambitious in sharing our performances with the widest possible audience, inside and outside of theatre buildings. It will allow us to grow our participation programme bringing even more young people into our artistic process and strengthen the support we give to the next generation of theatre makers through our mentoring programmes.

 

Arts Council England have been hugely supportive partners, over a number of years, through their Grants for the Arts Programme. Inclusion in the Portfolio represents a continuing belief and investment in the work we make, the participants we work with and audiences we meet. We recognise this significant investment of public money and we look forward to sharing our work and passion with our public investors.  We are hugely excited to be continuing our close relationship with venues, participants and audiences in the South East of England.

 

We want to say thank you to some of the many people who have helped us get to this place - in particular, our Chair Annabel Turpin and the team at ARC Stockton, our Board of Trustees, Watford Palace Theatre, Bradley Hemmings and all at GDIF, Tanya Peters and all at Brighton Festival, our friends at Half Moon, ISAN, EEA and 101 Creation Space.

 

We owe a massive and ongoing thank you to our artists, our audience, the young people and participants who have given us their ideas and energy. That energy and investment is the thing which has always fuelled us, and is the support that means the most to us.

 

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read the whole story Jun. 9th 2017

In Limbo

By Kat Joyce
 
Well, we're all in political limbo today.
 
Those of us who have the pleasure of experiencing the imagination, drive, passion and integrity of the younger generation on a regular basis are perhaps less surprised at the swell of political engagement and energy and its transformative power at the polls. It's wonderful and exciting to imagine that the creativity and intelligence of the next generation – a resource which has all too often been squandered – is finally being focussed onto our political landscape and its challenges. If we are to solve the enormous problems that confront us this century, we as a society desperately need the resource of those young minds, that young energy, those creative ideas.
 
 
Click 'read whole story' next to the date at the top to see the full blog

Tangled Feet are also currently in another kind of limbo, as we await the decisions of this next round of the Arts Council's NPO funding later this month. Tangled Feet have never been a 'National Portfolio Organisation' (this surprises some people) and never felt the multiple benefits of a regular, reliable, long-term funding agreement. We have always been funded project-by-project, with no 'core' funding, which makes it much more challenging to develop long-term relationships and strategy and to put in place some of our more ambitious plans. Becoming an NPO would alleviate so much uncertainty, allow us to make a robust five-year plan. It would free us up to operate as artists and spend more time making work and building relationships, rather than dealing with the ever-constant problem of where the next tranche of money comes from to keep our infrastructure running.
 
 We'll be anxiously awaiting the NPO announcements on 27th June, which will define the future for us as a company almost as much as the election will define the next 5 years politically. However strong our case, unfortunately the Arts Council will have to be making tough and complex decisions about who they fund this round. At the beginning of June we really had no idea what the next five years will look like (and perhaps politically it will take a while to become clear.) But whichever way the chips fall in the wake of the election and the NPO decisions, we will still carry on doing what we do: we'll continue to try to creatively rethink the huge problems we face as local and global communities. Continue to create opportunities for people to come together in public spaces and be part of narratives that wrestle with these challenges. And continue to be inspired by the next generation and buoyed by their ideas, energy and hope. Never mind a magic money tree - that's a resource which will never run out.  

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read the whole story Jun. 7th 2017

Tangled Feet Newsletter - May 2017

Tangled Feet have always believed in the importance of creative collaboration. It makes our work richer, deeper, more accessible - and we learn so much from the people we meet. 

 

Right now we are running round all over the place working on four different projects with four sets of collaborators, old, young and everything in between -  and it is a really really exciting time for the company as a result. 

In Luton

MIRROR SKY

We are thrilled to be creating a headline show for the inaugural Imagine Luton Festival, in collaboration with the inspiring Next Generation Youth Theatre

Have you noticed everyone’s eyes are fixed on their phones?

Is it escapism, security or an uncontrollable addiction?

We all spend so much time with our eyes fixed to a screen… have we stopped noticing each other?

Is it time to change our horizons? 

 

Put it in your diary: Sunday 25th June, Luton Town Centre, 1pm onwards, finale in St Georges Square at 5pm

Click 'read whole story' next to the date at the top to see the full newsletter...

In Shepherd’s Bush

In collaboration with the Bush Theatre and funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Tangled Feet are working with a group of women and children (who have experience of insecure housing or homelessness) at Shepherds Bush Families Project on a six-month creative process. We’ll be taking over spaces at the Bush Theatre in late August to share the outcome which will be influenced by these inspirational families who have come from all over the world to make their home in London. 

In Croydon

We are beginning a project working with elders and young people in Croydon to create a piece for the Croydon Heritage Festival called Tracing The Past.

A verbatim inspired production looking at the changes in entertainment across generations from Croydon Youth Theatre. Supported by the archives at the Museum of Croydon and residents from The Whitgift Foundation.

It will be performed at The Shoestring Theatre on 28th and 29th June at 8pm.

For information on tickets go here

In Tower Hamlets

We have just started work on our second commission with the inspirational Half Moon Theatre to create a show about children’s experience of anxiety - an enormous and growing mental health issue amongst young people. The work will be inspired by and informed by a group of young people we work with long-term in Croydon through our Dramatherapy service. Following the successful model that we used to make Need A Little Help with a group of young carers, the young people will be creative consultants on the project, feeding in at crucial points to help us make something which is true to young people’s experiences. 

In Somerset and Surrey

We’ve just had the exciting news that Need A Little Help has been selected for Take Art's Hopper project and will be touring rural Somerset in 2018. We are really proud of this show and thrilled that it will have another tour. 

 

And Finally

Mentoring Emerging Ensemble Companies across the UK

This month, Nathan and Kat offered a free workshop to applicants of our 2017 mentorship scheme on 'Producing Ensemble Theatre'. We had attendees from across the UK including Derby, Huddersfield and Birmingham joining us for a day of sharing advice, focusing visions and removing obstacles to success.

There was no budget for this workshop just Kat and Nathan wanting to help the many applicants we received but could not take on to the Mentoring year long programme. So a big THANK YOU to Nathan and Kat for giving their time and New Diorama Theatre for giving us a space in their new ND2 location. 

New Diorama ND2

 

"A huge thank you for the workshop on Saturday. We found it so helpful and walked away with fire in our stomachs!"

Moth Physical Theatre Company

 

We were thrilled to learn this month that one of our mentored companies, Seemia have been successful with their first Arts Council application following an in-kind advice and mentoring session from our Development Director Jonathan Ellicott. We are really excited about their success and are sure that we will be posting more exciting developments from our other three mentored companies Ivo, Broken Chair and Ditto Theatre.

This work was funded from our generous grant from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

 

 

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read the whole story Apr. 19th 2017

Announcing 'MIRROR SKY' and a new collaboration...

We are really excited to announce ‘MIRROR SKY’ -  a new show we are making for the first ever Imagine Luton Festival in partnership with the brilliant Next Generation Youth Theatre (NGYT). 

We met David and Laura from NGYT after they came to watch ‘Emerge/ncy’ last summer at Imagine Watford Festival and got in touch with us via twitter to say how much they had enjoyed it. From that initial tweet, a beautiful collaboration has been born! 

Next Generation Youth Theatre are an exciting, ambitious and passionate organisation based in Luton, working with hundreds of talented young people to create really high-quality drama, dance and musical theatre. 

For the inaugural ‘Imagine Luton' outdoor festival we have come together with NGYT to develop a large-scale outdoor spectacle featuring 100 young people which examines at how we interact with each other and our technology in public spaces. How are these ‘black mirrors’ that are glued to our palms changing our horizons? What happens when we look up instead? 

MIRROR SKY will be happening all over Luton Town Centre on Sunday 25th June - near the train station, in the shopping mall, in the high street…. It will culminate in a spectacular finale at 5pm in the main square. 

Our ambition is that with the young performers of NGYT, we can create a brilliant new outdoor work for young people that we can tour and remake in the future with other youth theatres and young performers in cities across the UK. 

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read the whole story Mar. 15th 2017

The First Weekend - Mentoring Programme 2017 1/4

On the 11th and 12th March 2017 Seemia, ivo, Broken Chair and Ditto joined Nathan, Alex and Kat for the first weekend of Mentoring workshops.  The first feat was getting everybody together in one room, one of the first things that can be tricky when working in an ensemble.  Just bringing everyone together for two days in a row was beneficial. 

On Sunday we also had Sam Baines from Penguin in the Room (www.penguinintheroom.com) take the teams through a three hour marketing workshop.  Sam was, as always, full of excellent knowledge and advice to help the emerging companies on their way. 

There's homework to be done and lots to think about but we're looking forward to gathering together again in a few months to talk more, learn more and play a game or two (of course!).

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read the whole story Feb. 22nd 2017

Our Mentoring Companies for 2017 are...

After recieving an overwhelming 40 applications for our Mentoring Programme 2017, we knew we'd have a hard task of whittleing it down to just four companies to join us on the year long programme. It was indeed a hard task and we used this criteria to help us decide:

- Have the company performed a show in a professional context? (useful when referencing or learning the practical challenges for that group)

- Have they had any similar mentoring or associate opportunities in the past? (we want to make sure that this opportunity is the most useful it can be)

- Has the company got a commitment to an ensemble working method or ensemble decision making?

- Is the company looking/needing for what we can offer? (we have't got all the skills so was important for us to know whether we have what you need). 

After much discussion we were delighted to let the following companies know they had been selected:

Ditto Theatre Company Ltd

Seemia Theatre

Broken Chair Theatre Company

and ivo

We are very much looking forward to starting our first workshop with you all on 11th March.

 

This however is not the end.  The amount of applications we recieved made it even clearer to us the need there is for guidence and learning when you are starting a company and the hunger there is for it.  We would have treasured this kind of workshop when TF started out as it is such an unknown world.  Applications, funding, contracts?  Although we are still learning there is information we have learn't on the way that we want to pass on and we are hoping that we will be able to do this for the companies that contacted us for this programme.  Watch this space! 

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read the whole story Nov. 7th 2016

Mother of All Tours

by Abbi Dawson

 

As we come to the end of the Kicking & Screaming tour it’s a good time to look back and see how much the show has grown since we first took it out in April last year when it was just a little wee baby trying to find it’s feet.

 

 As my role as Stage Manager at the end of every show I clean up the set and all the mess of the toys, yoghurt and Shreddies that have been thrown around, and I cannot help but think of myself as a mother picking up after a long day with her kids. I’ve seen K&S develop from one tour to the next, and the characters thrive. It has certainly been a fun filled journey, with plenty of laughs along the way.

 

A show day from start to finish can take me through a whole range of emotions; such as joy, rage, love, sadness, optimism, fear and surprise. A roller-coaster ride that I believe could mirror a day in the life of a parent, and I am sure our two directors would agree with this.

 

The final scene of K&S perfectly describes how I feel about the show (spoiler alert for who has not watched it yet). Watching each washing line come out of the washing machine, starting from baby clothes that grow in size up until young adults, and knowing it’s time for them to leave the nest and fly. The 8thNovember in Reading is our final show, I will feel like a very sad parent who has seen my baby grow up and leave. However, in the hopes that they would come back and visit, I also hope this will not be the last time we get to re-visit K&S and I’m extremely excited and hopeful for it’s future.

 

 We’ve had lots of fun and adventures along the way, below is a picture from our 27mile bike ride to Stonehenge with some of the Tangled Feet family on K&S!

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read the whole story Nov. 2nd 2016

Cuddles and conversations

By Al Orange

 

 

Kicking and Screaming is quite a big show to get into a space in one day.  We have lighting, live sound, a set with lots of bits that need putting together and projection, and as technical manager, I often don’t get to see that much of the places we are visiting as my days are filled with wiring and programming and sound checking, and I sometimes spend far more of my time with my equipment than I do with the other members of the cast.

 

But there is one moment that I enjoy more than any other on this tour, something that helps to wash away all the tiredness and stress of managing the show, and that is the simple pleasure of cuddling babies, and talking to parents.  We have been doing a series of baby-friendly shows in most of our venues, and it is an extraordinary moment in time.  Quite apart from providing a much needed opportunity for new parents to be included in the arts, they provide such a wonderful atmosphere and shared social space.

 

Parents take a lot longer to leave an auditorium than other theatre goers.  Babies need changing, they need feeding, they need the chance to crawl around on the play mats after having sat still for over an hour.  And this is where I have my special moment.  I have had so many wonderful conversations with parents, who have really shown their appreciation for how we have created a space of them and their children.  It is extremely heartening to know that we are doing something that is so precious to people, that we are addressing an access need that has been ignored for too long in so many areas of society.

 

And then there’s the cuddles.  I have met some very special tiny people, and remembering them brings a smile to my face.  There was the little girl who was fascinated by my pink hair, and stopped crying every time she saw me.  There was a beautiful little boy who just had the softest head in the world.  There were two lovely little twin boys who just kept wanting to hug each other.  And all of them seem to love the music and the lighting just as much as their parents are enjoying the play.  I’m extremely proud of the special shared experience we have managed to create, and Kicking and Screaming is one of those shows that will always have a place in my heart.

 

For the purposes of illustration here is me cuddling Tangled Feet stunt baby, Claude.

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Inclusive, fun and creative Working with young people
  • The most accessible and original theatre company working in the UK today”

    The most accessible and original theatre company working in the UK today”

    The Stage
  • Tangled Feet offer a glimpse of magic”

    Tangled Feet offer a glimpse of magic”

    Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
  • For Tangled Feet, theatre is a contact sport”

    For Tangled Feet, theatre is a contact sport”

    The Stage
  • Tangled Feet, the masters of physical theatre”

    Tangled Feet, the masters of physical theatre”

    The Independent
  • They are defining the future of theatre”

    They are defining the future of theatre”

    The Edinburgh Guide
  • An astounding spectacle..a uniformly excellent ensemble…stunning”

    An astounding spectacle..a uniformly excellent ensemble…stunning”

    www.fringereview.com