Emerge Festival Blog – No. 1 By Namiwa Jazz

Emerge Festival Blog – No. 1 By Namwia Jazz

Where to begin:

Emerge 2019 has been off to a great start, for the majority of term 1 have been working with Sheffield Ormiston Academy, so far we have had 13 sessions running 3-5pm on Wednesdays.
One of my approaches to planning the sessions was to create fun/ creative workshops with clear aims and objectives.

Each workshop I have planned and delivered has had a key performance output at the end of every session where the group performed back a new piece or an evolved piece of work they are already working on, back to the group, at times we have set up the stage and lighting at the schools give a real performance atmosphere working toward the big festival performance day. It’s great to see the group develop and work on new ideas around Shakespeare’s many scenes of love. Through creating, individuals are begin developing their own understanding of Shakespeare, who he was and what his works are all about. They are creating work inspired by Shakespeare, in line with our festival Theme: Love is Not a straight line.

About the sessions:

I love my group! They are so amazing and all have unique personalities that shine through more and more each week. We begin most sessions with a debrief and catch up about festival plans and updates as well as just finding out how there week or holidays have been. After that we tend to remain as a whole group and go into ice breaker games. A variety of games played are selected by the group from my games handbook, the group particularly like doctor doctor and Shakespeare’s footsteps and adaptation of Grandma’s footsteps, if there is time we would split off for games that includes smaller numbers.

For the latter part of most sessions the group have been in their individual performance groups creating new work supported by me in different ways. There is immense talent amongst the group, performance confidence levels are growing weekly, they continue to take more ownership of the festival and their own creative work.

Inspired by the training session with Ben Spiller from Nonsuch theatre company based in Nottingham I wanted to book him to deliver a session with my group. A session was delivered before October half term and reports from the group and from then Ben was that they had an enjoyable session and they found it very insightful.

Plan, plan, plan:

The group have lots of plans around what they want this festival to be like. Some of their ideas are developments from what they did last year, especially in relation to using multiple locations and some of the stalls at the event. As we go through the sessions new ideas are still being brought forward to sessions.

The group have had full control up until this point but now the second lab is about to be introduced into the program, it will be interesting to see how ideas merge and how both groups will work together to share the responsibility of the festival budget and festival day itself and the creativity behind it.
It’s always good to get a head with planning, it’s been great to have the opportunity for training and problem-solving issues through the group training sessions with the rest of the Emerge Artists in both Birmingham and Leicester. It’s been a lovely experience travelling to Leicester and even staying over on one occasion.

Licencing and Risk Assessment are my main focus points  at the moment as there are some form deadlines that take a few weeks to respond and time is of the essence. The last training session was a great refresher, and this project is on track with licensing all deadlines.

Things that didn’t go to plan:
During the first few weeks Emerge, the second lab she was led by Debra Slade, form Creative Factory but due to unforeseen circumstances, Debra left the Emerge program and this left me only working with one lab, which was Sheffield Ormiston Academy. The school and I had already connected through training and I felt that we we’re still able to move forward with the project.

In the mean-time there was communications with TMC for the solution and I felt supported by the organisation to see though this 1st hurdle. It did take a bit of time to resolve a solution and place a second lab for Walsall. However, as a team we came together and have now recruited is second group, made up of, students from Walsall schools and additional needs learning centres  from across the Walsall based from connections with Sherffield Ormiston Academy.
Despite this unplanned start to emerge, Walsall have taken off and created lots of new, original and creative work to showcase, it’s been incredibly exciting to watch, nurture and envelop these young people in the weekly sessions.

As term 2 begins in January, I am looking forward to meeting the second lab participants, supporting the groups to creative work that they are proud of and that reflects the festival aims, ethos and themes and finalising the festival flyer (designed and approved by the groups).

I am dedicated and committed to this project, my health condition sometimes leaves me feeling extremely fatigued and unable to operate at my optimum level, especially when I’m in a flare up or I have more severe chronic symptoms which disable me from being able to work and use the screen for long periods of time. Unfortunately, towards the end of the year I fell ill around December and had to take a few weeks out to get my health back on track. I was still able to make sessions in the school, but I wasn’t able to put in as much time as I wanted to some areas of admin. I feel well and in good health at the moment and I’m looking forward to the coming weeks and months on Emerge.
Thanks for readying, stay tuned!

Kindest Regards
Namiwa Jazz