Tag Archives: Deptford

The Penguin in the Room

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This week we opened our doors to Dep Arts and Slung Low for unique family treat Emergency Story Penguin on Wednesday 22 April until this Sunday 26 April. This exciting, interactive family adventure starts in the foyer, takes you on a submarine, out into Antarctica, back onto the submarine and hopefully, if you’ve managed to power the submarine well enough, back home safe and sound with a penguin that you’ve rescued. Sounds exciting, right? We decided to test this theory by inviting two local primary schools in to be the first to go on this adventure. Our Marketing Assistant, Rachel McCall, lets us know how it all went down.

Wednesday saw two classes from Invicta Primary School come in for the first of two days of staff-led workshops and an exclusive showing of Emergency Story Penguin. Now I won’t lie to you here, myself and the rest of the team doing to the workshops were a little nervous, we were about to be swarmed by 60 five to six year olds, this is enough to put the fear in anyone who has made the conscious decision not to work as a teacher, but non-the-less we had done our prep, had a couple of coffees and we’re hyped up to go. The students arrived absolutely buzzing with infectious energy and within five minutes we were totally hooked on working with them. We took them on a tour around the back stage of the theatre, gave them a go at radioing the technicians and cuing the lights and sound effects, asked them to make their own play, and tested their theatre knowledge (which was impressively advanced). They then went to see the play, and we met them hour later to see how it had gone, the feedback was a thrilling mixture of ‘YAY’, ‘awesome’ and ‘that was so cool’; we’d call that a success!

And so Thursday morning dawned, and us weary work-shoppers dragged our aching bodies out of bed and into the Albany just in time to prep for the next school, St Winifred’s RC Infant School, who arrived with 60 new excited students. Once all florescent vests had been piled in a corner, we got down another day of workshops, theatre tours and Emergency Story Penguin shows. By the end of the day we all agreed that, although exhausted, we were sad that we’d only planned two days of schools and that it’s definitely something we’d love to do again.

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Some of the audience feedback from our schools performances.

Rachel McCall, Marketing Assistant, The Albany

There are still three days to catch Emergency Story Penguin. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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Project New Moon, a Chinese New Year Celebration

We’re celebrating Chinese New Year in style at the Albany with Chinese Arts Space’s, Project New Moon. To let us know more about these celebrations, Creative Director David Tse has interviewed some of the artists involved in the show. projectnewmoon Chinese Arts Space Director, David Tse, gathered some of the most cutting-edge Chinese and East Asian artists in the UK to create work based around their creative interpretation of the moon.  He wanted to reflect on the significance China’s historic Chang’e Mission lunar landing in December 2013. He commissioned British composers Ruth Chan and Andy Leung, as well as choreographers Julia Cheng and Quang Kien Van, to make 15 minutes of new work each as part of Project New Moon. Once David had left his four artists to create their work, he decided it was time to check in and see how it was all going.

First up, composer Ruth Chan:ruthchan ‘My new music piece, Moon’s Magmatism, allows me to collaborate with an exciting bunch of international musicians. I was keen to integrate Chinese and Western instruments together, so I am collaborating with a variety of musicians and we play against a video backdrop by Lavin Lee. My starting point was the relationship between the earth and moon, culminating in the crowning achievement of human exploration; landing on the moon. All this inspired me to compose my piece. My music is in three sections, representing a chronology of the moon: its birth and gravitational effects on earth; humanity’s evolving fascination and development of lunar mythologies; and technological advances leading to the Apollo and Chang’e landings.’

Next, David spoke with composer Andy Leung:andyleThe New Cola is loosely inspired by the moon because I wanted to explore modern society’s addiction to the internet and the effect that night-time has upon that. From the moon’s perspective, we can see humanity; the speed and information overload from mass media communication. My music is characterised with eclectic beats, pulsing rhythms and a stroke of jazz drumming as a foundation, decorated with experimental samples, ‘chiptune’ synthesizer and inspired by multiple electronic music sub-genres. Erhu is re-imagined for the 21st century. Armed with a foot-controller effects pedal, the traditional erhu is able to produce a growling bass-line, distorted tone and ‘out-of-this-world’ special effects. I am making this piece a pioneering collaboration, played alongside a punchy video backdrop.’ David then turned his attention to the choreographers.

Next up, Julia Cheng: juliacheng ‘While researching Silver Moon, my female trio of dancers and I explored the areas between the dark and moonlight, between harmony and unrest, where shimmers of each reside and reflect waves of motion. I looked at the elements, the glistening of water rebounding moonlight, whilst exploring the constantly changing faces and phases of being an individual, and the effects and reactions to connections that we make in life.’

Finally, David spoke with Quang Kien Van: wuangv ‘My choreography for Lunar Orbits is a visual poem married to a fantastic piece of new music composed by Philip Feeney. It is a response to the resplendent beauty and deep mystery of the moon. Drawing from ancient myth and modern science, the work ponders notions of deep space and time and our ephemeral existence amongst the stars, amidst the ever-expanding abyss. Throughout my creative process, I have been inspired by a quote from physicist Richard Feynman, ‘Perhaps if more people were willing to live with doubt and uncertainty in their lives, there would be fewer conflicts in the world?’

If this has whet your appetite then don’t miss your opportunity to see exciting new work in Project New Moon on Saturday 21 February, 7.30pm. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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Phenomena: Lulu’s Guide to Love & Physics

luluFrom Thursday 12 – Saturday 14 February, Sounds like Chaos and the Albany present Uncover Theatre’s, Phenomena: A Beginner’s Guide to Love & Physics. To get us in the mood for a journey of discovery, Lulu, one of the young artists, has written about her experience:

I have been with Uncover Theatre Company for nearly six years, joining the group at twelve when it was called Dig Deptford. Throughout this time we have worked together with Sounds like Chaos (Gemma Rowan and Roisin Feeny) to make our performances. At first I can remember being the youngest in the group and what it felt like to be around older teenagers who were all so different, but all of us, regardless of age, ability or who we would hang out with outside the group, shared a love of drama and performance and I felt at home. For the past six years that feeling of home when I’m at Uncover has grown and I have met most of my closest friends there. So for me Uncover has really shaped me as a person and when I’m there I don’t have to be anyone else but me. And I think that this closeness within the group is what makes us and our shows unique.

When I first joined, we produced small scale performances that parents and friends would come and see. The first show we made was performed in the small room we rehearsed in. From there we took part in National Theatre Connections and also performed some of our own devised small scale plays. Through all of this the group found its own identity; we became Uncover Theatre, writing our own plays about young people and performing them as ourselves. We produced Euphoria, performed in the Albany theatre, When it’s Night Time, performed on the roof of Deptford Lounge and at the Southbank Centre. Our current play, Phenomena: A Beginner’s Guide to Love & Physics, will run for three nights in the Albany theatre in February. All three of these plays have our own stamp on them and show the ways young people have fun, fall in love, party, cry and live.

We recently received Arts Council funding for Phenomena, which wasn’t because we’re kids from a bad borough, but because our work is at a professional level. In the past our plays have had an audience mainly made up of family and friends, With this show we wanted to do something new. We feature in the Albany’s main programme alongside other professional artists, because this piece isn’t just for family and friends, but for people who love going to the theatre and watching professional shows, because we’re not ‘just youth theatre’, we’re theatre.

I am also a spoken word artist and I used to dance and play music. As a young performer it can be hard to be taken seriously. But just because we’re young doesn’t mean we don’t know what we’re doing.  We have our own unique ways of viewing the world, with all of its problems and beauties. We don’t just want to be viewed as participants. We are artists in our own respects and we should not be seen as anything less. We have our own energy and language and through our art we can share this. But how do we change people’s perception of youth arts, in my case, youth theatre? It seems that people think of it as plays written for young people and never by them. They think that the level of acting is going to be for parents to be proud of, not for an audience member to be blown away by. They think that youth theatre isn’t something that can be seen as professional, but in my opinion Uncover and so many other groups have proved this wrong.

Check out the trailer for Phenomena here:

Come and watch Uncover’s Phenomena: A Beginner’s Guide to Love & Physics on Thursday 12 – Saturday 14 February 7.30pm at the Albany, and see what youth theatre is really about.

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Louise Orwin finds out if she’s pretty or ugly

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Over the next week actor and live-artist Louise Orwin will be with us for her show Pretty Ugly running Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 February, and to also develop her new show A Girl and a Gun. Exploring the dark world of teenage girls asking people to rate their looks online, Pretty Ugly involves roller-skating, lip-syncing and some alarming statistics. Louise Orwin let’s us know a bit more about it:

In 2013 I became someone else online.  And when I say someone else, I actually mean three people: three teenage girls.

It happened after I came across a specific YouTube trend.  Reader, I dare you: google this now: ‘am I pretty or ugly YouTube’. If you did that, you might understand my immediate horror. If you don’t fancy taking a stroll down into the YouTube gutter, let me explain. This is a YouTube trend in which young girls, largely aged between 8 and 14, post a video of themselves asking viewers to rate their looks. You’d be right to assume its best not to read most of the comments posted below these videos. And there are comments, lots of them. Currently, there are around half a million of these videos on YouTube.

My journey down the YouTube rabbit hole began back in 2012 when I was researching how teenage girls are using the internet, and in particular social media today.

Around that time I was becoming a bit obsessed with the kind of language they use. When I say language, I mean the language of the internet: fashions in fonts and acronyms and video-editing, self-referential memes, and the abyss of circular re-blogging. This was a world of sideways smiley faces; the un-ironic posting of emo video diaries; a world of ‘thinspiration’ sites sitting in the same blogosphere as hello-kitty-fan-blogs; a world where teen suicide videos went viral at the same rate as Justin Bieber’s stratospheric rise to fame.

I was intrigued about how this very specific teenage voice and language was being assimilated into the mainstream, and I began to wonder what it all meant.

Then I came across my first pretty/ugly video. Recoiling in horror, as I watched I had one thought going round my head: ‘WHY?’

I couldn’t stop mentally asking this young girl why she was doing this, and then, I couldn’t stop asking myself whether I would do it. The next step was obvious for me. I wanted to know how it would feel to post a video like this, and what the effect might be. So I devised an experiment. I came up with three generic teenage identities, made some very quick, very lo-fi videos, posted them on YouTube, and sat back to wait for the results.

I won’t tell you the whole story (you can come and see the show for that) but I can tell you it was addictive, and thrilling (in the worst way), and eye-opening. I can tell you my videos attracted a lot of attention, and I can tell you that this journey didn’t end there. The videos were online for a year before I took them down. The show tells the whole story of what happened in that year – from the responses to the video, to the people I met along the way.

I’m so excited that Pretty Ugly is coming to the Albany this week – it’s a hugely important show for me, both artistically and politically. And it feels right to be bringing this show to an organisation who understands how important it is to let teenagers speak honestly about their lives, through programmes like Uncover.

Alongside the show, I’ve also worked with young teens through organisations such as Girl Guiding UK, have given talks on the project (e.g. Southbank Centre’s festival Web We Want), and have a blog to help raise awareness about the kind of issues the show covers. You can find more here www.louiseorwin.com  and here: www.prettyorugly.wordpress.com

I’m also thrilled to be here at the Albany for the next two weeks starting work on my new show A Girl and A Gun, which will be premiering later this year. It’s in the very early days, but really wonderful to be working on a new project. If you’d like to keep up to date with the show’s progress, I’m blogging about it here: www.louiseorwin.com/blog

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For your chance to see how Louise was rated, come along to Pretty Ugly Wednesday 4 & Thursday 5 February at 8pm. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

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When We Were Little…

Third Angel Life & Loves brochure image

Kicking off our thrilling Spring season, celebrated theatre makers Third Angel bring The Life & Loves of a Nobody to Deptford. As the title suggests, it follows the life of an apparent nobody, who has dreamed of running away with the circus and achieving fame since she was little. Exploring celebrity, identity and childhood dreams, this production is sure to pack a punch, and undoubtedly hit home with many of us. To get us excited for the show, Third Angel have asked the Albany team to join the #WhenIWasLittle bandwagon and answer what we wanted to be or do when we were little. Have a look at what some of us have said:

 

The Life & Loves of a Nobody is here Tuesday 3 – 7 February. For more information and to book tickets, click here. Join the #WhenIWasLittle conversation on our Twitter @TheAlbanySE8 and @thirdangeluk.

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New Year, New Resolutions

It’s that time of year again where ‘new year, new me’ is the phrase on everyone’s lips, and here at the Albany is no exception. But if you’re struggling to figure out what you want to do differently this year, our Marketing Assistant Rachel McCall has five simple suggestions for you.

1. Be good to yourself

It’s so easy to get caught up in the fast, furious pace of London and 2015 is the year that you shouldn’t let it get you down. Mindfulness is a great way to take a little time out of each day to assess how you are feeling, what you want, and to figure out how you will achieve it. There are many apps for iPhone and Android that guide you through Mindfulness and take as little as 15 minutes out of your day.

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2. Start a new hobby

2014 saw the come-back of knitting, so we think that 2015 should take this one step further and see the rebirth of crocheting. If this takes your fancy then click here to find out how to get started. crochet

3. Eat adventurously

We’re so over left-over turkey curry and we bet you are too! A fun and easy resolution to do this year is to try new food and flavours. If you’re looking for an opportunity to do so then you can come along to our Bajan Dining Experience by In a Pikkle Pop-Up Restaurants on Friday 6 February and 6 March.

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4. Try something that you think you won’t like

It’s so easy to get into a rut with how you spend your free time, whether it’s binge watching Netflix, reading books by the same author or consistently seeing plays by the same writer or director. If you want to mix things up a little then we advise doing something or seeing something that takes you out of your comfort zone. For some ideas have a look at our new season. What have you got to lose?

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5. Volunteer your free time

It’s a classic one, but there’s a reason for it. Volunteering your time can be one of the most rewarding things to do, not just for you but for those who you are helping. At the Albany you can volunteer at Meet Me at the Albany, or find your local charity shop and see if they need help each week.

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If you decide to take on any of these resolutions then tweet us and let us know on Twitter at @TheAlbanySE8.

Good luck,

Rachel McCall

Marketing Assistant, The Albany

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‘Tis the Season to be Kind: How You Can Give Back This Christmas

Christmas Day is but nine sleeps away! That’s almost nine whole days in which to get into the Christmas spirit and to give something back: and perhaps to make a resolution for 2015…

Here are five simple ways you can make a difference in the Deptford area:

1. Give to a food bank

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A great number of organisations across Britain have been working hard this year to support families and individuals who are struggling to feed themselves. And it’s easy to get involved: when you’re doing your Christmas Dinner shopping, simply pop a few extras into your trolley and donate to a food bank. Lewisham Council has made a handy suggestions page of what to donate and where in the New Cross and Deptford area.

2. Meet Me at the Albany

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Described as ‘the kind of stereotype-smashing thing that sticks two knitting needles up at anyone who dares assume day care for older people is about flower arranging and endless cups of tea’, you’d be hard-pushed to find a more entertaining way to give something back to your community this Christmas.  Hosted every Tuesday, Meet Me at the Albany is a new take on day care for Over 60s that is always looking for volunteers, so what are you waiting for?

3. Reach out to Deptford

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Deptford Reach is a drop-in centre for adults over 16 years of age who are vulnerable through homelessness, mental illness, loneliness, social exclusion and severe poverty. They support more than 70 people each weekday through a programme of courses, workshops, activities and advice sessions. They work on employment skills, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, mental health and creative expression to name a few; so if you can contribute towards any of there areas take a look and see how you can get involved.

4. Get Souped Up

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Nothing says winter like a hearty soup to warm you up. Lewisham Soup Kitchen serves soup to those in need every Thursday from 6 – 7pm, so get your ladle out and serve some steaming bowls of soup.

5. Invite a lonely neighbour to Christmas Dinner

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This week The Independent published an article explaining that 400,000 pensioners will be alone on Christmas Day this year. One simple way to change that is to invite someone you know will be alone on Christmas Day around to join you for your festive meal. It’s  a small gesture, and they might decline your offer, but if everybody asked a neighbour to join them then the shocking figure of 400,000 could be much lower.

So make this the most wonderful time of the year and do just one small thing to make someone else’s Christmas as festive as yours. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Rachel McCall

Marketing Assistant

The Albany

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