Thursday 11 July

Making shadows

Duet with hoists

My two cents worth for the blog: the experience with Experience Collider has simply transformed my daughter Jana. Each session she went to with a 100% commitment and then stories of the experience over the weeks are wonderful to hear and witness. Real friendships were formed, Jana shared with me how communication is "so much more than words, I can have full conversations signing". For her as she says " the children with disabilities changed to " just people, friends". Abilities, disabilities , the labels became secondary through this joint work in the production. Simply a group of teenagers working together . I can't wait to see the end product of this journey but for me the outcome is already more than I would have ever expected.

Anja Danner


It's been a huge three days! I really feel like we've had a massive progression, not only from Monday until today but from the start of the project to this point. Sometimes when you're in the middle of a challenge you wonder if you're achieving anything and then you think back to where we started and I feel like we've come on in leaps and bounds. Today we started structuring some material and that felt fantastic because we have all these bits and pieces on different apparatus and on the floor and when we started structuring it we could see that we had quite a lot of material!

It can take a whole day just to feel comfortable in the space after a break but each time we meet that time gets more condensed. So it might now take only an hour or a couple of hours to find that place.  Trust as we know it takes a long time to develop between two people and only a few of the participants knew each other before this started so everyone is on an even playing field developing trust. The level of trust is really starting to build and so we can get into experimenting and creating as soon as we get into the space. We're all finding a common language - Sam and Nel and Bernie too -and developing trust within our working practice. So it's definitely the theme for this project.  

There's also been huge progress in communication with the DADAA artists, with each other, with us and with the other kids. We're developing modes of communication which means we can understand each other more clearly. It was a real break through once we started being able to talk to each other.

I've particularly enjoyed learning how to speak to Evan. At first we started by using his book of images. We worked through them and he either blinks or nods when he is at the right category or image and that was wonderful when I was taught how to do that with him. Now we've gone on and made some of our own language around the work. This afternoon we were working on a section called Conductor where Evan is choosing, with me, different physical states through images - to direct the rest of the group. He really loves that - being the director and the boss is really cool for him.

And we were speaking at lunch about Leila. We have some signs and ways of communicating with her but we thought that before we work next time we'd like to actually do some training with her parents because Leila has her own signs which are not Auslan so we thought they could teach us the key signs and gestures she makes so that we could speak to her more frequently.

I think the DADAA participants have really changed in this process, as have the Circus kids. You can see really nice relationships forming, even in the lunch break where they're finding ways to communicate with each other.


Tuesday 16 April

Story objects

People were asked to bring in a small object. Something which had meaning or a story, felt interesting to see or touch but also something they would be happy to give away. It could be  a part of something like the wheels from a skate-board, a pair of sunglasses, a soft toy or a spiky ball. They may end up being part of the design work on stage or they may just contain their stories. One group talked about the tortoise for a long time. For some people it meant comfort because the tortoise has a shell. For other people the tortoise meant old in age and time. Hugo chose a tinselly paperweight because it was crunchy and had weight. Arlo chose a spiky ball because it felt good in his hand. He liked the colour - "pink is a happy colour, you don't get sad pink it's always happy pink". Dayna chose Pooh because he's soft and squishy and reminds her of childhood, of good times.


Creating material for duets and quartets in first section "Hold".

Tuesday afternoon

December workshop

This blog starts with the first public showing in December 2018. The Experience Collider team have been working for six months exploring ideas and creating material. Here are three short videos which show a play with silks, learning sign and Leila taking control (and joining in).

Horizontal Silk

Learning Sign

the group learns signs which will be used to name actions, duets and movements in the show.

Boss Leila

Leila becomes the Boss, the Conductor, choosing the actions which Laura calls out.


Hello Evan!

Evan couldn't be at the workshop so the group composed a greeting  with newly learnt signs, including his name sign.
Simone filmed it and sent it to him in hospital.