The creative space to dance my heart out

From volunteering at the first few fringe festivals to developing Out There Theatre company in 2008 to becoming part of The Monday Collective; Barnstaple Fringe TheatreFest has been and always will be very close to my heart.

Having the creative space to dance my heart out as part of a piece I was solely responsible for at age 17 was one of the most wonderful feelings I will remember and keep in my heart forever. The audiences were small but perfectly formed and encouraged me to keep creating and experimenting. So I did. 

Meanwhile, over the next few TheatreFests, I watched, supported and consumed as much theatre as a little country girl with limited (at the time) access to theatre possibly could. I have enjoyed so much bizarre, wonderful, thought-provoking, belief-challenging, awe-inspiring pieces of theatre now thanks to the Barnstaple Fringe TheatreFest.

Over the years, with Out There Theatre and The Monday Collective, I have created dance pieces, physical theatre pieces and facilitated experimental pieces. All of these were well supported by the awesome community that surrounds Fringe TheatreFest which allowed me to be bravely creative and push boundaries of what theatre is and what it means to people.

One of my favourite pieces Out There Theatre developed was Check In (pictures below) where we captured Facebook as it was in that time creating the script depending on people’s (including at times the audience’s) Facebook posts. All the music, words and dance moves were completely based upon what people had shared and posted online. We had so much fun creating that show and I would love to read back the script now to see how Facebook has changed since that time! (Looking back at the photos has also jogged my memory of when Luke smashed a wine glass and all our hearts – including the technicians – stood still for fear of the smashed glass in our bare feet! Sorry!)

I also fell in love with the most recent Out There Theatre piece Smidge – the journey of an imaginary friend as its human grows up. Facilitating, researching and directing this piece gently led me towards my career of nurturing children’s imaginations and mental well-being as class teacher in Primary Schools. I haven’t returned to theatre making since Smidge, but perhaps one day soon…

Hayley Joy

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