Schedules, schedules – developing a pilot performance about human rights among occupied populations

Culture at King’s, in partnership with the 2015 CLASH public engagement Fellowships, is working with PhD candidate Pennie Qunton and the movement-based theatre company Joli Vyann to develop a pilot performance around the themes of human rights among civilian population in times of war. The project draws on Pennie’s research into the impact on the health of civilian populations while living under military occupation.

Pennie has been keeping a diary of the progress of the project and we publish an extract here to show exactly how much effort and coordination goes into collaborative artistic / academic projects.turtle key logo

It’s February 23rd and am heading over to Ladbroke Grove which always feels rather exotic, me being an East Londoner. My destination is the office of the theatre production company Turtle Key Arts.

This is my second meeting following an exciting conversation in late Autumn 2014 with Alison King, Turtle Key’s director, to discuss developing a series of movement workshops connecting the themes of my PhD research on the effects of military occupation on the health of civilians, in partnership with Culture at King’s.

We are joined by Turtle Key’s wonderfully capable stage manager Holly Cameron-Jennings to organise the timetable of the project, to nail the nitty-gritty of where the workshops will take place and to work out how we will recruit the project participants – young people aged between 17 – 25. Most importantly, we need  to establish the availability of Olivia and Jan, the founders of the movement-based theatre company Joli Vyann, currently touring their show Stateless, to lead the workshops.

Holly leafs through a huge diary which appears to cover the schedules for the entire stable of companies that Turtle Key manages. Working around Jan and Olivia’s tour dates, we plan for the workshops to take place from Monday the 19th of May and agree the final workshop and project showcase on the 6th of July.

Back at King’s, booking a space for the workshops on these fixed dates in rooms that are without carpets becomes a challenging hurdle to overcome.chapel

Carpets and dancers don’t really go together. ‘Carpet burns,’ says Holly – hmmm and slippage, I think. Rooms were suggested, but all were carpeted. It looked as though the project would have to move off site from King’s, but then King’s College chaplain Tim Ditchfield came to the rescue, agreeing for us to use the Strand Chapel.

“But I don’t have Mondays free” says Tim, scanning his Outlook calendar: “well, I have one Monday, you can have that, but, shame, you could have had all the Tuesdays”.

“It’s gorgeous” says Holly, looking at the pictures of the Chapel that I sent over to check the safety of the floor for movement work. “I’ll see if Olivia and Jan can do Tuesdays”.

Relief as Olivia and Jan are available.

The guidelines and forms for booking the Strand chapel arrive in my inbox: one requirement for use of the chapel in the evenings is to have a Fire Marshal present, so I log into the King’s online course booking system and sign up for the fire marshal course: luckily there is a course before the start of the workshops. Lessons learned: prepare practicalities far in advance or Murphy’s Law will apply.

Over the next few weeks I met with Olivia and Jan to plan the workshops and with Holly to organise the recruitment of the 12 participants. If you would like to be one of the 12 please get in touch.

Pennie Quinton

Pennie Quinton, CLASH Fellow, Ph.D candidate, social science health and medicine, Kings College London


CLASH Fellowships are funded opportunities to work on a project with clear public engagement aims, in collaboration with a London-based museum, cultural or heritage organisation. The scope, focus and duration of CLASH Fellowships varies according to the Cultural Partner’s existing audiences and programming but they share the same aims of collaboration, and learning on both sides. King’s College London hosts three CLASH Fellows, awarded as part of the CLASH programme and funded by an AHRC Collaborative Skills Development grant.