The Improv Group

Rooms in Flux

25th – 31st October 2010

Improv Group, photo: Arto Polus

Improv Group, photo: Arto Polus

The residency at 25 Stratford Grove was a pivotal experience for The Improv Group and the house, coupled with Carole’s hospitality, provided a deeply comfortable context within which to work.

A lived in environment, peppered with fascinating and varied objects, was an important change in surroundings to our usual meeting place, the comparatively empty glass room outside Newcastle University Fine Art lecture hall.</p

Stratford Grove is well equipped for creating new performances and our process for developing Rooms In Flux unfolded very naturally.

Not only was the house able to accommodate existing working methods that we are attached to and trust, such as carrying out physical workshops, but it also acted as a safe hold within which to take bolder decisions. It was, for example, the first time we had incorporated our own writing so heavily into the work; Rooms In Flux was the first piece we had devised together from scratch, in the past having relied heavily on existing text by well established writers such as Beckett and Marlowe.

Improv Group, photo: Arto Polus

Equally, the structure and history of the house facilitated a definitive break away from the traditional director/performer&actor/audience dynamic, as well as an active attempt at quashing the strained and often counter productive barrier between Live Art and Theatre.

Finally, the experience has ignited a shared curiosity for the site specific and we have already had discussions of how to return to this process during future collaborations.

Audience feedback from Alex Byrne:

Improv Group, photo: Arto Polus

Improv Group, photo: Arto Polus

‘Having never been in the house before, it was exciting, and not a little strange. I had no idea of the layout or what to expect, what I was allowed to do or whom I would meet. I quickly got into voyeur mode though, peering around and really examining things, in the sort of way which might have been rude had someone just invited you to their home for the first time. I should have taken my camera! Maybe not but in retrospect it is tempting.

The house itself was really magical – truly a home and a great place for the work – which I’d say was very successfully site-specific. The moods created were apparently concrete and could abruptly change, assisted by lighting or music changes, which was disconcerting in an interesting way; also the movements of the performers, alternating from lethargic and or mechanical to animated or irritable really increased the impact.’

More photographs from the residency and performance:

Improv Group – Rooms In Flux from Arto Polus on Vimeo.

See also Denise Kwan’s article about Rooms In Flux under Writing or from the original source:

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