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, and so follow a thread where grief may shape us like diamonds.
In collaboration with THE SOLO SCHOOL, supported through the fine eye and 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 . . .
In addition to the film sequence, the momentum of the project also supports the creation of:
- A 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, art and selected diary entries will be made available in book form.
- CENTRE FOR EARTH ENGAGED PERFORMANCE RESEARCH (CEEPR)
SPIDERFLOWER is a dance movement theatre practice, and specialises in EARTH-ENGAGED PERFORMANCE RESEARCH. Originated in 1999 by Rowan Jacqueline, 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. This will also create foundation to continue to track and record development of original projects from conception through to performance.
- ONE YEAR'S WORK
This Crowdfunder runs from 22nd November and will complete on 21st January, 2021. A course is then set for an entire years work within the context of research and development (R+D). Focus will fall intensively on film-making and writing, while the elements of book of poems and CEEPR are natural by-products and their creation weaves easily over the course of the year. At the end of 2021, all 3 elements are due to release to a wider audience to work-share in Cornwall + London, before moving into phase 2 for a further years work to focus on actualisation and production. Please note: This Crowdfunder supports phase 1 (R+D).
WHO WE ARE
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.
THE SOLO SCHOOL + HENRY McGRATH
THE SOLO SCHOOL is designed to offer individual artists a way into their creative worlds to develop a unique approach into the rich territory of working alone, and is facilitated by 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 and graduated with a Film BA in 2020. She shot and directed RAW, which was screened at the FIRST TIME FILMMAKER SESSIONS FESTIVAL, as well as the OFFSHOOT GALLERY in 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 later awarded funding from Screen Cornwall and is in the process of being made this year.
As a research based practice, Spiderflower is concerned with bridging the intelligent relationship between body and earth. Its purpose is to create original works devoted to the progressive inquiry of the phenomenal relationship between the natural world, and us, as a human race through the expressive arts.
An inclusive ethos has been the backbone of Spiderflower's development and delivery, resulting in a wide repertoire of courses for actors, creatives and open sessions offered in the UK and overseas over many years.
20 YEARS + PROGRESSION
While the root of this work rests within theatre, audience inclusion has focused on courses and training for a number of years. In crossing the 20 year threshold, along with navigating 2020 and all this mind-bending year has delivered, a shift to prioritise performance has taken place in order to make this very beautiful body of work more accessible to a wider audience.
NOW + CONCEPTION
This crowdfunding campaign has been in preparation for around a year, with a pre-covid and post-covid stage. Spiderflower's original Crowdfunder was due to launch in February 2020, and was set to support the creation of a sequence of short films as an introduction to Spiderflower. As lockdown came in, a decision was taken to pause. Somehow . . . this became a blessing, as deeper layers often emerge from a place of stillness.
During lockdown, I had the great fortune to stumble upon the work of The Solo School headed by Henry McGrath, which I joined, embarking upon an intense process of artistic reflection around my own practice, along with all we, as a species, are facing at this time.
Through this period of exploration, A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE was conceived. As it took shape, the choice to move ahead with the project was made on the strength of reaction from those sitting as audience, with a common consensus this felt like a necessary and important artistic path to take - particularly right now.
A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE continues to work in collaboration with THE SOLO SCHOOL. It is our deep hope the project and all it delivers will offer a meaningful, inspirational and relevant experience for our audience.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY + FUNDING
This will be the first time Spiderflower is appealing for significant funding. To date, Spiderflower has been mostly self-sufficient in its work. Our champions have been The Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust who have made several contributions specifically for photography and film, alongside Access 2 Finance in 2019. However, the standards we want to achieve with A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE simply cannot be done without your support.
THIS CROWDFUNDER + REWARDS
This Crowdfunder is not just about asking for your help. Equally as important, the campaign has been carefully thought through to offer:
- AUDIENCE INCLUSION: An inclusive and experiential structure for contributors who would like to step inside the creative process as audience during the making of A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE.
- ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTMENT: In line with Spiderflower's ethos and the spirit of this project, rewards aim to remain mindful of their environmental impact.
- LEGACY REWARDS: Seek to offer contributors a personalised way to leave their own or a loved ones legacy within the project.
- MEMBERSHIP SCHEME: As Spiderflower pivots into new ways of working to remain Covid safe - yet still reach its audience, this Crowdfunder is also acting as a springboard to launch an ongoing MEMBERSHIP SCHEME.
- HELLO!: Last, but not least - it's a great opportunity to introduce Spiderflower's work to newcomers and say 'Hello!'.
THE PROJECT IN DETAIL
A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE
Following a progressive journey over the course of a year, 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 push the boundaries of the 'norm', 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. If we are truly going to open up and observe, in fine detail, the nuanced relationship between human and earth in an unobstructed way, it is necessary to find a way to travel the audience into these worlds.
- 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. Allowing ourselves to enter deep time, allows us to step inside and experience that world, and yet - it is still our world. Here we bear witness to the human form in this context, and in turn - evokes the questions - How might we then experience ourselves? Who and what are we really? What might we see in the reflections given?
- SLOW CINEMA: As we travel through deep time, we, as humans must adapt to follow its rhythms. Watching through the lends of SLOW CINEMA gives to this process. To stay close, we need to drop out of fast moving cinema - and simply watch through the steady, patient gaze of a still frame. Slow cinema sees in a different way. Simple and uncluttered, it heightens detail inside natural dialogue which we might ordinarily miss. It speaks to us, and through us in a language we are not used to - but is innate.
- THE PERFORMANCE PROCESS: Follows as it unfolds. At this stage 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, and it is important I do not know what will emerge. Absolutely everything in terms of choreography has to be drawn directly through and out of a direct dialogue between human 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, and as we move into the spoken word, this is another form of translation to be wove with deep care into the emergent story.
- FILMING: In the most practical sense, the performance process means that I as performer need to spend hours on the land. It is not a process where you can plan a days work and go grab it on film. 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: Is to be wove into the piece with the upmost care, and will take place in phase 2 (2022 - within actualisation and production). After a long time searching - the music of Nils Frahm, Ben Lukas Boysen along with Max Richter has been mooted for A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE. The music from these genii is exquisite in every way, it is by no means inexpensive - to bring the filmic project into the intended arena of expression this is the bar we would like to reach. It is not a definite, and will depend on funds at the end of the day.
- DOCUMENTARY, INTERVIEWS + PERSPECTIVE: The entire creative process will be documented via film and in writing, ready to move over to CEEPR as a resource. So many questions sit within the entire journey of the piece, another of them being: 'How well do we really understand grief as an emotion?' In western culture, it is more often suppressed, and so part of my research will be to seek out different cultural perspectives around the nature of grief. This element will also contribute to the overall piece, and as a spider sees through all eight eyes, broadens the perspective through which we see.
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE PROJECT?
A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE is designed for an audience of 18+, due to the fact it may be addressing challenging material.
Spiderflower's community is made of deep thinkers, change makers, creatives and pioneers in every sense.
- 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.
- 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.
- On another, humanistic level, as a vessel of reflection - it can also serve those who are grieving at this time. It is, in this sense, for everyone that this may belong to - as an offering, a balm to help move through what can sometimes feel like an endless journey.
AUDIENCE INCLUSION + DELIVERY
As the most important element of this piece, audience inclusion is as vital for A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE, as it has been for any other piece of work for Spiderflower.
- AUDIENCE INCLUSION VIA REWARDS + MEMBERSHIP: During the making of the films, there is the opportunity for a small audience to step inside the experience via this Crowdfunding campaign to offer a years experiential journey within the project.
- FILM RELEASE: Winter Solstice 2021 culminates in a full cycle of the completion and release of 6 short films that make A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE as a whole. Films will be shown in a work-share as work in progress, in both Cornwall and London, then move into a second phase and further year cycle (2022) where we focus on actualisation and production.
- BOOK OF POEMS + CEEPR: Will release as literature and resources in December 2021.
- FILM FESTIVALS: Upon completion of phase 2, film festivals are the next stop, and then onward to see what is the best way to take this work forward into the world.
- COURSES: Specially developed courses will accompany the release of A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE over December 2021 and January 2022, and will be made available to actors, creatives and offer open sessions.
HOW WILL YOUR MONEY BE SPENT?
Funding gathered through this Crowdfunder aims to support a year's work, to cover:
R+D / pre-production in film, alongside concurrent writing and publication costs of book and CEEPR.
The budget for shooting is actually quite low as the team is small and is mostly shot on the land. The most precious resource is the time needed to authentically follow Spiderflower's creative process through, most money raised will go to support creative artists along with necessary insurances, venue hire and running costs.
To achieve the quality of A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE as we really want it, the total budget for phase 1 sits at £30,000.
Applications are currently being made to other funding bodies, so, taking into account independent earnings and other bids, a sliding scale has been developed were we have included a minimal case scenario and maximum case scenario for the funds we need to raise for phase 1.
- £7,500 is a squeaky, shoestring budget - no frills whatsoever - but it can be done.
- £15,000 is a much more breathable budget, allowing for all creatives to be paid fully.
Phase 2 will concentrate on the placement of music once a strong canvas is in place, raising funds for composers along with all production and post-production costs.
Obviously, the more funding found - then the better supported the project will be, and in turn, we can deliver the highest quality. Getting to a final figure has been a tough call - as we also have to consider how contributors and funding bodies are effected by Covid-19. Which means finance is nowhere near as fluid.
So, we are going for a baseline of £7,500 for this Crowdfunder - the most important thing is A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE makes that journey and this will clinch it. Our stretch target for this Crowdfunder rolls to £15,000. It feels this numerical arc keeps feet on the ground and is realistic.
Additional funding and income from other sources would then contribute to that total, and hopefully take the final amount raised to £30,000.
VISION + GOING FORWARD
2022 - LIVE INTER-DISCIPLINARY PERFORMANCE
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 deeply 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 more included in an experiential way in the piece. Venues are, at this stage, TBA.
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 that through collaboration, we can co-create with you as audience and contributors, and 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.
If you would like to follow the journey as this Crowdfunder progresses, have access to further info - please join the group page for A PECULIAR SHADE OF BLUE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/429287201398353
**NOTES ON REWARDS:
- DELIVERY ON MERCHANDISE: T-shirts and hoodies go to order as this Crowdfunder closes. Please allow 28 days for delivery.