Four Solos in the Wild is Arty Party’s latest film and exhibition, which has recently toured seven galleries and exhibition spaces across the United Kingdom. The films are presently being shown at film festivals all around the globe and have already picked up awards in Barcelona and Calgary. We were invited by Carousel’s Oska Bright, to show our films at the Tate, London, so all the performers, crew and supporters travelled to London on Tuesday, to be at the event and take part in a question and answer session on Wednesday 1st March 2017.
Any Arty Party event is exciting, and such a prestigious occasion even more so. This is a close knit group of artists, who have worked together over a number of years, so they are emotionally in tune and supportive of each other from the moment they step on to the train. The group gathered from all corners of Shropshire; the journey went without a hitch until the taxi firm let us down in London, and we waited for over an hour, whilst black cabs whisked others out of the cold night before our eyes. We were tired and hungry, and relieved to find somewhere to eat that would accommodate twelve of us at ten o’clock in the evening – working out the bill was a logistical conundrum. We pitched down for the night at a Southbank Travel Lodge – accessible, if not salubrious accommodation.
After breakfast, next morning, we walked across the Millennium Bridge from St Paul’s Cathedral to Tate Modern, admiring the riverscape. Graham, one of the performers, stopped at Tate side to raise his eyes to the ninety-nine metre tall chimney which stands as a symbol of this impressive gallery’s origins as the Bankside power station. It was a reminder of the massive achievement it is to have work shown at Tate Modern, which boasted 4,712,581 visitors during 2015.
Whilst Film Director, Ray Jacobs, Director of Photography, Jonathan Tritton, and Art Designer Wren Miller prepared for the exhibition showing, Arty Party performers, Andrew Kelly, Graham Busby, Erika Juniper, Mervyn Bradley, Chloe Shepherd and Georgie Dawson, together with Choreographer Rachel Liggitt, Creative Advocate Anna Belyavin and Arty Party Director, Julia Dean-Richards, made time to explore the Tate Galleries, pausing to take in the work of Mark Rothko. After a quick lunch, we hastened to the theatre to greet the public and watch our films.
One of the questions, in the Q &A session afterwards, addressed the idea of putting more of our work on social media. For the people who watched the films on the big screen, I think there was no doubt of the benefits of showing the work in public arenas first. The high tech quality films are shown to best effect on large screen, as the attention to detail is second to none. The films are powerful frames for ideas, expression and emotion which are sourced from the team’s inclusive and authentic approach to the making of work.
Oska Bright and Tate Modern were perfect hosts, Matthew Hellet and Becky Bruzas doing a sterling job of presenting, steering and keeping the programme on track, whilst, due to the nature of the films, and a discussion about the making process, emotions around loss, love, connection and living for now, ran freely between performers and audience. The showing was followed by a meet and greet, and another chance to discover photographs by dance photographer Chris Nash, which form part of the exhibition. Opportunities to show the work presented themselves, as new friends were made and contact details were shared.
The trek home to Shropshire was about celebrating and singing. There was no sense of the journey being over, only of moving on to another stage. There is no doubt, though, that the date with Tate marks a milestone for everyone involved and a day to remember.