Thursday, July 19, 2007

Full steam ahead

The last few weeks have been packed with admin - all of which is moving very much in the right direction. The really good news is that Dilemma has now been funded by the Arts Council, the Commonwealth Foundation, Passage of Music and the Gibbs Trust. Which means we're on. Kate (who runs Bilimankwe, and is going to be producer on this project) and I carve up the admin jobs - which are legion. The most immediate tasks are around bringing people from Ghana, where the news of the go-ahead has been greeted with much rejoicing! We need a work permit, which means getting passport details. I suspect at least one of the people we're inviting may not have a passport - and that there may also be no record of her date of birth, which will make everything a bit more complex than it really needs to be. Of course, I may be wrong, and I hope I am. By a fortunate coincidence, Steve Collins, a young director who we're intending to take on as an intern on this, is currently in Accra with Theatre for a Change, so he can help smooth the way and sort some of the cultural bridges. I doubt he'll still be there by the time the cast need to apply for visas, so we may have to get British Council help there.

Phone Ama Ata Aidoo. She's very excited, and sure that she will be able to come for at least a week, possibly more. This is a big boost to the marketing - which is probably the biggest job of the lot. Plus it will be wonderful to have such an eminent figure around our work.

Meanwhile, the Origins Festival is also moving on. We've got funds from the US Embassy and from Arts WA for the Advisory Board's meetings and the launch in September. I meet up with Ian Connich, the Director of the new Centre for New Zealand Studies at Birkbeck, and he offers to show some Maori short films for the launch. This will be great - it's a way of involving some element of presentation even at this early stage. I phone Allan Collins (Aboriginal film maker) in Alice Springs, to see if we can also show his amazing film Sunset to Sunrise. He seems very open to the idea, and tells me amazing things about the background to the piece. In order to allow the elder Max to tell his story, they spent six weeks consulting other elders about protocols, and then went to the specific place in the bush where Max's father was born, and sat under a specific tree to tell the story. None of this is overt in the film, but it goes some way towards explaining the extraordinary resonance it has.

Ophelia Huang emails from Shanghai to say we've got a CTC grant for me to go to China and meet Director You again, with a view to moving the Trilogy forward. Hopefully I can get this to happen in December, once Dilemma is done - I'd like to be in the country till then if I can. But there are also pressures to try and get the work seen in the first half of 2008 - not least the China Now Festival. I met their Programme Manager, Fenella Barber, who would like the project to be part of the Festival. Worry that suddenly everything is happening at once..... which is great, of course......

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