GDIF’s Associate Director Nathan Curry on ‘Word on the Street’:
In 2012 we launched a new programme of work within GDIF – ‘Word on the Street’ – this was a group of companies that were using text, playwriting or with a strong dramaturgical focus within their outdoor theatre work. We were looking at the other end of the theatre spectrum from juggling and acrobats.
Having spent two years as Associate Director of The Bush Theatre before joining GDIF I have a real passion for new writing and particularly new plays that articulate vital discussions in contemporary society- I have always found plays that speak directly about the world around them to be electrifying.
For me outdoor theatre, by its very nature, does the same thing – it may not (usually) be articulating a narrative of contemporary Britain but it’s free to access and in the street – so therefore becomes part of the world around it.
I attempted to put these two passions, new writing and outdoor theatre, together in the aptly named ‘Word on the Street’ programme, which debuted at GDIF2012. We teamed Bryony Lavery with 11:18 Productions to make psycho geography drama on a train, High Hearted Theatre promenaded our audience through Greenwich with stories of St Alfege churchyard and Inua Ellams spoke of the fault lines that pepper the city, performed in a riverside basketball court.
Coupled with this we teamed up with Lyric Hammersmith, Watford Palace Theatre and Latitude Festival to programme 5 emerging theatre companies making work with a strong storytelling focus to tour to four UK locations – Les Enfants Terribles, Tangled Feet, Rash Dash, Curious Directive and Nabokov created some of the freshest work seen in the outdoor theatre sector in recent years.
GDIF2012’s ‘Word on the Street’ really left its mark with the work demonstrating a desire by some of the UK’s most innovative companies to have vital conversations in public spaces.
So what’s next in 2013? We’ve teamed up with the Lyric, Watford and Latitude once more and have some returning companies from 2012 mixed with companies making their first forays into outdoor theatre.
We’re also really excited to be working with Uninvited Guests and Inspector Sands, two of the most original theatre makers in the UK, whom are both making pieces inspired by the local area and community.
Also on the agenda is some serious political work by a group of international globetrotters (currently playing Off-Broadway in New York) – can’t quite announce their name yet but watch this space for details….
Associate Director GDIF