With our ‘Summer Sublets’ residency at the West Yorkshire Playhouse having drawn to a close, now seems a good opportunity to reflect on the material we made, evaluate our style of working, and determine where to go from here.

Being a relatively new company devising a brand new piece of theatre (and in case that seems too feasible, across three different cities), we have been getting together for Research & Development weekends on average once every 4-6 weeks since January. Through this period we had come up with an overall concept of ‘Generation Y’: essentially looking at people of our generation who have been told throughout school, college, university, that they can be anything they want to be; do anything they want to do…only to come out of education and find that the employment market is heavily over-subscribed and the only jobs going will likely leave them feeling over-qualified and under-fulfilled. From here, we started looking at the idea of ‘ticking boxes’ and the impact that social media has on this. Securing a job, finding happiness in a relationship, buying property, getting married, having children; the pressure to achieve these things by a certain age and of course make sure they are carefully documented through a rose-tinted Instagram filter.

Amongst these milestones we also identified (not without the help of our Facebook feeds of course) the common denominator of ‘completing an extreme physical challenge’ as a box which is currently being ticked by so many. From 5ks to marathons and triathlons to the Three Peaks Challenge: things to which we could all relate, each of us having undertaken a physical challenge of these sorts recently. Incidentally, one of our R&D weekends fell just after Emma had attempted a 20 mile run, in training for the Edinburgh marathon and being witness to the pain and the struggle she was going through at the time, we couldn’t help but question why we put ourselves through these things. Is it really all for the sake of raising money for charity? Keeping fit? Or is it down to something greater; something more internal…wanting to be part of something, feeling like we need to prove ourselves, substituting failure in other areas of our lives with achievement in something over which we have control? We became fascinated with finding answers to these questions, so, laying a temporary focus on marathon-running (which seemed so apt at that moment in time) we began researching, reading and interviewing runners to collect the stories that sit behind the numbers on chests.

Remaining faithful to our simplistic storytelling style, the material we developed during our Summer Sublets residency allowed us to share the true stories of real people alongside those of our own, keeping ourselves fully exposed as the theatre-makers; exploiting poetry, movement, props and live music as punctuation of and transitions between stories. The rehearsal space and time committed was so valuable in allowing us to play without any real pressure, develop our style and learn how we best work as a collaborative team. Devised theatre doesn’t happen instantly, of course – it is about experimentation, research, challenge, and being open to the unexpected. We had decided to create material around the idea of ‘the marathon’ to give us a focus in amongst such a broad subject matter. We’d had no idea that we would become so intrigued by the topic or that it would open up so many other avenues.

What has become glaringly obvious, however, is that 26.2 is already about so much more than just marathon-running.


Take a look at our rehearsal shots from the week.

Images credited to © mattsim.co.uk


Summer Sublets Work-in-Progress Sharing

So – we are almost mid-way through our week’s residency at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and on Friday afternoon we will be sharing some of the work we have created with a small audience. Please see the information below and if you are interested in coming along to the sharing just drop us an email at collisiontheorytheatre@gmail.com.

Working Title: 26.2

photo 3-226.2 is an amalgamation of physical endurance, numbers, jelly babies, skin, a giant boob, fireworks, quarter-life crises, holding somebody’s hand, and twenty-five pairs of trainers. Brought to life through dynamic storytelling, Collision Theory tries to understand why we feel the need to tick boxes in order to win the race.

Work-in-Progress Sharing: Friday 22 August 2014, 4.30pm

Location: Rehearsal Room 3, St. Peter’s Building, West Yorkshire Playhouse

Please spare approximately 30 minutes for a scratch performance followed by a short discussion. There will also be an exhibition of materials and inspiration used as part of the devising process to feast your eyes on. And if anybody fancies a cheeky drink after the sharing…well the world is our oyster (and The Wardrobe, its shell).

Hope to see you there!

Collision Theory x

Collaboration Day & Fringe Favourites

The Friday before last saw Collision Theory come together in the canny North for a collaboration day at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, as part of our Summer Sublets residency. We met some fantastic and inspiring practitioners all either mid-residency or similarly to us, eager to get started. We had some stimulating conversations, ate some top notch Yorkshire sarnies and shared the methods we use to devise and create. We put the notion of ‘26.2’ out there and the conversations were rich in the provocations they offered, inspiring in their personal connections to the topic in hand and generous in their visions. We spoke a lot about the primitive nature of running and the desire to be fit and strong, discussing the potential of the human body and mind over matter. We talked about the notion of building your own mountains to climb and why we have an innate longing to do this…and then some.

Our Summer Sublets residency begins on Monday. Keep an eye out for details about our sharing of work, coming soon…

While we have you – a few of us have been up to the Edinburgh Fringe over the last couple of weeks to support some of our fantastically talented friends, seek out new and inspiring practitioners and get our creative juices well and truly flowing. If you’re planning a trip up, we have some recommendations for you (we’ve stuck to theatre though we saw some great comedy, dance, music etc. too)…

Inheritance Blues, Dugout Theatre (Pleasance Courtyatd)
Lorraine & Alan, Bucket Club (Pleasance Dome)
Broke, The Paper Birds (Pleasance Dome)
Mush and Me, NANCY Collective (Underbelly, Cowgate)
Pondling, Gúna Nua (Underbelly, Cowgate)
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, Little Soldier Productions (ZOO Venues)
Lungs, Paines Plough (Summerhall @ Roundabout)
Confirmation, Chris Thorpe (Northern Stage at Kings Hall)
A Series of Increasingley Impossible Acts, Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre Company (Northern Stage at Kings Hall)

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