In a couple of weeks I am going to the USA for a family wedding, and I’ll be back in mid-September. So I thought I would start to get next term’s Solo group in place before I leave.
I found an interesting article on the internet about Dana Gioia, former chairman of US organisation National Endowment for the Arts. This passage stood out:
Art is not escapism, but an invitation to activism. I dare to believe that our artistic voice can light a fire, encourage change, and cause improvement in our communities.
The article continues by asking “What do we have to say? What does our community need us to say?” These are Solo questions.
One of my favourite moments (there were many) from the Solo festival this year was in the conversation following Jason Burns’ show, when Mark Drummond acknowledged Jason for “bringing dignity to co-dependence”.
That’s the kind of message we can explore together as a community that doesn’t surface very often and can really make a difference.
Indeed Jason’s entire show celebrated our human capacity to triumph over adversity, showing that our future does not have to be predicted by our past; declaring that at every given moment we have the power to say “This is not how the story is going to end.” (Thanks Jenny!)
And what about Emily Faircloth’s show, which shone a light on the message that even in times of absolute horror and conflict we can still maintain our dignity and our humanity.
Indeed all the performances raised questions—about loss and love, bondage and freedom, living and dying, war and peace, habit and choice. Each one contained a message of hope and possibility, for us to grapple with as individuals and as a community.
Messages like this not only improve our communities, but liberate them.
We had trouble with filming this year but we did manage to get Jason’s performance recorded (thanks Emma). I will get it up on the website and on YouTube when I get back from the States, and will keep you posted.
We will start again on Thursday 24 September—coffee at 7.00 for a 7.30 start, finishing at 10.00.
There are 10 places in the group. It will run weekly through to 10 December. The tuition is £150.00 for the term, payable in advance. Please let me know a.s.a.p. if you want one of these places.
I will confirm the venue.
If you think you know anyone else who would like to be in the group, please feel free to pass on the information and put them in touch with me.