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  • Writer's pictureleodoulton

Coming To Paradise: Eden, and walking out of it

I am sad to be leaving my residency behind. While I’ll have an ongoing relationship with Theatre Deli, I have enjoyed it a great deal and it has been a meaningful space to be in.

Thus a sad space to leave.

Much of the support was planned-for. Discussions of dramaturgy with David Ralf, Artistic Director of Theatre Deli, and producing with Esther Hallas Smith, producer at Theatre Deli. People around who I could ask for help with equipment, and an injection of cash to support residency costs and bring in people. Having a studio space where I could shut the door and be left alone for eight hours.

Yes, I quite like being left alone for long periods of time.

However, much of it was unplanned for. It was the coincidental meeting of people around the building, and having their regular presence in the room. Discussions of parables with people who’d translated them. The suddenly realising that I could use some cardboard, and being able to find someone around to help me. Being in the heart of the City of London, and seeing the fascinating gulfs between people.

This largely social impromptu element made it very different to my Britten Pears residency, in near-total solitude for two weeks in Suffolk. There, there was silence when I sang.

In Theatre Deli, there was always the sound of others, as in London most of the time. People practicing a musical or cutting hair next door. Dancing upstairs. Chats at reception.

At times it accented the isolation in my room. But above all, it created a space where I could try to make a piece partly about creating a space for conversation, and mostly about interaction between people, in a space with people.

I never felt, in any way, like I was unwanted or doubted. I noticed myself choosing to stay to work in the communal areas, knowing I was both safe and welcome. It has become a community of mutual support, where my surplus of apples post-show was something I could readily get rid of without being suspected of witchcraft.

I suspect that tone has become reflected in the eventual work. The sense that the audience are guests, and they are welcome here.

But for now, I have to leave Theatre Deli behind. Thus it is time to try and bring some of that with me.

For now, thank you to Theatre Deli for everything they have offered, and I shall look forward to the next time.

“Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon; The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide: They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow, Through Eden took their solitary way.”

A figure in a baggy purple shirt-jacket over a brown dress, wearing wings made of scraps of metal, string, and paper, sits on a bench and looks slightly upward at something out of shot.


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