About to Take Off

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m on the brink of something extraordinary. It’s a surprisingly calm feeling – I am beyond excited, but I also feel focused and centred. Ready.

For a long time, I’ve felt that my best strategy as an artist was to have many plates spinning, so that eventually one of these projects would happen. I’ve been in London now for five years. I finally know my way around the theatre landscape, I have a strong network of collaborators, and I’m getting to the point now that I need to un-spin a few of these plates, because it’s impossible to follow through on everything at once. Making the choice to focus on the projects that are most important to me, and hand over the reigns on other projects, feels like a new chapter in my career.

Something has radically shifted in the first half of this year. I took a short course in producing theatre, ‘The Optimists’ with China Plate. I did a three-month one-on-one coaching programme with Laura Lundy of Blue Panther Productions. I started working with my dear friend (and Home Is Where collaborator) Sharlit Deyzac on the Voila! Europe Theatre Festival – coming to four venues in London in November 2018! I’ve learned a lot of very useful practical things recently, and also discovered a lot about myself.

My reflection in the face of the Helen mirror puppet, in early rehearsals of Helen of Troy Calls Bullshit.

And suddenly, in a way I can’t fully articulate, everything is starting to come together. Two years after founding my company Pinecone Performance Lab, we’re ready to take our next steps and get serious about producing our first full-length finished work. I had a coffee with a friend which unexpectedly turned into an offer of free rehearsal space and a scratch night. With director/dramaturg Katharina Reinthaller, I’ve completely reimagined my solo Helen piece. We are putting plans in motion to finish Helen of Troy Calls Bullshit for performances in early 2019.

Another Pinecone project is coming up even sooner than that: the second year of the London Devised Theatre Intensive is right around the corner.  I facilitate this two-week workshop with masterclasses from guest artists, peer practice exchange, daily devising in Open Space, group theatre trips, and professional development. Applications are open now for the workshop in October… It feels so good to create this space and time for other theatre makers, and I can’t wait to see what happens!

And next week, I am off to Directors Lab Chicago – spending six intense days with 20 fellow theatre directors exploring the theme ‘All Art is Political.’ I have no doubt that it will be an exhilarating, exhausting, eye-opening week. In 2012, I went to Directors Lab West, and it changed my life – it was the catalyst for moving to London.  (You can read my daily blog posts from DLW here.) I won’t be getting up a 6AM every day to blog during Directors Lab Chicago. Instead, I’m going to use the opportunity to learn how to use Instagram properly, sharing photos and videos of my time at the Lab. You can find me @amyclaretasker – and I’ll archive the highlights here on the blog after the Lab is over.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I feel a change is in the air… this anything-can-happen feeling is my favourite state of being. Or as we say in Open Space, ‘be prepared to be surprised.’