Seeded during lockdown for Covid-19 in May 2020, A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is a sequence of 6 short films to chart a spacious and rhythmic journey through the nature of grief in our times.
They carry intent to open out its language as an essential and natural part of the human experience, to dissolve taboo around its expression - so we can better understand its role in renewal.
Through the lens of DEEP TIME, the human form in motion against the achingly beautiful landscape of the Cornish coast casts a stark mirror up to the intimate, yet forgotten connection between human and earth.
Dance movement theatre practitioner, ROWAN JACQUELINE entwines earth-engaged performance with the land, poetry and music as each film works in isolation, yet together combine as a complete experience.
Here, the audience are invited to enter a process of exploration within a structure that hopes to create enough space between SLOW CINEMA and the rough hands of sorrow to find connection beyond isolation.
Supported by the evocative facilitation of HENRY McGRATH, A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is intended to work as an experimental piece with potential to combine with live inter-disciplinary performance at a later stage.
In addition to the film sequence, the momentum of the project also supports the development and creation of:
- BOOK OF POEMS
A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is made rich with layers of poetry and the spoken word. At the end of the creative process, poetics, imagery from the films and selected diary entries and interviews will be made available in book form.
- SPIDERFLOWER + A CENTRE FOR EARTH ENGAGED PERFORMANCE RESEARCH (CEEPR)
Originated in 1999 by Rowan Jacqueline - SPIDERFLOWER is a dance movement theatre practice specialising in EARTH-ENGAGED PERFORMANCE RESEARCH. Its purpose is to create original works devoted to the progressive inquiry into the relationship between the natural world, and us, as a human race through the expressive arts.
This work has evolved continuously over the last 20 years, on entering a third decade a significant body of research has been produced and time has arrived to share valuable findings with the wider whole. A CENTRE FOR EARTH-ENGAGED PERFORMANCE RESEARCH is due to archive Spiderflower's research as an online, educational resource while creating foundation to record development of future projects from conception through to performance.
- OUTREACH + COURSES
Audience inclusion has always been a vital part of Spiderflower's working practice. OUTREACH PROGRAMMES and COURSES traditionally run throughout development and production. OUTREACH carries specific intent to extend to communities facing challenge and grief to include issues around CLIMATE, RACE, YOUTH, SEXUALITY and COVID-19.
During the UK's initial lockdown, I had the great fortune to stumble upon the work of The Solo School headed by Henry McGrath. After embarking on an intense process of artistic reflection around my own practice, along with all we, as a species, face at this time A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE was conceived. As it took shape, the artistic quality of the work returning proved startling - my choice to continue and develop the project further was made on the strength of audience reaction on how resonant the issue of grief is at this time.
While Spiderflower works on an international basis, our home has been rooted in Cornwall for a number of years. A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE makes an important contribution to the arts in Cornwall as it is site specific to Loe Bar, Penrose.
This is a place of wonder. Considered as a classic geological conservation review site, Loe Bar and the surrounding area are administered by the NATIONAL TRUST who are currently supporting this project. A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE shines a light on some of the many stories held within this unique landscape, along with detailing the rich biodiversity found within the flora and fauna Loe Bar is home to.
PHASE 1: From Feb 2021, a course has been set for an entire years work within the context of research and development (R+D) where focus falls intensively on writing and film-making, while Book of Poems and CEEPR are natural by-products and their creation weaves easily over the course of the year. PHASE 1 expects to complete Feb 2022 when films are due to release for work-share in Cornwall, the UK and we hope Sweden.
PHASE 2: Moves into a further years work with focus on actualisation, production and will concentrate on the placement of music once a strong canvas is in place. PHASE 2 will be met with a separate budget for composers alongside cover for all production and post-production costs. Music plays an incredibly important role within the piece. The music of Nils Frahm, Johann Johannsson, Ben Lukas Boysen along with Max Richter has been mooted for A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE. Exquisite in every way, we are working to a high bar with the standard these genii bring to the work.
- Please note: This Crowdfunder supports phase 1 (R+D) only.
To date, Spiderflower has been mostly self-sufficient as an organisation, this being the first time in a number of years significant funding has been sought.
Our initial Crowdfunding campaign launched back in Dec 2020 successfully reached our baseline target of £7,500, with £2,400 raised online and £5,100 pledged offline.
Take a look at our original Crowdfunding film:
- The Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust, who regularly champion Spiderflower's work have granted a further £500 this year, bringing our total to £8,000.
- We are delighted to have this support. This figure has just surpassed our baseline budget, which means all base costs are covered so . . . we've begun!
Out of the 6 stanzas belonging to A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE, we have completed substantial drafts in film, each resting at around 15 mins for both HOLLOW (Stanza 1), THRESHOLD (Stanza 2) and are about to roll into the Stanza 3.
Each turn of the wheel is incredibly thorough. A stanza takes around 6 - 8 weeks to complete, spending around 4 - 5 weeks on the land, a further 2 - 3 weeks editing to complete with presentation to our critique circle who provide crucial feedback.
- HOLLOW: While Spiderflower works with earth-engaged performance, HOLLOW is the only stanza set within an entirely human-made environment devoid of any natural connection. It explores the impact of isolation, separation and suppression in relation to grief.
- THRESHOLD (Stanza 2) opens out the complex nature of the Threshold. Our relationship with deep time begins to evolve as we explore our relationship with the many ways we meet Thresholds and how they exist within different time frames (eternal or momentary).
- Go to our dedicated project FACEBOOK GROUP to explore further.
Importantly, we are not out of money, we are keeping to budget and there is no danger the project will not complete for PHASE 1. All is good.
To achieve the quality of A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE as we really want it, the total budget for PHASE 1 sits at £15,000 as a mid-budget.
- £7,500 is a squeaky, shoestring budget - no frills whatsoever - but it can be done.
- £15,000 is much more breathable, allowing for extra equipment, venue hire and all creatives to be paid.
- CROWDFUNDER #1 went slightly over our baseline target raising £8,000.
- CROWDFUNDER #2 simply invites further support to invest in extra equipment, better funding for creatives so making for more fluidity within the creative process - which includes the development of outreach programmes, book and CEEPR.
- CROWDFUNDER #2 also creates an opportunity for funding bodies offering match-funding to step in and support the project.
- CROWDFUNDER #2 is pitched at a £1,000 initial target. External applications are currently being made, on taking into account other bids, it feels a £1,000 target sits about right - as it covers the equipment we most need and considers the fact our community have funded the majority of PHASE 1 so far.
- OVERALL BUDGET ultimately aims for a stretch target of £15,000 - so we need to raise a further £7,000 in total.
- STRETCH TARGET: OUR STRETCH TARGET FOR CROWDFUNDER #2 IS £2,000.
Funding raised through both Crowdfunder #1 + #2 go to support PHASE 1.
The budget for filming is quite low as the team is small and work is shot on the land. The most precious resource is the time needed to authentically follow Spiderflower's creative process. Most money raised goes to support creative artists along with necessary insurances, venue hire, costume, equipment and running costs.
Here are breakdowns of how funds from Crowdfunder #1 has been or Crowdfunder #2 will be distributed.
Crowdfunder #2 will prioritise camera equipment, then venue hire specifically for the development of outreach programmes and work-share along with marketing, then post production and Rowan Jacqueline.
The ultimate intent of A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is to open out a conversation and creative space of artistic reflection around the nature of grief in context with the human / earth relationship and deep time.
- ARTISTIC PROCESS + INTENT: On an artistic level, this experimental piece seeks to venture into uncharted territory in the hope to develop a form that is - most importantly - relevant and resonant for audiences in the times we are in. Our intent is to open out, in fine detail, the nuanced relationship between human and earth in an unobstructed way, and so it is necessary to adopt new ways of working in order to travel the audience.
- DEEP TIME: Is the passage of time that lives outside of ordinary human awareness. We come away from the frenetic tempo of daily life, to immerse ourselves in the long, slow rhythms of geological time and natural world, and in doing so - open out an entirely unique perspective.
- SLOW CINEMA: As we travel through deep time, we, as humans must adapt to follow its rhythms. Watching through the lens of SLOW CINEMA gives to this process. To stay close, we watch through the steady, patient gaze of a still frame. Slow cinema sees in a different way. Simple and uncluttered, it speaks to us in a language we are not used to - but is innate as it heightens detail inside dialogue with the natural world which we might ordinarily miss.
- THE PERFORMANCE PROCESS: Follows as it unfolds. It is vital to understand the work does not follow a script, but is set in a loose framework. As an artist, I have no knowing what will emerge. Everything in terms of choreography is drawn directly through and out of direct movement dialogue between body and earth. In time, a story will form and it is likely to be one we have not seen before. This is, the entire point of the work. It is an act of translation.
- WRITING + THE SPOKEN WORD: During this phase poetics are written, prior to venturing on the land and directly after. As we move with the spoken word, this acts as another form of translation to be wove into the emergent story.
- FILMING: In the most practical sense the performance process means, as a performer, I need to spend hours on the land as I work so closely with the elements. The most effective way to film is on a single camera, through a still frame and solo. I know that might raise some eyebrows - but the attention of the performer has to be sustained in such a complete and unwavering way for long periods of time, so it is best worked in this way. This has the advantage of making the creative process as Covid-proof as possible as there is no need to halt due to lockdowns. Camera crew are brought in for detail at a later stage.
- MUSIC: As stated in PHASE 2 above.
- DOCUMENTARY, INTERVIEWS + PERSPECTIVE: The creative process is documented via film and in writing, ready to move over to CEEPR as a resource. Many questions sit within the entire journey of the piece, one of them being: 'How well do we really understand grief as an emotion?'. In western culture, it is more often suppressed, and so an important part of research and outreach will be to seek out different cultural perspectives.
- ARTS + FILM FESTIVALS: Phase 2 to include arts + film festivals.
- On a humanistic level, A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is intended to work essentially as a vessel of reflection, where it serves those grieving at this time. It is, in this sense, for everyone it may belong to.
- It is an important piece for performance artists, educators and theatre makers who have a passion for progressive and exploratory forms of theatre and film, particularly those who are currently working with deep time, slow cinema and earth-based genres.
- Spiderflower's community is made of deep thinkers, change makers, creatives and pioneers in every sense. It is set to benefit those who are inquisitive about the relationship between human and earth, and where working to find a way through the climate emergency is of importance.
- Outreach will be an incredibly important part of phase 2 when we are in production and carries specific intent to extend to communities facing challenge and grief to include and tackle issues around CLIMATE, RACE, YOUTH, SEXUALITY and COVID-19. While A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is designed for an audience of 18+ due to the fact it will be addressing challenging material, the work can be adapted to specifically cater for teens and young people.
Audience inclusion has always been a vital part of the development and creative process for any piece of work within Spiderflower. Ongoing with dialogue with our audience / participants while the work is in progress creates a real, progressive and rich environment that always greatly influences and grounds the creation of any body of work. A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is no different in this sense.
A small audience has stepped inside a years experiential journey within the project through MEMBERSHIP, and are currently travelling alongside the creative process as A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE develops. A tiered Membership Programme offers blogs, talks, hangouts and online classes and courses.
Spiderflower always prefers to work in-person, on the ground and live wherever it can. Theatre possesses a profound magic, and in these days where it is so threatened as an art form we're holding out for the moment where A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE can move into live inter-disciplinary performance. When the time comes to take it on the road, we will be looking to develop ways where the audience are further included in an experiential way in the piece.
WRITER / DIRECTOR / PERFORMER
Trained at Rose Bruford College (BA Hons Theatre Arts), Rowan Jacqueline has worked as an actor with particular focus on classical and physical / laboratory theatre, director, writer and fledgling filmmaker.
As founder and director of SPIDERFLOWER, the essence of her independent work sees the fusion between two disciplines. That of theatre, with emphasis on the body as an instrument through movement and dance. Secondly, the profound life-ways and art forms of the worlds earth-wise peoples inspire her work greatly.
Henry McGrath, who has been devoted to the investigation of personal practice for 11 years.Henry is an actor, director, solo film maker and physical performance artist who has worked within a wide-web of performance worlds, from collaborating with experimental avant-garde theatre groups to working in mainstream TV and film.
He is the founder and co-director of EDEN'S CAVE, a laboratory theatre group based in the Forest of Dean described as "an exciting and ground-breaking company with a holistic world vision".
CAMERA + DETAIL
Matilda Butler is a filmmaker and artist from South East Cornwall. Her work binds the fantastical and real. Greatly inspired by European folklore, it carries intent to tell in-depth multifaceted stories within their own distinct atmospheres. After mentoring for the BFI in 2017, Matilda was inspired to study at Falmouth University, graduating with a Film BA in 2020. She shot and directed RAW, which screened at the FIRST TIME FILMMAKER SESSIONS FESTIVAL and OFFSHOOT GALLERY, London. BLUE COCOON her 16mm graduate project was awarded first class honours, while her most recent screenplay VOYAGER was awarded semi-finalist at the GIRLS IN FILM FESTIVAL with Dr. Martens, which was awarded funding from Screen Cornwall and is in the making!
The most important element of enabling A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE to progress is your help.
Whatever you are able to contribute makes a great difference and we offer a thousand thank you's.
It is our hope to deliver to the world something that is as necessary, as it is beautiful, as it is thought provoking - as it is progressive in artistic terms.
An adventure awaits, we truly hope you will be part of it.
To follow the journey - join the dedicated FACEBOOK GROUP for A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE.
DELIVERY + MERCHANDISE:
- Prices include p+p within the UK / delivered by DPD courier service.
- Additional cost for p+p / courier delivery outside the UK will need to be charged. Please contact Spiderflower for advice.
- To view T-shirts + Hoodies hop over to SPIDERFLOWER'S SHOP
- T-shirts and hoodies go to order as this Crowdfunder closes on 1.8.21 - please allow 28 days for delivery.