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Posts Tagged ‘traveling’

Photo: Kerry Jones.
Artist Kerry Jones turned her old trailer into one of the smallest cinemas in the UK.

Today we have another idea on taking what you have and turning it into something that can delight others.

“Until fairly recently,” writes the BBC, “Kerry Jones’s caravan lay rotting and forgotten about in her garden in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders — a home for discarded bric-a-brac.

“But during the Covid-19 lockdown, the artist and filmmaker saw new potential in the 1980s Swift Pirouette, and resolved to turn it into a tiny, traveling cinema. With a maximum of eight seats, it could be one of the smallest cinemas in the UK.

” ‘It isn’t the first cinema caravan to exist,’ said Kerry. ‘There was one over in Dumfries and Galloway that a friend of mine made at the beginning of the 2000s, that was really inspiring. I’m really interested in projects that involve people out in your community.’ …

“Over the pandemic, Kerry secured a bursary [grant] from the Alchemy Film and Arts charity based in nearby Hawick as part of a local arts program running between July 2021 and December 2023. She used it to renovate the caravan inside and out, swapping the retro mint paneling for a bright red that could be seen for miles. … Inside, she plans to install between six and eight seats, again in a plush, cinematic red fabric.

“Speaking to Mornings with Stephen Jardine, she said: ‘[I’ve] had it for 12 years — it’s been out and about, it’s been used for people to stay, it’s been a spare room. But over the last few years, but it’s just been one of those spaces that you put things in and forget about.’

“Kerry’s caravan cinema project — named Moving Images — [made] its debut at Hawick’s Alchemy Film Festival on 28 April, screening nine short films all made by people in the south of Scotland.

“It comes at a time when Scotland has lost one of its smallest cinemas — the Schoolhouse Cinema in Shetland. This 20-seat cinema, run by local magician Chris Harris, was put up for auction in 2020 after he decided to leave the islands.

“Around the same time another tiny theater opened in the Highland village of Cromarty — a 35-seat facility that took two years to come to fruition.

“Kerry aims to cater for an even more intimate experience, and will be using a small portable projector to save on power without sacrificing picture quality.

“The caravan itself is solar powered, but Kerry said she will borrow a high-quality battery as back-up until she can crowdfund her own.

“Any spare cash will then be put towards taking the caravan on the road — possibly for a tour of free screenings and running filmmaking workshops at local primary schools.

“Kerry added: ‘It’s going to be really adaptable. Selkirk’s market square have said they’d be quite interested in having the caravan there. I’d love to take it out to some of the more rural areas like Duns and Gordon.

” ‘We’re also going to work with a group called Connecting Threads and they’re doing lots of projects along the Tweed [river] — I’d love to see it there, that would be quite magical.’ “

There’s more to read at the artist’s website. “As part of The Teviot, the Flag and the Rich, Rich Soil, our programme exploring the pasts, presents and futures of Hawick and the Scottish Borders and investigating the town and wider region’s cultural identities in relation to land, water, industry, territory, place and environment, Alchemy is offering a number of bursaries to Borders-based artists. These bursaries will support a range of community-oriented projects between July 2021 and December 2023.”

More at the BBC, here, and Jones’s website, Alchemy Film and Arts, here.

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Photo: Anupan Nath/AP.
Actors in Awahan mobile theater group perform in a village near Guwahati, India, after a two-year hiatus because of Covid.

So many activities got suspended during Covid, and many workers wondered if they would still have a job when the world reopened. That was true for everyone from servers in struggling US restaurants to actors in rural India.

In April, Al-Jazeera posted about a traveling theater in India that, to everyone’s relief, is reemerging after two years.

“Traveling theater groups in India’s northeastern state of Assam are reviving the local art and culture scene after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a pause in their performances for nearly two years.

“Seven roving theater companies are back on stage playing before crowds in villages, towns and cities across the state. These mobile theaters are among the most popular forms of local entertainment.

“ ‘The public response has been very good. They love live performances. We have no competition from television and the digital boom,’ said Prastuti Parashar, a top Assamese actress who owns the Awahan Theatre group.

“Before the coronavirus hit the region, about 50 theater groups, each involving 120 to 150 people, performed throughout the state. They would start in September, coinciding with major Hindu festivals such as Durga Puja and Diwali, and continue until April. …

“Drama is an integral part of Indian culture and the mobile theater groups do not restrict themselves to mythological and social themes. They have in the past covered classic Greek tragedies, Shakespearean tales and historical subjects like the sinking of the Titanic, Lady Diana and the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.

“The groups travel with directors, actors, dancers, singers, technicians, drivers and cooks, in addition to all the stage infrastructure to perform three shows in one place before moving on to the next makeshift venue.”

For a bit more background, let’s turn to the Encyclopedia Britannica, which states that “Indian theater is often considered the oldest in Asia, having developed its dance and drama by the 8th century BCE [Before Common Era]. According to Hindu holy books, the gods fought the demons before the world was created, and the god Brahmā asked the gods to reenact the battle among themselves for their own entertainment. Once again the demons were defeated, this time by being beaten with a flagstaff by one of the gods. To protect theater from demons in the future, a pavilion was built, and in many places in India today a flagstaff next to the stage marks the location of performances.

“According to myth, Brahmā ordered that dance and drama be combined; certainly the words for ‘dance’ and ‘drama’ are the same in all Indian dialects. Early in Indian drama, however, dance began to dominate the theater. By the beginning of the 20th century there were few performances of plays, though there were myriad dance recitals. It was not until political independence in 1947 that India started to redevelop the dramatic theater. …

“Classical Indian drama had as its elements poetry, music, and dance, with the sound of the words assuming more importance than the action or the narrative; therefore, staging was basically the enactment of poetry.

“The reason that the productions, in which scenes apparently follow an arbitrary order, seem formless to Westerners is that playwrights use much simile and metaphor. Because of the importance of the poetic line, a significant character is the storyteller or narrator, who is still found in most Asian drama. In Sanskrit drama the narrator was the sūtra-dhāra, ‘the string holder,’ who set the scene and interpreted the actors’ moods. Another function was performed by the narrator in regions in which the aristocratic vocabulary and syntax used by the main characters, the gods and the nobles, was not understood by the majority of the audience. The narrator operated first through the use of pantomime and later through comedy.

“A new Indian theater that began about 1800 was a direct result of British colonization. With the addition of dance interludes and other Indian aesthetic features, modern India has developed a national drama.

“Two examples of ‘new’ theater staging are the Prithvi Theatre and the Indian National Theatre. The Prithvi Theatre, a Hindi touring company founded in 1943, utilizes dance sequences, incidental music, frequent set changes, and extravagant movement and color. The Indian National Theatre, founded in Bombay in the 1950s, performs for audiences throughout India, in factories and on farms. Its themes usually involve a national problem, such as the lack of food, and the troupe’s style is a mixture of pantomime and simple dialogue. It uses a truck to haul properties, costumes, and actors; there is no scenery.”

Great traveling-theater pictures at Al-Jazeera, here. More detailed information at Britannica, here. No firewalls.

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