After an autumn tour which saw four of our works on the road, mainly in the north of England, we’ve taken the van back to the depot, and made it home to our own beds. And then it began to snow. Really!
The end of a tour is always strange. It’s like when you leave school: there’s the excitement of the next thing to look forward to, but you’re also wondering if you’ve made the most of what you had, looking back nostalgically at everything in a haze of emotion.
We’ve had a fabulous time with our community performers from Elland in West Yorkshire, who did a great job sharing their LANDED stories with audiences in Halifax — and we made a little book about the place too! We were back in Halifax with Near Gone, and saw some of those performers in the audience, hearing a story from us, which was a really lovely exchange! Nearby, we performed Manpower in Leeds and afterwards had conversations about migration with a group of European women, and about growing up as a boy with younger audience members. We shared the same show in our new base at ARC Stockton, too, and spoke afterwards about anger and a politics of difference with a group of young theatre makers.
Declining Solo was the Guardian’s top pick in the south west when we shared it at Salisbury Playhouse, and the show visited Ormskirk and The Lowry (Salford Quays) too. We spoke with audiences about the unusual sculptural work inside the piece, and the ways in which they’d seen members of their own family age. Lots of people wanted to understand the process of making, particularly audience members who weren’t familiar with devised work, and who were fascinated by the journey we’d been on to make the show.
Arts Council England supported the tour, making it possible after we’d had real challenges raising funds to complete Declining Solo earlier in the year. Some of those issues were the subject of a Guardian article about the need for stronger support for mid-career artists. We’ve been thinking about how we might be able to offer some of that support, speaking to other practitioners, venue managers, funders and friends. That’s a project we’re excited about for the future.
And we’re also really excited not to be touring in early 2018. It’s the first season since spring 2013 that we won’t have any work in British theatres. We’ve a new piece that we’re developing ideas for, and it will be an opportunity to concentrate on that, and planning ahead. Declining Solo will be back later in the year, and in 2019 we’ll introduce the new work — and while distinctly Two Destination Language, it will be unlike everything we’ve done before!