Over eight weeks, Almeida Participation collaborated with professional theatre makers and students from 2 of our partner schools to reimagine Rebecca Frecknall’s production of Tennessee William’s Summer and Smoke.
The two groups were introduced by the theatre makers to a number of different theatrical forms which enabled the students to create and present work that explored the anxiety and emotional pressure young people are exposed to on a daily basis.
Hackney Community College Reimagining Artists
Emma Dennis Edwards, Director
Rachael Nanyonjo, Supporting Artist
Lauren La Roque, Assistant
Jamie Kayode Baker
Directors’ Note by Emma Dennis-Edwards
Viva La Vida merges movement, poetry and dramatic scenes to explore the theme of Family Conflict, inspired by the Tennessee Williams’ classic play Summer and Smoke. The students at Hackney Community College have worked tirelessly devising this piece over the last 4 weeks; bravely drawing on their own individual experiences of family, home and what makes us feel safe. I am so proud of their commitment, energy and talent and we are excited to present to you the World Premiere of Viva La Vida at the Almeida Theatre.
Clapton Girls’ Academy Reimagining Artists
Tamsin Fessey, Director
Philippa Hogg, Supporting Artist
Germma Orleans-Thompson, Assistant
Baileigh St Hilaire
Directors’ Note by Tamsin Fessey
The fighter, The respectable daughter, The awkward one, Instaselfie, Little Ms YOLO, The little lost one, The perfectionist. “I’ve thought many times of something you told me last summer, that I have a doppelganger. I looked that up and I found that it means another person inside me, another self, and I don’t know whether to thank you or not for making me conscious of it” (Tennessee Williams, Summer and Smoke)
This piece, devised by Clapton Girls Academy Sixth formers over six and a half sessions, originated from this idea.
We talked about the pressures and anxieties of being a young woman now and we were fascinated by the multiple selves and personas who appear at different moments in our lives. It is apparently 'normal' to have twelve sub-personalities existing within ourselves at any time but the problems begin when several appear at once or when we can no longer merge these personalities into an integral view of ourselves and we don't know who we are anymore.
We carried out interviews with friends and then worked with a verbatim method to bring these descriptions to life, trying to replicate the pauses, breaths and intonations of these recordings as accurately as possible.