On the 4th of September Stuart went along to Budapest for the first annual meeting of the Platform 11+ theatre project, working as a partner to Pilot Theatre – a York theatre company that is based in York’s Theatre Royal.

Budapest was our first time working closely with Pilot Theatre and it is a massive privilege to have been asked to get involved in the project. Our role as visual artists for Pilot will involve working closely with the playwright Richard Hurford and director Katie Posner; designing sets and interactive scenery – weaving technology into the production.

The Company

Marcus Romer, Artistic Director of Pilot is a great inspiration – always keen to discuss new ideas, technology, and theories as well as being incredible fun to work with. He is excited by advances in social and web technologies and as proved at the recent Shift Happens 2.0 conference has great visions of possible developments in theatre performance and production.

Audience

Platform 11+ is a EU funded project with 13 countries involved:

Divadlo Alfa Pilsen – Czech Republic
VAT Teater Tallinn – Estonia
Oulun Kaupungin Teatteri Oulu – Finland
Theater Junge Generation Dresden – Germany
Kolibri Theater for Children and Youth Budapest – Hungary
Elsinor Teatro Stabile di Innovazione Milan, Florence, Forli – Italy
Theater de Citadel Groningen – The Netherlands
Brageteatret Drammen – Norway
Teatro O Bando Palmela – Portugal
Theatre Institute Bratislava – Slovakia
Junges Schauspielhaus / Jetzt & Co Zurich – Switzerland
Pilot Theatre Company York – United Kingdom
Emergency Exit Arts London – United Kingdom
University of Agder Kristiansand – Norway

As well as one company from South America:

ATINA Buenos Aires – Argentina

This first meeting was an introduction of all members to each other and the project’s wider intentions as a whole. The project is due to run for 4 years, with new plays being written in new collaborations between different countries.

Extracts or summaries of each play will be read or performed to audiences in all 11 countries across Europe, with summaries being provided for each in English. There are a number of phases to the project  including the chance to create an art installation linked to the theatre performances. This is planned for June 2010 and looks set to be an incredible opportunity to create an art installation.

Marko - Finnish Performer

Marko - Finnish Performer

One of the events that occurred in Budapest was Schoolyard Crossing – a multidisciplinary art and performance event that took place in a primary school’s yard. It was incredible to see 300+ young children interacting with so many different performers at the same time – what may have seemed like anarchy on the outside was in fact organised play-learning and an amazing experience for all of the children involved. As a result of this schoolyard crossing, the children will now create artworks and plays in response to what they experienced. See here for more pictures of the event.

Lachlan - UK Performer

Lachlan - UK Performer

This is the core element of the project – trying to inspire children to get involved in the art of theatre, drama and learning through their playing experiences. I certainly value the power of theatre and what profound effect is has had on my life since the first time I got on stage at school at the age of 11. The process of learning lines, developing a character, getting into that character and understanding a performance is all hugely valuable stuff to be doing as a young person; let alone the adrenaline rush of performing to an audience!

Platform 11+ Ning Site

Platform 11+ Ning Site

There is an official website for the project here – that gives a little more official information about the project. Marcus Romer has also set up a ning site for the participants to upload content and discuss the project as it unfolds over the next four years – keep an eye out to see the creative process in action.

Budapest was a beautiful city to host the first annual meeting with the Minister for Education and Culture in Hungary greeting us for a reception on the first night.  A great thank you goes to the hosts, Kolibri Theatre as well as all of the Platform 11+ team for putting together a great schedule for the coming years.