Sketch gave five individuals and one duo, the opportunity to research a new artistic idea over 8 months through dramaturgy workshops, studio space and peer support meetings. The artist as well as two observers and the artistic team at Yorkshire Dance worked with renowned dance dramaturg Peggy Olisaegers over a total of 4 days in the studio. Alongside these intensive workshop days the artists also met with Independent Producer Richard Sobey who facilitated regular meetings that focussed on various topics such as how to talk about your work and finding the right audience and venue for your work.
What Peggy provided was a magnifying glass for the artists to hold over their work and really inspect it and explode its potential, both on their own and by inviting others into their ‘desired process’. The saying ‘the devil is in the detail’ is definitely true as far as Peggy is concerned and the range of tools she provided allowed us to really interrogate the various works we were seeing.
Richard provided a sounding board as well as offered initiative ideas for how we could approach subjects like ‘how do we talk about ourselves and our work’.
Initial findings indicate Sketch has been a hugely effective and successful programme which has left the full Sketch team re-inspired and chomping at the bit to continue to work. The artists worked really hard and the progress of the 6 projects was exciting with some really excellent performance outcomes already leading to further development and investment.
Two of the artists were also given the opportunity to perform their work as part of the Friday Firsts programme at Yorkshire Dance. The evening was described as a Live Workshop and Peggy stopped and changed their work as the artists performed.This was a fantastic experience for both the audience and the artists involvement in the project.
“Sketch has given me the opportunity to delve into my own work and come out the better for it. Working with Peggy and Richard has been a great experience and I’ve come out the other side with a tonne of information to aid my future practice. I’m looking forward to seeing where I can now take the work creatively.”
– Jamaal Burkmar, Sketch artist
As an aspiring producer, attending Peggy’s workshop has given me an inspiring insight into dramaturgy. The three day intensive workshop was fun and collaborative. I was made to look deeply into the impact of the audience and how they read performance. I feel like this workshop furthered my own study of the role of the producer within artists work. Peggy has made an impact on the way in which I approach reading work. I now think that I can work alongside artists to provide a viewpoint, having in mind what the audience might read from the work. This skill will then allow me to work with the artist intensively to decide on the next steps of the project, including target audience, marketing etc. Peggy was forceful in her approach to understanding dramaturgy but she was playful, funny and she valued the opinions of both the audience and the artist. She formed a gateway between the two – allowing a platform for dialogue, and then pointed out what we were experiencing in the moment. We should encourage more conversations like these within the arts, and not just between the artists within R&D processes but with the producers, facilitators and venues.
– Melanie Purdie, BBC Performing Arts Fund Junior Producer at Yorkshire Dance and West Yorkshire Playhouse