Northern Big Board

Announcing! Northern Big Board... So it turns out I haven’t actually blogged about this, yet. I DON’T KNOW WHY. Because it’s properly, properly ace. Also the first bit of work I’ll be doing as a proper freelancer – that’s right, I am now available for all your arts, digital, theatre making, writing and playful/pervasive needs. Hire me! After this has finished. I’m free December-ish.

Anyway. Northern Big Board. Ridiculously excited to be part of this collaboration between Chol Theatre, Slung Low and Emma Adams. All working towards a bit community theatre gala on the 18th of November. Here’s a bit of blurb:

“a celebration of the life of Shipley Swimming Pool and all who swim in her. Inspired by a fear of the big bad diving board that towers 5 metres above the pool, Northern Big Board is a project about taking leaps of hope.

Join us for the Gala performance of a new play written for Shipley Swimming Pool by Emma Adams and directed by Slung Low, art installations by Hannah Nicklin to reveal the hidden life of the building, and spectacular diving and swimming demonstrations.

Northern Big Board hopes to uncover the human stories at the heart of Shipley Swimming Pool and doff a swimming cap to the water-filled palaces in neighbourhoods up and down the country that equip us for life’s adventures and help us to leap off into the world.”

My part in it all is a residency at the pool between now and the 18th of November, I’ll be hanging around 2-3 days each week collecting stories from people who use the pool, people who work there, people who train there, and creating a series of installations, which might be games, sound experiences, video installations, interventions… maybe even an online piece, too. Basically totally reactive to the feel for the pool I get from being there and talking to people. 7 weeks, so a couple talking to people, a couple writing and making, then testing, installing, and launching along with the big gala day where there’ll be a play in the pool and lots of other community-based fun things. There are also ‘Leap Off Fridays’ starting next Friday (12th) 6-7.30 where we’ll invite people to hang out with us, take a leap off the high board, and possibly run writing and storytelling workshops.

Emma and I make a really interesting parallel as creatives on this, she’s writing from the point of view of overcoming her fears of the water, and me, well, I feel more at home in water than I do the air. Everything is thicker… Whole-er. More in control. I’ve been swimming since I was tiny, even swum for my club in Europe when I was a teenager. I left swimming behind when I broke both my arms one summer and never really caught back up in training, but I have a love of the water which has never left me. So, yeah, that’s where I’m writing from.

I shall try and blog things as I go, a little more scrap-booky than usual. And in that spirit, here’s a little snapshot of my notebook after my first visit yesterday. No pictures in the pool allowed, so resorted to sketching skills I’ve not employed since I was 18! Just trying to capture the space for reference when I’m working away from it. More to follow, I hope (not drawings, but blog posts).

And finally, here’s a quote from Emma in the Yorkshire Post about the project that I endorse wholeheartedly:

“For me the piece is absolutely about the story of the emotional connection people have to the place, but actually that’s a bit of a Trojan Horse for me to talk about how important these places are,” says Adams.

“Places like the Shipley Pool are our municipal secular cathedrals were everyone goes and is together as a community, regardless of things like race or age or gender. Like the arts in this country, which I absolutely argue the case should be subsidised, we need to recognise how important these places are. I wanted to write something that would celebrate the stories of the people who have these emotional connections to the place, but I wanted to celebrate the place itself too.”

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5 Responses to “Northern Big Board”

  1. Ruth Mitchell October 5, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    This resonates with me as I am a Bradford girl and also doing an MRes in Theatre & Performance at University of Plymouth with my topic as site specific theatre, sites and their communities, so I will be following your progress with interest.

  2. Hannah Nicklin (@hannahnicklin) October 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Thanks, Ruth!

  3. Adam Wells October 11, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    I used to live in shipley. I did not even know it had a swimming pool.

  4. Hannah Nicklin October 11, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    @adam, well, now you do?

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