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Finale – A workshop

Hello, Plans are now well underway in the devising of Rajni Shah Project’s Finale. We invite you to join us in developing a series of prompts, instructions and provocations which will form the structure, score, or script, if you like – through which Finale will be produced. This informal and playful workshop will take place at Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon road, London EC1R 3GA between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m on 25th January. You are welcome to come along for the whole day, or only part of it. The room we will be working in is quite small, so we request that you let us know if you want to come and when you are likely to be here. You can do so by emailing leo@making-room.co.uk Warmest wishes, Ashleigh Griffith and Leo Burtin
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In conversation with Dinis Machado

At the end of last year, I was invited by Dance 4 to take part in an online conversation with artist Dinis Machado, who was at the time in residency in Nottingham as part of episode 15 of their project A Conversation Place.  It was a rich experience and we found many similarities in our contextual concerns and subject matters which were somewhat unexpected given the significant difference between our artistic processes and aesthetics. You can listen to the full conversation here, and I look forward to participating in a future episode featuring Donna Rutherford as well as Dinis. Who knew that soup as an artistic device could take us quite so far?
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Resolutions (volume 1)

Following suit on last week’s commitment, you can download a little PDF with some writing from this week. There are diary entry of sorts, things you can think of as micro-stories and a prose poem. I’ll be experimenting with what, and when I publish, and for the first time, it felt okay to show you almost everything, and I’m assuming people might have a bit of time to read at the weekend. So here it comes – You can download the pdf here: Leo Burtin – Resolutions – Volume 1 Warm wishes, Leo
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It Happened One Night

A response to The Midnight Soup by Emma Geraghty. Disclaimers: This piece of writing was commissioned by the company. However, our agreement with Emma was that she would be free to write whatever she wanted about the show. In some senses, the writing below does contain a few spoilers of sorts. So if I write everything down, I won’t forget. I’ll try not to trip over my words, I will try to give you an honest account of this night. It’s worth remembering. The theatre is not a theatre, not tonight. We go through the same doors into the darkness, but onto the stage. Under the lights. We take off our coats, drop our bags, and set ourselves. Our names are already there. The table has been expecting us, and who knows how long it has been waiting. distribuer des plaques / planches à découper / couteaux tranchants / servez-vous à boire There is a story. A story of a life lived with the passing of the seasons on their eternal cycle, a story faithfully inscribed on page after page after page of diaries. Time is marked differently here. visites de sa famille / fleurs du jardin / deux baguettes […]
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In Good Company

This month, I find myself in really good company as last Friday marked the start of my very final residency for The Midnight Soup at Live At LICA… what a ride… In the gallery part of this site, you can see some lovely photos, courtesy of the equally lovely Caroline MacLennan, of a Breaking Bread I hosted, and if you’re in the neighbourhood you can see a little display I made for the Peter Scott Gallery around the programme’s theme “What Is A 21st Century Arts Centre?”  So this is it… we’re nearly there, a week tomorrow, there will be a show, it’ll be almost the real thing… sure, we might have a think about lighting for a while longer, and get some nicer soup bowls ahead of the Autumn’s première… but really, this is it. If you’re curious, you can come and see it… the details are here. 9 years ago, I decided I would make something with my grandmother, with her writing… I made a decision to celebrate her tiny life, of a tiny woman, in a tiny place… I thought, there are a lot of tiny people around, if we all get together, we can be giants… I thought I’ll do […]
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Dear Stranger, Dear Friend

I am currently sat in Sun Square, in Lancaster, and the place has never deserved its name more. The weather is gorgeous, and I’m enjoying a delicious cup of Irish Breakfast tea… You guessed it, I’m procrastinating. This evening, I’ll be putting The Midnight Soup to the test of the creative team, cooking and all. My main job for the afternoon will be to go shopping for the various bits and bobs we need to make it all happen. It’s also my least favourite. This evening, the main thing I’ll need to remember is to breathe more. That’s the advice I’ve received from way too many people to afford to ignore it. It’s this advice of friends who were once strangers. Just breathe, breathe more. Always, breathe.  I wish there was an equivalent expression in English for à fleur de peau. It’s like my skin is so thin, you can see, and hear everything that’s hiding underneath. It’s feeling everything raw, everything rough, everything in its fullest form. That’s the space I’ve been, in making this piece. I now need to allow myself to be this vulnerable, to be confident in that I only feel that way because it matters.  And I […]
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On doing it

This time, I’m not writing from the train, though, I basically just got off it and walked up the road the British Library – a grand setting to be blogging in, isn’t it? For the last few days, I’ve been hiding away in Bristol, with my pals from Residence. We played Bistro on Saturday, and on Sunday, that was it… a few people had received and responded to an invitation, and there I was, having to just get on with it. This first excerpt/work in progress sharing was made safe – it was for a small group of other artists, half of whom I’ve got to know quite well, and the rest I am gladly getting to know. I laid the table, put the radio on, prepared the meal… I spoke the words, and opened the space for a discussion… The whole thing was a little bit shaky, probably a little bit monotonous… It was a foal of a show. (Actually, is it even a show?) I spoke the words from a script, timidly asked my guests to participate, to engage… As the evening unfolded, a few things became really clear… The piece, first and foremost, is indeed a conversation starter, it is a frame, a […]
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From the train

The Midnight Soup is very much a train show. I think most of my work so far, has been train work. I guess I enjoy it as a space to let my thoughts run a bit freer. I like that ideas are moving forward in time with my moving forward geographically. A lot has happened to the show since the residency in Stockton, and a lot is yet to happen. There is a structure to the piece now – a sequence of events, of stories, of questions… There is music, and there are new themes emerging. A lot of the show boils down to being a consideration of family, of identity, of belonging and of choice. It is very much written to be a conversation starter, nothing more, nothing less. I am now at another one of those thrillingly frightening moments – I have no choice but to get this raw material up on its feet. I have no choice but to let go, and give it away – to see what happens, when people are invited. It’s possible that after I’ve done that, I’ll realise that I’ve got it all wrong. It’s possible that I’ll realise I need to […]
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Midweek Bites

I am going to guess that if you are here, you probably know that Arts Council England’s round logo will feature on publicity materials relating to The Midnight Soup – you might even have caught the fact that the fantastic Becci Sharrock (Becci is a great tweeter of food & theatre, I’d give her a follow if I were you) is joining the team as Creative Producer. I am more than just a little bit grateful that the project is receiving so much support – in all honesty, if it wasn’t for Annabel Turpin and the team at ARC, Stockton Arts Centre taking a giant gamble before I knew anything about the project, other than I wanted to make a meal, and that I’ve been trying to make something from my grandmother’s diary for a little while… it probably wouldn’t be happening. All it took was being in dialogue, in communication – talking about the work at hand in my own words, with my own hands. That’s all ARC needed to commit enough cash that I could take a bit of time off work, pay for my accommodation and a train ticket… You will probably all know how rare that is… That an organisation, and […]
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Speech Act

This post is completely, utterly, profoundly personal. In the same way that I may have told the story of the one day we went out to a lake, and it was one of the best days, at a friend’s funeral – this is from the very personal place, of a personal relationship to a  newspaper, to the people who made it, to what represents, to the ideals it, thankfully, still lives for. As I was making my way out of being a teenager, I had already made some pretty important decisions about where I stood politically, and in the world in general, and in my relationship to others. In my relationship to those who are different from me. In my relationship to those who I am different from. I have been pretty consistent ever since. And as I grow older, I grow more subtle and, strive to grow to be more impactful. As an almost-no-longer-a-teen, a friend and I created Cherokee Magazine. The idea was simple – there would be no adverts, and anyone could write in it. It would be a independent, cultural, humanist publication. It’s motto: “Because saying is already being in action” (this is an approximate translation). For […]
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