“Sometimes you can be in a room full of people, but still feel like you’re alone. Sometimes being alone is the best feeling in the world. Sometimes loneliness is the most painful experience you can ever live through,” Karen Bartholomew co-creator of ‘a little space‘ and Associate Artist in Dance and Engagement at Mind the Gap explains.
In an incredible coup for Dancin’ Oxford, Mind the Gap Theatre Company have collaborated with Gecko Theatre, renowned for their work with The Chemical Brothers, in this first time collaboration coming to Oxford Playhouse.
The result is an hour of physical theatre with little dialogue and a great soundscape.
It involves inclusive dance company Mind The Gap, which champions excellence in work made by people with learning disabilities and raising aspirations about what LD artists can achieve and Gecko, an award-winning and internationally-acclaimed physical theatre company.
Their collaboration, according to Karen Bartholomew co-creator of ‘a little space‘, “has become one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever had the chance to work on.”
Karen adds: “‘a little space‘ is set in an extraordinary world where things aren’t always as they seem. The five performers explore the idea of being alone, these very ordinary feelings that we have all experienced, and show us that no matter how it feels, we’re never really alone.”
So why does it work so well? “In many ways our ethos as companies are very similar; it’s about seeing lived human experience on a stage in front of you, and it’s about audiences seeing themselves reflected on stage,” she adds.
“We explore this in different ways, not least because Mind the Gap has primarily created theatre for performance. A departure into the more physical world through this co-production has taught us how else we can explore this kind of storytelling and representation. It’s about bringing together what both companies are passionate about.”
What have been the biggest challenges? “In the Gecko world, you have to be bold. I suppose that’s something that doesn’t always come naturally to me, but it’s a sure-fire way to get the most out of a process. Making bold choices creates great art and that’s what we’re here to do!
“On a company level, I don’t think we’ve ever done a collaboration of this scale, and it’s really interesting to learn how many people are needed to pull it off! Everyone involved has played such a vital role and it’s been a great learning experience to discover more about all the other roles that are so unbelievably important when planning, creating and touring a new show.
Dan Watson of Gecko Theatre agrees: “The performers from Mind the Gap have been so hungry to dive in and work in a way that is very different.
“We were fully prepared to have to radically adapt what we know as a Gecko process, but the Mind the Gap performers and creatives just kept raising the bar so we had to bring more of ourselves to meet them – to keep up with them!
“It’s been ridiculously brilliant to get to know the performers and creatives at Mind the Gap. As a result, the show now does justice to the ambitions and talents of the performers and creatives involved.
A LITTLE SPACE is at Oxford Playhouse from Tues 3 – Wed 4 March.
For further details on Dancin’ Oxford go to https://www.dancinoxford.co.uk