3 The Hard Way – Part 2: On Englishness and Finale Touring.

October 31, 2015

For the last month I’ve been UK touring, Three the Hard Way – Part 2: a brand new show featuring Jean Binta Breeze, Shruti Chauhan and I, 3 women of 3 continents and 3 generations.

Part 2 is of course the second part of a show that Jean and I first embarked on in 2014, with Shruti joining us this time around; it’s hard to overstate the progress we’ve all made together, in terms of both the show’s increased experimentation and the conversation our different backgrounds have allowed us to have.

One of the joys of the 3 The Hard Way format is the way in which it has allowed us to adapt and develop our approach and material in response to each others’, the space and ongoing contemporary events as we’ve toured. In this way, no two shows have been the same and the process of listening to each other and audiences have allowed the work to shift and develop in some very interesting directions. From round table rehearsals, where we’ve sat over tea and pakora answering poetry with poetry…to long distance car journeys coming back from shows, reflecting and unfolding new ideas stimulated by each others’ experience and the evening and audience met.

One personal outcome has been the creation of a new piece, on the subject of Englishness – a tricky subject I feel I’ve been building up to approach for a number of years but which the Three the Hard Way process has finally helped me write. Beginning to read around the subject, starting with Simon Featherstone’s excellent, ‘Englishness’ – recommended to me by Ms Breeze, I’m looking forward to deepening my research and thinking, in the context of my broader experience and in ongoing, lucky conversation with Jean and Shruti. The work unpacked by both throughout our tour has been inspiring to say the least.

This latest piece, produced as a result of all the above, debuted in Birmingham at the excellent Drum a couple of nights ago. It had it’s second outing last night in Northampton and I’ll be doing it for the last time – as part of this particular tour – this Monday in Loughborough at our finale tour date.

Meanwhile here’s our third trailer, with thanks to Andrew Lee. Featuring a different piece, taken from my full length collection, The Venus Papers (Burning Eye Books, 2015) – this nonetheless connects, in being sort of on the subject of Englishness – and sort of not…

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