Blog

TO2C Coronavirus Update

Maria amused interacts with an image of Lynn Manning on screen
Maria rehearsing at PAMELA Jan 2020

Due to the recent coronavirus-COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing restrictions, the R and D presentation of A Trail of 2 Cities, planned to take place on 6 April at the North London PAMELA facility, has had to be cancelled.

Maria seriously interacts with an image of Lynn Manning on screen
Maria rehearsing at PAMELA with an image of Lynn Manning on screen

Recent 2020 Developments…

During January Braunarts and I worked with Melvin Johnson and Gary Robinson of Dramastage-Qumran, Los Angeles, on some film elements for the project. We also spent a further 3 days at PAMELA refining the technical requirements of the set up using 3 projectors and 6 spot speakers.

Maria wearing headphones works at a laptop in a studio
Maria wearing headphones works at a laptop in a studio

At the end of February I went on an artists residency hosted by The ARC in Stockton https://arconline.co.uk/home , and as part of this I stayed in their artists house and was given a lovely theatre studio to work in. As well as affording me extremely valuable time to develop content for the project, and rehearse the live performance aspect, I was also able to witness how the ARC operates as a venue and hub, and like a vital organ, sustains socially engaged art for its surrounding region.

Maria standing in a studio space gestures with a white cane to another  black woman sitting at a laptop on a  table
Maria with Chikodi Nwaiwu assisting in rehearsal

I was lucky that Vici Wreford-Sinnott of Little-Cog was on her own artist residency at ARC during the same week, working with her partner, Black Robin, on their pioneering project that aims to archive the work of disabled artists in the North East. I was also able to catch the touring production of ‘Too Pretty to Punch’ by Edalia Day that played for one night in the same studio at ARC, which I was working in during the day. It was interesting to experience this one person autobiographical piece by a trans performer who interacted with projections throughout their show, and led me to reflect on my use of projections in A Trail of 2 Cities, but in my case doing it in a very different way.

Maria standing in theatre studio  gestures while another woman of colour sits at a laptop
Maria rehearsing with Chikodi Nwaiwu in assistance

When I returned to London, I spent the first day of March with Terry and Gabi Braun, filming on the South London streets of my youth. What on one level is a gathering of a medley of random locations is going to be made meaningful in the context of this project by the emotion attached to them and how they reverberate with the associated footage we shot in Los Angeles in 2018.

A Stretham ex-cinema re-branded as a carpet store  - sunshine is
illuminating the cinemas former marquee, on which now reads in large movie
advertising letters, "CARPETS  LUXURY VINYL TILES   REAL WOOD   LAMINATES &
RUGS
Streatham’s former ABC cinema, now a Carpet shop

As coronavirus creates its own trail of death and disruption across the world, the team has been forced to take a big step back to avoid it’s deadly path, but while we do this in lock-down, we are still engaged in working on completing the final aspects for the R and D presentation, which we will be ready to show as soon as we get the green-light from Pamela’s UCL. The world has changed, but it will still need the surviving artists to reflect, recount and take action.

In the meantime we’d like to thank Arts Council England for their flexibility in us being able to extend our completion deadline in the light of the current situation.