Mining for gold - how shows and projects get made.
I'm often asked where we get the ideas for the shows and projects I create. I wish the truth was that I came up with them all on my own, I like the idea of being a creative genius locked away in a studio.
But the truth is I "dig" for ideas by working with very small children like a miner working at the coalface looking for precious stones.
In the same way that a comedian writes reams of words looking for the amazing jokes within it's pages; the nugget of gold, I create hundreds of moments of dance with babies and toddlers (and their adults) looking for that idea which is genius. And I certainly know when I've found it because everyone in the room has one of three responses:
- They fall about laughing
- The make "whhhhoooooaaaa" sounds
- They do what I call the "discovery stare" where you just look at each other in a trance like state
And the beauty of working with children is that there's plenty of these moments to be had.
In the same way that a comedian tries his or her material out again and again with a willing audience until they fully understand the possible permeatations of each potential interaction, so do I.
What children find fascinating, I build on.
I then use each nugget of pure genius from the mouths and hands of very young children as the basis for the next stage of development. I then start all over again re-presenting that idea which then grows based on the response of the next group of children. And so on and so on.
Take a sponge and a bucket for example... just an ordinary square household sponge and an ordinary plastic "trug" bucket. We adults see items for work (cleaning and storing), but children see....
A hiding place
A tall tower
There's a trend going round entrepreneurs at the moment called "The ASK" The ASK Method is simply: Asking People What They Want and Then Giving it to Them. When I am making a new project or show I don't assume I know what children want. I go out and ask them what fascinates them.
I love that fact that you can see the children ideas in everything I make. There isn't a single child who hasn't been able to contribute to the development of the work.
We really are born creative....