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How Ideas Are Born

The concept for The Spy Project first took shape on a flight to Vancouver in August 2015.  SAVVY had just moved into the Arc Theatre in Purley and I was exploring ideas that played around with staging concepts in the new space and listening to my iPhone on shuffle play when suddenly Nina Simone came on – and then … BAM! The idea of spies and lampposts and Bob Fossee came into my head.

Around the same time Benedict Cumberbatch was playing Hamlet at the Barbican and made a plea at stage door for audiences to stop filming him onstage during the show.  Which got me thinking about mobile phone technology and how it’s pervading into everything we do.  Then at Christmas 2015 I was watching a recorded U2 concert with an amazingly integrated digital set. (Showing my age here), but I remember when audiences would hold up cigarette lighters at rock concerts, NOW they all hold up mobile phones.

And so began my journey!

2016 was spent on research.

I watched A LOT of early Bond, Avengers, episodes of The Man From Uncle, The Saint … I researched digital technology – learning A LOT about augmented reality, virtual reality, app development – COST associated with app development!!  I chatted and met with other artists and companies who work in the fields of digital and sensory installations, promenade and immersive theatre … I held research & development workshops with my Adult Company and had late night script meetings over curry with my trusted friend and fight director.

So throughout 2016 the show started to take shape … changing in theatrical form, use of digital technology, project partners, locations, story plot twists and budgets – and all this time my wonderful Adult Company were being incredibly patient with me – holding on for a show that would trump their last production of Alice’s Mad Tea Party. One that would challenge them, challenge me, develop SAVVY and really solidify our reputation for creating unique community theatre experiences.

And then the work began. Logistical meetings with local businesses, councils, health & safety, police, insurances … the list goes on …

I had to write the script. Re-write the script. Cast the script. Re-cast the script. Find clever ways to stage complex scenes in outdoor locations … the list goes on …

And so now – we’re here. Two months away from what will be our most ambitious project to date!

The Spy Project is already selling tickets, already engaging with local businesses, people in the street and introducing SAVVY to Croydon – a borough that is SO switched on when it comes to the importance of culture, SO switched on when it comes to the support it gives to arts organisations and SO full of amazing spaces (we are literally going to new heights with this show)!

So nearly two years in development and the show that was born on a long-haul flight to Canada, is nearly here – and I’m feeling incredibly lucky to have such an amazing group of people (from my core team to my ensemble of actors to our extended SAVVY family) all working hard to make my idea a reality.

Thank you 🙂

The Spy Project

20 – 22 July 2017

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