We seem to have jumped from Summer to Autumn in the blink of an eye, leaves falling, temperature dropping and rain. Where has the summer gone? And what a summer like no others… Reflecting on it we question if we are getting used living in a pandemic. To being deprived of one of the most important and meaningful human contact: TOUCH. We hope not.
WE ARE STILL GOING. We have had to adapt our lifestyle, behaviour, thinking, programmes, and we are still adapting; to a ‘new normal’? Whoever said an artist's life was 'normal' to begin with! It is in the blood of artists and creatives to find innovative ways of negotiating change.
Art thrives in the extra-ordinary, and on that note, here are the highlights that kept us committed and alive through the summer:
MOVING THROUGH LOCKDOWN A collection of movement pieces created by the participants of the online classes delivered by the wonderful Lauren Carter; these zoom sessions kept our young people from Take Flight gleefully engaged throughout lockdown.
CIRCUS RE-START NETWORK Scarabeus brought together a network of 40 circus companies and training centres to exchange knowledge and information, so we could all re-open our doors and re-start some of our programmes within Covid-19 guidelines. It was incredibly reassuring and re-invigorating sharing awareness and expertise, as much as concern and anxiety.
MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING Daniela, Søren and 10 of our regular artists/tutors completed a Mental Health First Aid training course, designed by MHFA England and organised by Siren Training. The course gives participants the tools to recognise, assess and give support to people suffering from mental health issues. The course was the ideal way to prepare ourselves for getting back to face to face action and best support our beneficiaries.
AERIAL INTENSIVE: space, body, movement, communication, expression. After so much preparation, we managed to deliver a week of aerial, movement and choreography skills. It took place partly indoors and partly outdoors, during a glorious summer week that made us all feeling truly alive.
In the words of our participants, I am thankful for: 'The thorough and hard work it took to make this possible.', 'The patience the teachers had with us.', 'The positive and supportive atmosphere created.', 'A space that is judgement free to express myself in ways I wouldn’t normally.', 'The opportunity to clean my mind of the stress and difficult time this lockdown has given me.', 'The laughter I had with everyone.', 'I am thankful for being here!'
TRANS-FORMATIONS Naissa and Daniela have been experimenting with dance and aerial movement to give artistic expression on what it means living within liminality, and navigating the shifting sands of gender identity. Sensitively guided by choreographer Becky Namgauds, they spent some blissful days experimenting on the ground and in the air in Queens wood. Followed by an inspiring week filming with Sky Neal in wild Cornwall, dancing on beaches and hanging from cliffs. This is going to be a long journey. Watch this space for a teaser coming soon on Scarabeus digital channels.
COMING UP THROUGH AUTUMN
Here is what will be keeping us busy, motivated and enthused through Autumn and into the new year:
TAKE FLIGHT Our weekly aerial programme for young people has re-opened to a full house of committed young aerialists, busy regaining strength, mobility and hope some of which was lost during lockdown. It’s a pleasure to have them back, their energy is a reward to all the hard work to make this happen.
OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE This Visual theatre, multimedia and aerial circus production explores climate change, sustainability and social justice from the perspective of young people, created with young aerialists and teachers from Take Flight. Our House is On Fire is a commission from Jacksons Lane arts centre as part of the nationwide Here and Nowcelebration of culture within communities, led by Future Arts Centres and celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the National Lottery.
This groundbreaking immersive production, originally due to take place in Queen’s Wood, Highgate this summer, will now be performed at Caxton House Community Centre at 3 & 7pm on 19th and 20th December 2020. Tickets will be released by Jacksons Lane next week. It will also be streamed on Jacksons Lane’s and Scarabeus’ digital channels.
FLYING INTO PHYSICS We are creating and piloting a new, demonstration only, Covid-19 adapted version of our very successful and in demand Flying into Physics programme in a small number of schools. So keep an eye out for future updates!
I LOVE MOVINGONLINE CLASSES Please make use of the variety of classes our talented teachers have created to build strength and stamina, deepen flexibility and mobility, but above all can make you happy through movement from the cosiness of your homes.
OUR NEW TEAM We are delighted to announce the appointment of our new General Manager Katie Shahatit, previously Head of Producing & Programming at Nuffield Southampton Theatres. Nikki Rummer, who is a highly skilled fundraiser (as much as a brilliant performer), has joined us in the spring and has been pivotal in strategically navigating the complex landscape of emergency funds, securing much needed income. A huge thank you to Rose Collins who has covered the role of interim general manager, and is always ready to help us whenever we are in need.
We are incredibly thankful for the support of the Arts Council, National Lottery, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, London Community Response Fund, The Mayor of London's Young Londoners Fund and Co-op Local Community Fund. Without them and your donations none of this would be happening.
We would like to express our profound gratitude to our pillar of support, Caxton House Community Centre. Without their continued help we would not have been able to swing back into action. The dedicated staff at Caxton House have worked tirelessly during lockdown to open up their facilities as soon as it was possible within government guidelines.
At this time your donations are more important than ever. We completely rely on funding and donations to be able to continue the meaningful work that Scarabeus does as a catalyst of positive change and creativity.