When the storm broke

Last Monday was a great day for us, with the launch of our new scratch night More Storm at Middlesex University. Right from way back when we started imagining it, we wanted it to be more than just a scratch night – we wanted it to be a way of foregrounding risky and innovative approaches to making theatre: we wanted to prove that you can scratch a design as much as you can scratch a script, or a concept as much as you can a performance.

Fortunately it didn’t stay an idea in our heads for very long, thanks to the awesome contributions of the artists and companies who performed: they were all fantastic on the night but they were equally brilliant throughout the process. It was a lot of fun to be surrounded by people who were as engaged with the idea as we are.

Although the day itself (for us anyway) wasn’t without stress and hairiness, that didn’t stop a sell-out crowd enjoying Johnny O’s anarchic work in progress Welcome To Rehab, Tom Hendry’s beautiful and meditative sound installation Cassette 1, Experimental Houses’ exciting exploration of masculinity in performance Muscle, a confessional half hour with Black Shoe in Ineffable, and legendary performance artist Janice Perry who shared an exclusive glimpse of her retrospective work in progress Naked At The Met in a rare appearance in London. Plus we scratched one of our own works in progress, Will’s new play Photographs, which kicked off the evening.

Probably should mention that the audience also enjoyed the copious amounts of free wine provided by Middlesex University and selected by Zakk, our artist sommelier in residence.

Audiences said of More Storm:

A wonderful coming together of artists at different stages of their careers.

A hugely important platform … More please.

And here are some things we learned:

  • John is the only person we know who can sink a bottle of red wine on stage and get away with calling it art.
  • There is an art to concealing boobs without properly concealing them.
  • We are hurtling into a future over which we have no control and to which we have no answers.
  • If you feed certain academics enough free wine they might end up locked in the building and set all the alarms off.
  • Black Shoe have a lot to do in the next five-to-seven decades.
  • You cannot move an actor into a spotlight through willpower alone.

Thanks for coming. If you did come, please, please tell us what you thought by filling out this quick and anonymous questionnaire – the whole point of scratch is to get feedback on the work, so your responses are crucial. And then we’ll see you in the autumn for the next one! (Date to be announced soon, but if you’re interested in taking part you can email me now and let me know what you’re thinking.)

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