BINGE! Week 2 & 3 – Goddesses, Health & Happiness

Week one we we explored together. A safe rehearsal space.

Our close-knit company and mentor, exploring deeply personal and very exciting subject matter that we can’t wait to carry forward.

Now, for these two weeks, we’ve been out on the road! We have met incredible people, heard beautiful stories, and added many a mighty woman to the MH family, as part of our visits to five Lancashire Women’s Centres.

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Blackburn Women’s Centre

A mighty group of 12 chatted about bodies, friendship, community, weddings, mental health, family, food, loneliness, creativity and supporting each other. An absolutely incredible first day of our road-trip of workshops!

We made about 25 flower crowns, plus a whole wedding party of flower corsages for one of our particiants weddings! It was such an energetic room full of women supporting each other and feeling confdient in their creativity.

There is so much power in creating, conversations and belonging.

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Accrington Women’s Centre

We sassed our way down the catwalk, strutted to Aretha Franklin & celebrated what makes us unique. A truly meaningful afternoon in such supportive company. Let’s keep raising each other up ladies!

Here’s to a week of complimenting the women around us.

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World Mental Health Day

This important day fell within the third week of our BINGE project – and it could not have been more perfect timing.

It had us reflecting on all we had spoken about and discovered this week, thanks to our new Mighty friends and collaborators. What can we do for ourselves and each other?

How do we connect more with each other? How do we better listen to each other? What makes us feel like we belong? What action do we take? 

It might be a brew and a natter, a gentle listening non-judgemental ear, a boogie to ABBA, a Goddess Crown catwalk, a walk in your local park, taking medication or talking to a professional counsellor. Whatever works for you and your mental health, keep hold of it. Keep it close. Be sacred with it.

Be gentle and patient with yourself, nothing in nature blooms all year round.

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Up next –

Our creative mixer event at The Royal Exchange!

On Thursday the 26th of October – Mighty Heart will share some snippets of all the things we’ve been exploring as part of BINGE, and also, we want to use this opportunity to meet new and interesting potential collaborators for future projects, and give these artists a chance to network with each other!

Please – do share our FB event with your friends and fellow creatives. We want to meet all kinds of interesting creatives, particularly those interested in creating work for social change.

To RSVP, or, to speak with us about sharing some work of your own, please email Grace at the Royal Exchange or, send us an email at mightyhearttheatre@hotmail.co.uk

Don’t forget to tell us a little bit about yourself, and what your field of passion is!

And, if you know any interesting artists or theatre makers, please tell them to get in touch, or ‘share’ our FB event with them.

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That’s it from us for this week. Thank you to everyone who is following our BINGE journey, and to all the amazing women we have met over the last few weeks.

And of course, thank you to our incredible partners, Arts Council England, They Eat Culture, The Royal Exchange and Lanchashire Women’s Centres.

Mighty Love,

Lisa & Sam XX

 

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BINGE! Week One Sharing…

What does binge eating disorder look like?

What would you like to confess?

Geography or Dancing?

We lay sprawled on the floor in Swan Street studios in Manchester, pouring over coloured paper and pens, answering questions alongside Rachel Mars; our director, our guide, our High Priestess.

Food.

We will unpack it. No stone unturned. Binge eating disorder.

Disruption. The offer.

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We clear the space. Pens away. We consider.

What isn’t clean food is dirty food.

What is clean?

The food I used to binge on is now not enough. A galaxy bar is now the massive one. Binge-ing adapting to what is now ‘big’ and ‘gluttonous’ in the world. What is the large?  And when you say ‘I don’t need the toy’, they always give you the toy. I’m not a child.

I want the food – not the toy.

There’s no human interaction anymore – you can order and speak in to the machine and have as much as you want. Part of the shame is removed because they’re not going to see you.

Amen.

 

Follow our BINGE! journey on Instagram, Twitter and, of course, here on our blog…

Mighty love,

Sam & Lisa

X

MIGHTY BIRTH

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BIRTH! Wow, what a subject for a festival of discussion, art and story telling! We were lucky enough to be involved in the BIRTH Debate hosted by the Royal Exchange from 19th – 22nd October. The festival saw the Exchange transform its spaces into a discussion about BIRTH from all walks of life from all around the world. BLOOMIN AMAZING!

The festival’s Creative Director Emma Callander (follow Emma here: @emmacallander) is a brilliant and generous creative who has made it possible for the scripts written for the festival to be available to read, play with and learn from for 3 whole years! If you want to check out all the debates, discussions and the plays performed at the BIRTH Debate you can find out about them and request the scripts here:

http://www.birthdebate.com

Our friends at Take Back (www.takebacktheatre.com) created a piece of work for the festival called ‘Under Canvas’, this was a beautiful textile tent filled with the stories of birth in refugee camps.

‘Thousands of babies are being born in refugee camps across the world, many have no official papers and therefore no national identity or rights to protection. This installation will give you the chance to hear recorded stories of women’s experiences gathered from refugee camps in Calais and beyond. ‘

We got to hear so many incredible stories at the festival, including ones told by lovely Abooo Theatre (http://www.aboootheatre.com) and our fav’s Clean Break theatre company (http://www.cleanbreak.org.uk), they performed a rehearsed reading of ‘These Four Walls’ by Laura Lomas. It was the story of Becky and Danni, two women sharing a prison cell. One is pregnant, one is desperate to know about the children she has given up for adoption. The play examined what it’s like for mothers who are in prison, and dealt with their experiences of separation, loss and loneliness with sensitivity and humour. We thought it was crackin’!

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Mighty Heart were approached to contribute and be part of the festival back in August. We thought loads about the kind of thing two ladies without direct experience of giving birth might give to a festival like this, we decided to go out and talk to mums to see what they thought about it all. We already had some stories from our previous verbatim show, ‘When I Feel Like Crap I Google Kim Kardashian Fat’, about the pressures on mums and the expectations of magazine culture. So, we set off to W H Smiths to investigate baby magazines, what we discovered left a sour taste in our mouths. The leading baby magazine for mums, ‘Gurgle’ was to be our jumping off point!

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We met with some parents, mums and dads to talk to them about their experience and they kindly shared some stories with us that we then shared with the participants of our Mighty Birth afternoon.

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Here are the links to each story on youtube so you can hear the stories even if you didn’t get chance to make it along:

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Hypnobirthing 

One Born Every Minute

Raaaaa 

Rubbish Feminist 

Viable 

Breastfeeding on a plane 

Mum Guilt  

We then opened up a debate about ‘Gurgle’ baby magazine, in groups we all explored the magazine to discover which parts of the magazine were useful to mums and which parts, if any, were damaging. We made two giant flowery signs (obvs!) to separate out our thoughts, We had a ‘WTF?!?!’ wall and a ‘more of this please’ wall…here is a sneak peak in to what happened….

The final part of Mighty Birth saw our first venture into Craftivism! Craft and Activism = Craftivism! After lots of thinking and researching birth we stumbled across the idea of turning tradition on its head and rediscovering it for ourselves, as ourselves, now in the current day.

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Historically women were represented as a vessel, a holding vessel for reproduction. We created an activity that helps us reclaim our wombs by decorating a jar however the hell we liked, with what ever we liked to celebrate all the wonderfulness of us, our bodies, our choices and our voices!

Here are some photos of our wonderful Mighty Birth participants creating, debating and generally being really fabulous!

We were so fuelled and excited by the conversations and energy of Mighty Birth that we will be continuing this conversation in the future and fingers crossed sharing the event with other groups of parents. If you like the sound of Mighty Birth and you think it might be something your group, company, gathering or community might like we would love to hear from you!

To all the super, wonderful women and men that came along to Mighty Birth, thank you! You rocked our October and showed us that we absolutely can have a relaxed story telling, debate, Craftivism and have our cake and eat it too…Oh yes and there was lots of cake and biscuits, we forgot to mention that!

Until next time.

Peace, Love and Beautiful Birth.

Sam and Lisa

X

Rediscovering the Radical, Theatre and Social Change.

Rediscovering the radical.

(Performers from the young company at Collective Encounters sharing what they feel strongly about and telling personal stories that support their beliefs and choice for activism.)

Ok, so a few weeks ago we attended a conference in Liverpool called ‘Re-discovering the Radical, Theatre and Social change’ (http://rediscoveringtheradical.org.uk) which had been organised and created by a proper inspiring lady called Sarah Thornton (Collective Encounters). It was a game changer for Mighty Heart and we would like to share some of our notes and things we have learnt with you in the hope that you might benefit from it like we have.

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This blog post will look and feel a little different to our usual, we are going to share both of our notes/ramblings/scribbles of thoughts from the conference and links to the seminars on YouTube so that you can dip into anything you think will help you, your practice or your work.

NOW IS THE MOMENT TO LEARN HOPE – A key note speech by John Holloway (Sociologist, philosopher and professor at the autonomous University of Puebla)

John set the political frame for the conference. Rooted in his experience from the Zapatista movement through Occupy, and his deep thinking around radical change, John shared his vision for building a post-capitalist future.

Johns Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM22npAvJgU

Our notes:

  • Hope is in danger of becoming extinct, what can we do about it?
  • It’s all to do with walls going up/in our minds/barriers closing in our education system/ boarders closing/ walls going up to stop our capacity to think and feel things.
  • To just say ‘no’ is to block and close our minds, we must have open minds to make positive change, to dream of a world beyond capitalism.
  • ‘Radical’ is not saying how bad the world is, opening our minds to something else is.
  • Everyone is a rebel! Remember that when you make your work, you are speaking to people. Use your art well.
  • Hope grows from anger, hope is the most important thing to stick hold of, as anger can only get you so far when you are trying to make social change and be radical.
  • Capitalism and social media. We are creating a brand for ourselves, Facebook profiles etc. are basically an advert, a product that we create. Capitalist society = Sell your self. Is there another way? Social media: creating a ‘self’ to be marketed/ commodified.
  • Now is the moment to learn hope
  • Combat & reject neo-liberalism
  • Positive opportunities for change
  • The Principal of Hope- (A BOOK!)
  • Our grandparents know more about hope than we do
  • Borders are becoming stricter
  • Money is being used as barriers to any thoughts that do not conform to money
  • “To learn hope is to say no to closure. Open our minds & senses to a possibility of a radically different world beyond profit & capitalism”
  • Why do we accept that money is our axis to social interaction?
  • “To learn hope is to have a concept of what we are hoping against”
  • “The commodification of everything that can be commodified”
  • Dogma is not interesting. We have to talk & listen.
  • “How do we reach the contradictories that are within everybody?”
  • Refusal. Love. Nerve-endings. Dream.
  • “We who refuse to abandon hope- what are we DOING?”
  • Theatre is an attempt.
  • Theatre can promote.
  • “Hope is unthinkable without anger. But anger does not necessarily lead us forward in what we are doing.”
  • “It doesn’t get us very far if on Saturday we break the windows of the banks & then on Monday we have to go to work to help rebuild the capitalism”
  • “We won’t end war until we access the peace in ourselves”
  • “How do we say a society based on money is grotesque & awful?”

 

PERFORMING HOPEFUL ACTIVISM ON THE STREETS – Rev. Billy & Savitri D (The Church of Stop Shopping).

These guys led a workshop which illustrated their practice of “non-violent creative action that ruptures the absurd realities of the mono-culture”, by creating an eco-action with us the participants, which was performed in the center of Liverpool.

Video of the performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7fhCF2IFAQ

These guys show us that you can create work in a way that incorporates people from the community in a really safe way. They used a technique called ‘MIC CHECK’ which consisted of someone whispering in a performer’s ear what they want to say and a performer (or someone comfortable with speaking publicly) delivering it to the audience, like a human microphone. It was wonderful to have so many different people performing together.

(Rev. Billy & Savitri D working with participants in the workshops)

(Participants performing in ‘Privatisation is our Blitz’)

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(Sam’s ‘Selfie’ as part of the out door activist performance)

Rev.Billy also did a performance at the conference called ‘Happiness Makes its Comeback’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUw9eR7jJkI

‘Happiness was always the claim and object of advertising, the language of the corporate state.  Buy this product and you will be happy.  And if you don’t buy it, you put your power, your looks and youth and freedom at risk.  But now consumer society has come down crashing, and happiness is not necessarily associated with the accumulation of products.  We don’t think of conspicuous consumption as a thing to desire.  The violence of consumerism that was always there is now overshadowing the middle-class conveniences.  The whole system has broken down.The system has broken down so completely, with neighbours shooting neighbors and computer bombs in the air, with everyone hacking everyone and talk of our general anguish – now happiness is radical.  Happiness is the stuff of change, after being hijacked by products for so many years – deliverance to a smile is coming with equality, liberty and love of the Earth.’

POLITICAL THEATRE IN THE MAIN STREAM: featuring Prototype Theatre Co, Vital Exposure, Unity Theatre, Red Ladder Theatre Co

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Our notes:

  • Theatre needs to extend the public conversation.
  • Putting heart back in to the centre of theatre.
  • MAD Pride project- check it out!
  • Shine a light on the stories of the marginalised.
  • Attracting new audiences is about truth.
  • Make love and mischief and bust down the 4th wall”
  • “Theatre can help us explore possible futures”
  • “Theatre can say things that aren’t being said or can’t be said”
  • It’s about truth- not propaganda.
  • Big buildings are a hierarchy; it takes ages to communicate with them because no one is empowered- How can big theatre buildings move away from a hierarchy in order to facilitate artists?
  • Don’t be reliant on a theatre space

 

CREATING POSITIVE CHANGE THROUGH HUMAN RIGHTS: Ice and fire.

Our notes:

  • Actors for Human Rights. Script readings that happen around the country, you can get involved and give your time to help peoples voices be heard.

Actors for Human Rights: http://iceandfire.co.uk/project/actors-for-human-rights/

  • Shared verbatim code of practice: see and agree with making public, anonymously if requested, make changes/additions at any point, interviewee can withdraw permission at any point, post interview involvement, our actors will not imitate.
  • The challenges we face: reframing the enemy, how we avoid preaching to the converted, connecting folk with polarised opinions, our own inherent prejudice, what is adequate change? You cannot teach anyone anything- if this is your objective you are going to face resistance. Living in the liminal space.
  • How do we measure change? Tangible results; YouTube videos, events, workshops.

 

RECOVERING FROM THE RADICAL: The Vacuum Cleaner

The Vacuum Cleaner is an art activist, he shared with us the journey he has been on with his work and activism.

Check out all his work here: http://www.thevacuumcleaner.co.uk/work

Our notes:

  • You can’t always know how people will respond, don’t let that shake what your doing. People won’t always like your work, don’t let that change your voice and what you have to say.
  • MAD LOVE. Mad love is the Vacuum Cleaners latest project: http://www.thevacuumcleaner.co.uk/madloveasylum
  • Ethical capitalism
  • The built in limits of the mainstream
  • How difficult is it to not use economical growth as a measure of success?
  • The Church of the Immaculate Consumption: http://www.thevacuumcleaner.co.uk/prayerstoproducts
  •  100,000 Pieces of Possibility- There is always a healthy risk. You can’t always plan what will happen and how people will feel. Check it out here: http://www.thevacuumcleaner.co.uk/onehundredthousand
  • It’s important to do things sometimes for the love and FUN
  • //SUSTAINABLE PRACTICE//
  • Make sure that you are kind to yourself as an artist, give your self time off. Factor time to recover into the budget of your projects, this is as important as making the work because if you are burnt out you cant make your best work.

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KEY NOTE CONVERSATION: Professors Jan Cohen-Cruz and Tim Prentki share their most recent thinking and draw on their exceptional wealth of experience in all aspects of theatre for change. Jan opens with Common Ground: Uncommon Partners reflecting her deep interest in cross-sector collaborations; and Tim follows with Joking Apart: The Social Performance of Folly, in which he argues that playful, foolish theatre can challenge the neoliberal monoculture.

Link to discussion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnRbQsRB9RE

Our notes:

  • Partner with people that want to make the same changes cross sector, people that can help you from different sectors to yourself.
  • TALK, TALK, TALK – people internalise oppression, give people a space to talk.
  • Folly is the key to our social health.
  • Play is so necessary, we need to have play in our lives.
  • People talk about being ‘deadly serious’, deadly! We need to embrace plaing and folly. We need to actively seek it out.
  • “Blessed are the cracked for they shall let in the light”

RADICAL ,ETHICAL PRACTISE: conversation with Jill Heslop (Open Clasp) and Sarah Thornton (Collective Encounters).

Heavy on the issues but gentle on the people; and the liberal/radical dichotomy.

Open Clasp: http://www.openclasp.org.uk

Collective Encounters: http://collective-encounters.org.uk

Our notes:

  • Always create a safe space for your audience and those participating in your work, that is paramount.
  • Perform in places where your audience (the people you want to see the work) gather, take the work to your audience don’t expect them to come to you.
  • Detach from emotional attachment, when talking about sensitive topics people can talk about their own experience by describing them as a character, as somebody else. This helps keep story sharing safe.
  • Work with service providers.
  • Dream possible futures.
  • Commit to long term work with people, if you start a project or arts engagement try your best to give it a legacy.
  • Ask yourself, what are you trying to change?
  • ART IS FOR EVERYONE!
  • No one should ever perform their own stories, don’t have people working on their own stories.
  • Solidarity not charity
  • Collaborate with communities.
  • We have to look after ourselves

THE TOWN MEETING, an interactive performance by Cap-a-Pie.

Check out the link to Cap-a-pie: http://www.cap-a-pie.co.uk/the-town-meeting/

This project involves the audience as co-investigators in a town planning process, offering an innovative approach to democratic theatre and an exciting, responsive process.

We participated in The Town Meeting with our mate Dave, which was really lovely.

We also spent time looking and buying at the pop-up independent bookshop, ‘News from Nowhere’. This is a wonderful book shop ran by a co-operative of writers and we will continue to support them, we think you should too! Check out their website: 

http://www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk/books/

We really hope this blog and sharing is useful to you, and thank you for giving it a read! If you fancy chatting about it feel free to give us a bell/email. We feel like this conference has added fuel to our fire and we hope its ignited your passion for activism and social change too. 

Peace, Love and Activism.

Sam and Lisa

xxx

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

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So as the dust and glitter settles on our Edinburgh Fringe Festival adventure we wanted to tell you all about our experience. We have set out to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about our first Mighty Heart venture to the Fringe…so grab a brew, get comfy and brace yourselves!…Well, its not going to be that hard hitting, we are saving the true grit for our Mighty Heart Edinburgh survival event at HOME in January as part of PUSH Festival (We will let you all know the ‘when’s’ and ‘where’s’ once its all pinned down).

Before we went to Edinburgh we researched, chatted with mates (cheers lovely Josh Coates!) and gathered as much information as we possibly could about the beautiful bright beast that is the Fringe. What we quickly realised is that no matter how much you think you know, or feel like you’re ready it will most likely overwhelm you…well, at least slightly!

We had been on a Mighty field trip the previous year with our bestie Esther Dix and spent a fabulous 4 days camping, seeing theatre and scoping out the Free Fringe. This was brilliant as we got to look at venues and feel the festival, however its probably worth imagining yourself there for 4 weeks, without the luxury of having your co-director/bestie Esther with you for the whole run and flyering in the rain!

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Whilst we are on the subject of flyering we might as well share with you some stuff we learnt, here you go:

 Posters.

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So, Mighty Heart got 500 posters printed, all glittery and leopard print-y and fabulous, we were right excited…until we arrived at the Festival. The Edinburgh Council own pretty much every bit of space in the city, so you cant put your posters up unless you pay them a sizeable amount to do so. We wish we had put the money towards going in the big Fringe Festival Guide. This would have been a much better way to spend our money, and would have brought folk into the show.

 Flyering.

Mighty Heart Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016

Don’t worry if you don’t find it natural to thrust flyers in peoples faces, its really hard work and when you are at the festival if can seem like everyone is loving it! What we discovered is that a lot of people don’t let you into the truth of what they are feeling until you offer up your truth…we made so many friends by just being honest, admitting that we were having a hard day or a bit of a struggle. Its surprising how many people just want to hear a supportive honest voice. When we had a bad day on the Mile with our trusty sign (EVERYONE should take a sign! It does half your job for you, and people actually approach you for your flyer) we went for a break and a brew. This could seem like an obvious one, but for so many people at the Fringe well-being is at the very bottom of their priorities.

 We loved this little café; The Coffee Mill beside Grassmarket, toast with jam and butter for £1.50 and the man that ran the gaff, Gino was so super nice. 

 

Well-Being.

Look after yourself and anyone you meet. We made some bloody glorious mates by being open and asking how folk were doing day to day. We went to see their shows and they came to see ours, which doesn’t seem like a lot but a sense of community really saved us on days we felt crap.

This is our mate Geoff. We met him on our first day in Edinburgh. He promised to come and see our show and he did. We went to see his show, ‘Money Is As Innocent As The Sun’, and it was one of the best things we saw!

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Make sure you get a day off a week. We met so many artists that really suffered at the Fringe because they worked just that bit too long flyering, or didn’t have a day off, or beat themselves up over a small audience. Its really hard work, you’re SMASHING it just by being at the Fringe Festival in the first place. Some things are out of your control so be kind to yourself and always give yourself (and anyone with you) a pat on the back.

On our first day off we went up Arthurs Seat and stuffed our face with bagels at Elephant and Bagels (near George Square). 

 

We also made friends with the people that own this Greek Restaurant Spitaki, by our digs, its lovely and we loved it that much we went for a second time with our Free Fringe buddy Gary from Leeds (Twitter: ‪@garyfromleeds‪ ) (http://www.spitaki.co.uk)

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 Free Fringe.

The PBH Free Fringe is wonderful, in that it gives artists like us without a load of cash to put their work on at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival….but, if you are going to be on the Free Fringe you have to prepare yourself. We can only tell you about our experience and I’m sure there are lots of different feelings towards the Free Fringe but for us we really missed the basic things we take for granted in Theatre spaces. Things like; a warm up space, front of house, a normal amount of time to do a get in, technical help, lights, a space where people can’t just walk in…BUT, as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival grows and becomes more and more corporate we need to appreciate the Free Fringe and everything it is trying to do for us artists. So we thank you PBH Free Fringe for giving us a step on the ladder and some cracking pals.

If the PBH Free Fringe didn’t exist we would never have met and performed to all these glorious, amazing, open minded audience members! We loved every moment of every show (even the one where 7 people walked in onto the stage from the door by the stage that led to the toilets!). We had Nurses, Teachers, Mother, Babies, Blokes, Hen Parties, Care workers, Birthdays, Mates from all over the country and loads of young people!

 

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We also met 1990’s hero Dave Benson Phillips…and a giant vagina!

 

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We feel like the next bit of the blog should have its own special title, and an Professor Albus Dumbledore quote which we stumbled on at the birth place of Harry Potter, The Elephant Café….cue sparkly, messy, honest subtitle!

 The radical act of calling it a day.

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As we approached the final week of our Fringe run, we both started to feel a bit ‘not right’. We felt like the energy of the festival had worn us out and the venue had started to have an impact on our work. Whilst walking our 45-minute journey home with the shows set, in the pouring rain we both confessed that we felt like we wanted to go home. We both worried about what people would say or think of us for leaving 4 shows early. We worried what the other acts might say, we worried about our overactive creative brains riddling us with guilt…And then we decided to do what was right for us, we made our plan to come home early. It felt like a radical thing to do in that environment, and it also felt like the truthful thing to do.

I suppose the biggest thing that we have learnt is that every artist /company /comedian/spoken word artist/musician is unique and the biggest difficulty at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is not to compare yourself to others. It’s absolutely not a level playing field. How much money you can throw at PR directly affect’s who will come to see your show, and who will come to review it. The best venues cost the most, so the more money you spend on a venue the more bums you will have on seats. You can slog your guts out flyering and chatting to folk and no one will turn up. Go to the Fringe on your own terms, for your own reasons, you are Queen (or King!) of your Fringe experience!

Please join us and some mates we met on our Fringe Festival journey in January at PUSH Festival at HOME Mcr, where we will share everything we have learnt and all the information we wish we had known before we went to the Fringe so that YOU the artist can be informed, enabled and empowered.

 

Over and out lovely MIGHTY mates!

Peace, Love and Haggis

Sam and Lisa

X

P.S – The night before we left for home we had a crazy moment of euphoria where we destroyed the Mighty flyering sign…luckily we filmed it for you all! Head over to our Facebook page to watch it! https://www.facebook.com/mightyhearttheatre/ 

Good night, farewell Mighty sign….

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Rural venues you ROCK our Mighty World!

So, last week we took the plunge and did our very first rural venue in beautiful Laxfield, Suffolk. We didn’t really know what to expect from our first rural adventure as we pinned up homemade posters and flyers in cafes, florists, newsagents, pubs, libraries, village notice boards, parish magazines and AS MANY PLACES we were allowed to in local towns and villages, bulk bought Prosecco, baked a million cakes and began to sell tickets to our show, ‘When I Feel Like Crap I Google Kim Kardashian Fat’…

 

 

We turned the Laxfield Village Hall in to a Mighty Wonder Land with our magazine bunting, home made signs and obligatory Mighty sparkle!

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Well, what an absolutely incredible experience for our first rural gig!!! Laxfield not only turned out to the Mighty Heart party but over 100 people came to watch our show from Laxfield and beyond! The audience filled the village hall with chatter, love and community, They filled every seat and we even had to grab emergency chairs!

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The audience ranged from 10 weeks old to 85 years old, some ladies asked if they could bring their babies along and of course we said ‘YES!’. They brought such a lovely vibe to our audiences and gave both their mums and dads the chance to see our show.

MIGHTY MASCOTS!!!!!

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With the drinks and cakes flowing and everyone settled we started our show, the stories felt fresh and special as they were shared with such a diverse and wonderful audience. It’s been said to us that ‘When I Feel Like Crap I Google Kim Kardashian Fat’ won’t work in a rural setting and that rural audiences won’t ‘get it’…but after our debut *sold out* rural show what we’ve learned is that we need to stop pigeon holing our audience. Who would have guessed that Blind Barry who’s in his 80’s would have come to our show, sat in the front row and laughed along with the audience? We wouldn’t have guessed it but he did and that’s mighty important to us because on paper you would say that our show doesn’t speak to a blind man in his 80’s. But it did. Discussions about body image and magazine culture were taking place in all corners of our village hall after our show! At it’s core this show is about self-esteem, personal revelations, acceptance, being kinder in the way we view others and EMBRACING WHAT YOU’VE GOT and we think they are universal themes that speaks to people regardless of whether they live in a city or in a village (with less than 1000 people in it!)

 So next time someone tells you your idea won’t work…give it a go just to try…you might just end up in front of 100+ people dancing to Stevie Nicks in the middle of nowhere. 

 We asked all our audience to do a little survey afterwards, here’s what some of them said:

“Lisa and Sam many thanks for an informative, fun and challenging evening”

 

“I have been through this and I think women’s magazines are shit and always have been”

 

“I think it should tour to schools”

 

“Thank you so much Mighty Heart”

 

“I would definitely recommend this performance to others”

 

“Well done for raising the issues, brilliant idea in a lovely informal atmosphere”

 

“Never knew this affected people so much”

 

“Take it to schools, its exactly what young people need”

 

After the show we had a drink, a disco dance and Q & A with our audience, dancing whilst chatting is surprisingly freeing to folk, chatting and feeling like they can ask away!

 …And of course everyone wanted to share there Mighty Selfies!

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Laxfield you were GLORIOUS, and we cant thank you enough for encouraging and supporting us in our heart felt quest to get out into communities, this is the start of something special and exciting for us. Thank you.

 

Peace, Love and Village Halls.

 

Lisa and Sam

x

Ps – It would’nt be right to do a blog about our show with out sharing some of peoples ‘When I Feel Like Crap…’ tags!

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Mighty Fabulous Chin-wag/Women Unite

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Last week Mighty Heart Theatre, with the help of our super wonderful mates at HOME MCR hosted our first Chin-wag event (the first we hope of many!). We were joined by a panel of 6 wonderful female artists, a 40 strong glorious audience and a LOT of home made baked treats and the outcome was something pretty special…A new movement and a determination for encouragement, strength and togetherness!

Everyone arrived bit by bit and shared cakes and chatty catch ups, it was such a lovely atmosphere in the room before we even started! Some of our guests even brought cake with them, which more than made up for the fact that we had misplaced the tea urn and could only offer people water.

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Kim Kardashian even turned up! IMG_7413

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Well she was there to help us launch our ‘Get Kim To Edinburgh’ campaign! We want to get our world change show about body image to as many eyes, ears and hearts as possible… (Check it out:  https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/user/mightyhearttheatre/dashboard/get-kim-to-edinburgh).

We started the night by readying this quote that Sam found in her Oh Comely magazine (if you haven’t already, you should give it a read )

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We asked questions and discussed lots of different challenges that face the creative women of today and tomorrow;

‘What advice would you give your 20 year old self?’

‘How do you manage life and work?’

‘What is the best bit of creative related advice you have ever been given?’

The panel, a collection of diverse and fabulous women (Yusra Warsama, Maggie and Sue from Lip Service Theatre, Emily Coxhead, Liz Richardson and Leanne from Letterbox Lane) helped spark encouragment in their answers. Through their words they showed us that we can have it all! A family and a career, Maggie and Sue used to tour in half term to enable the kids to join them, Liz spoke about the joy of having a life along side her work as a creative and how so many creatives feel like they can’t do it all, WELL WE CAN!

We discussed the cuts to drama in schools and the effect it has on our society, we realised that we have a responsibility as artists to engage and help keep art alive for all folks. “Drama in schools is like ‘the air in school’ it has a deep rooted effect on the school.”.

We were all reminded that we shouldn’t apologies for ourselves in this cretive world and that we should give our selves permission to have confidence. We deserve to be able to do what we do and own each step. It was great to hear everyone speak about different experiences and struggles…its a reminder that we all have a journey to go on and very few journeys are smooth.

We finished with a written piece by our friend Ann Ogbomo, who couldn’t be with us for the evening, Ann has world with lots of all female companies and she spoke about how important it is for women to champion other women. She also spoke passionately about how we should not be put into boxes, we should have the right to our own rules, “As soon as you put me in a box, that box sure as hell is not going to fit”.

The audience were fierce and wonderful and shared ideas, opinions and support. They were all united in the opinion that competition is ingrained in us, from where? well, everywhere! We all agreed that we should all be kinder to ourselves and each other when it comes to this competitive industry or we haven’t got a chance!

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We all came to the conclusion that this supportive feeling shouldn’t be isolated to one room on a windy Tuesday in May, it should be something we live and make work by. We decided we should most definitely do this again!

Some people made a pledge on a post-it, a pledge to themselves to reflect on next time we meet. The pledges on these post-its are inspiring and strong, take a look:

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So heres to the first Chin-wag! We have collected emails from our creative conversation and aim to meet up again in a few months, if you would like to join us please feel free to email us on mightyhearttheatre@hotmail.com and we will add you to the mailing list for the next Mighty Chin-wag!

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So, until next time ladies (and Gents), keep up the good fight, we can make change, we are making change…this is our time to smash out of the box!

Peace, love and baked goods

Lisa and Sam

x

On Corporation Street/Story Collecting/Big Mighty Manchester

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We love stories.

We think stories can change the world.

Stories and the folk that tell them are what make Mighty Heart right excited! So when we got asked by our lovely friends at HOME MCR to collect 100 stories for an event at the Town Hall in May we grabbed the dictaphones and cakes and got cracking.

HOME and ANU Theatre Company are creating an arts project all about the Manchester IRA Bomb on June 15th 1996, and they will be using the voices of Manchester people to do it. The voices of the city will be spoken by actors from the ANU company at a FREE (Yes people, its art and its FREE!) event called, ‘100 Testimonies: Listening to the voice of Manchester’.

Here is the link: http://homemcr.org/event/100-testimonies-listening-to-the-voices-of-manchester/

We have traveled all around the North West collecting these tales about the bomb and have met some absolutely glorious folk! We visited Warrington, Preston, Hebden Bridge, Ramsbottom, Chorlton, Alderley Edge and beyond.

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Age UK Manchester welcomed us in for a chat and we even ended up reading the quiz!

The Foundation for Peace, in Warrington. Which is a place bursting with support and creativity for people affected by conflict all over the world! Check out the wonderful things they do there:

http://foundation4peace.org

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We walked the streets with our home made sign and chatted to people in the city, everyone was so genourous with their voices and stories…

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So many images stuck out in peoples memories, some were beautiful and profound, some where funny and some where about a postbox.

 

Manchester talked about music, so much music! from “Tumble weeds and New Order” to “Korn Hoodies and the Corn Exchange”.

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On our last day we visited the Irish World Heritage Centre, we were welcomed in and told tales of times gone by, dancing, music, community and today. What really stuck us about this story collecting adventure is how much we all like to talk and share, and the real power we  all have within us to give folk time and an ear…and cake.

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We met so many new Mighty Heart friends on this little journey, and we are already looking forward to connecting with them all on future Mighty arts projects.

Heres to Manchester and all who deal there!

Peace, Love and Stories.

Lisa and Sam

x

 

RECLAIM.

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‘RECLAIM is a Manchester-based youth leadership charity set up in 2007 with a bold aim to end leadership inequality within a generation.’ They are so super amazing and you should check out and support all the deeply important projects they are running in our region.

Check them out:

http://www.reclaimproject.org.uk

So a few weeks back we spent the day with our fav super girls from RECLAIM, we spent the day chatting, laughing and exploring our self-esteem. They inspired us with their voices and we showed them how to have a ‘Creative Goddess Celebration Catwalk Stomp Off’ Obvs! All in a Mighty creative days work.

Here are a few snaps from our day…

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We created some Mighty Super Women! Introducing…

SUSANE WILLIAMS!

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ESMAY STARLIGHT!

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LAQUISHA-GABRIELLA FOX!

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and last but certainly not least…WENDY RIGHT-CHAMPION!

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We talked about the arts a lot, all the girls chatted about things that enthused them, that excited them and made them want to develop as writers, actors, artist…the list goes on! What did come up was the question of accessibility, accessibility in the arts, why isn’t art for everyone? Good question we thought, that deserves exploring. So with that thought we invite our Mighty RECLAIM girls and all of you out there to join us for a chat about exactly that…with tea and cake of course!

Join us and a panel of exciting creative folk to share cake and talk about the arts and its future for women in our society. We will ask questions born out of our verbatim and participatory work with women in the last 12 months, surrounding motherhood, accessibility, the education system and who we should be making art for. Bring your voice and your heart and join the conversation over a slice of cake.

– See more at: http://homemcr.org/event/mighty-hearty-arty-cake-filled-chinwag/#sthash.HF4OCliY.dpuf

Hopefully we will see you all for a Chinwag and some Vicky Sponge in May.

Peace love and Feminist Glitter Crowns.

Lisa and Sam

x

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Talk day at the Everyman.

Mighty Heart love to talk, chatter, natter, gas and chirp…we basically love words, we think they can change the world! So when we got asked to be part of ‘Time to Talk’ day at the Everyman Theatre with Time to Change we were over the moon to be involved.

Time to Change is a wonderful charity that opens up conversations about mental health to stop discrimination, they are heroes! Check them out and join the conversation :

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

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Back in November our director Esther invited Laura Hall (A lovely lass that works at the Everyman Theatre as Community Outreach Manager making accessible and brilliant work happen in the community.Go Laura! follower her on @laurahall786 ) to come along to see our show ‘What’s the Matter with You’, she enjoyed it so much she even stayed for the get out…and then she asked us to join her at this wonderful event.

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We got to perform along side some super performers and artists at ‘Time to Talk’ day, the whole theatre was bustling with different pop-up performances and installations all raising issues surrounding mental health.

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Brolly Good Show (@BrollyGoodShow) shuck our bones with their quirky, multi-art form devised pieces which they created from their own lived experiences. It featured circus style characters and a group party popper explosion! We loved it!

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Along side Brolly Good Show, were Drive by Theatre (@driveby_theatre ) a new company that have created a one-on-one performance that takes its audiences on a journey through the everyday encounters and inner dilemmas we all face in day-to-day life, all performed in a car!

Here are a few snaps of us performing our contribution to ‘Time to Talk’ day, Our ‘Itty Bitty Shitty Committee’ ice-cream theatre story. A Verbatim tale about a life shared with Mental health problems, using puppets, story telling and Beyonce. Obvs!

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The Everyman Theatre is such a nurturing theatre with lots of exciting events and creative vibes going on. We really felt welcomed there for the day and we very much hope one day we will get to return, Maybe to continue this conversation with ‘Whats the Matter with You’.

We finished our ‘Time to Talk’ day with friendship, fried chicken, and reflection on what is and always will be an issue very close to our Mighty Hearts.

Talk until your faces hurt.

Peace, Love and Party Poppers.

Lisa and Sam

x