What drew you to each other’s practice?
Despite the indisputable challenges of lockdown, the artistic community that we are both a part of carried on finding innovative and new ways to collaborate. Having the opportunity to meet and work together was a highlight in an otherwise difficult and unpredictable time professionally. We worked together only very briefly but long enough to realise that we had a shared ethos for both the type of work we wanted to make and the way we wished to work, alongside a genuine curiosity in each other’s artforms and what we could learn from one another.
How will you use the 1:1 FUND?
The 1:1 FUND will be solely spent on our time and the majority of this on collaborating, four days will be spent together and a day each of individual research and material generation. This will give us the time and space to; think about narrative threads, discuss and explore the world of the piece, test ways that our work and process could complement each other and play with potential forms for the work. We’ve already discussed how we might share in each other’s practice, collaborative ways of working we would like to experiment with and the themes we’re hoping to explore and we can’t wait to get started.
Why did you choose the idea you will be working on?
We chose the idea of collaborating on the creation of a musical for two reasons. Firstly, it’s an artform both of us enjoy but have little experience in creating, offering balance in terms of the creative risk we are both undertaking. Secondly, we feel the inherent flexibility and the opportunity for social commentary within the art form both lend themselves well to this collaborative opportunity and our interests as creatives.
We both enjoy and are inspired to make work that is entertaining but also socially relevant, work that has a heart. Kindness is a key element of our practice within communities and working with other artists and something we have talked a great deal about in the difficult 18 months of the pandemic. Because of this, we wanted to explore how kindness could be explored as a central theme in a story and how one person’s small act of kindness can be a catalyst for others. We’re also really interested in what happens when different art forms and genres come together – not just in terms of our individual practice, but in exploring the idea of a sci-fi, dystopian musical.
What is the one thing you most hope to gain from undertaking this work?
What’s so inspiring for us about the 1:1 FUND is the focus on process rather than product. Although we envisage that some material will be generated through this time, what we hope to gain most of all is a shared language and way of working. This invaluable time will allow us to get ‘under the skin’ of each other’s creative process and find a space between which is fertile, collaborative and synergistic, creating a solid foundation for us to develop the project further in the future.
Bridie Jackson is a musician based in Newcastle. As a songwriter, Bridie has written for Theatre, Opera and Film, and has a passion for socially engaged projects, which has led to her working collaboratively with a range of North East arts organisations, including Theatre Hullaballoo, Sage Gateshead and Queens Hall Arts. Bridie is currently collaborating with visual artist Bethan Maddocks on a commission for Museums Northumberland which includes the creation of a large- scale installation inspired by bees and the traditions of bee keeping, where the audience are encouraged to reflect and explore ideas of bee keeping, collective working, community and environment. As part of this, Bridie is creating an immersive musical soundscape, involving singing, natural sound effects and interviews with beekeepers, environmentalists and activists.
Becci Sharrock is a writer, theatre-maker and creative producer, based in Gateshead and working across the North East and beyond. She specializes in new writing, artist development, support and mentoring and participatory projects. Her socially engaged practice has seen her create short stories and poetry inspired by living legends in Corby; develop and tour her theatre show Letters to Myself following 6 months of public engagement in Sunderland and South Shields; and undertake a 10 month Leverhulme Trust funded residency at Beamish Museum, exploring the archives and engaging with staff, visitors and local communities. She’s worked with a diverse range of organisations and artists including Live Theatre, Northern Stage, Theatre Hullabaloo, Sunderland Culture, Precious Cargo, Made With Many and Théâtre Sans Frontières. She is currently adapting The Secret Garden for the stage, exploring invisible disabilities, isolation and grief. The production will be created with artists with a range of lived experiences of fatigue conditions and will reimagine the creative process, including a longer, low intensity rehearsal process, paid rest days and additional multi-role cast members to manage energy levels across performances.