Creating ‘Sponge’: Love & nurture

 We are delighted to get a glimpse into the creative process of one of our favourite companies, Turned On Its Head, as they rehearse for their new show Sponge. In this first blog, we meet some of the children that inspired and influenced the development process…

Rupert

Rupert

Handing something precious over into someone else’s care is always difficult, even if you trust them to be capable and skilled. The first months of dropping off your baby to nursery school (or whatever their first steps into childcare are) involve well hidden anxiety on the part of the parent. What will the parting be like? Will they be safe? Have fun? Grow a little, learn a lot?

Tomorrow Oksana and I hand over the show we’ve been R and D’ing for twelve months. Our ‘Sponge’ baby. We’ve loved it, nurtured it, played with it. We’ve seen it grow from a tiny seed of an idea into a tottering toddler, with so much potential and possibility. And now it’s time to pass it on, this precious thing, created with love not just by us but by the families we’ve worked with over the past year.

Sophie

Sophie

There’s been Rupert, who, not to be outdone by his twin sisters, has loved plopping into buckets, feet in the air, being swung around, and generally being in the midst of miles and piles of sponges. Sophie – who loves spontaneously connecting the sponges with such deep concentration and skill. And there’s Dougie, who loves small spaces, and whose mum Hope has created the ‘mumpetition’ (a competition between the mums). Her ‘bucket on the head’ moment was sublime! Try it, it’s not that easy… a definite contender for Time Vine’s “a pen beind the ear” gag. Love that. Then there was a security guard at MAC Birmingham who wanted to eat the entire Sponge Show display… Pica anyone? There’s also our Sponge poster boy Levi who just keeps giving us so mjuch joy with his cheeky antics…

Levi

Levi

Our dancers Shane and Louise are getting a rich and fertile inheritance. Just look at all that curiosity. They are ‘in loco parentis.’ Taking great care of not only the show but our audiences as they dance, create and perform the show with them. And rather like that first day at Nursery we think: What will the parting be like? Will they grow a little, learn a lot? One thing is for sure… there will certainly be a lot of fun….

Written by Liz Clark, Artistic Director of Turned On Its Head as well as an independent dancer, choreographer and creative practitioner based in Loughborough, in the East Midlands. Liz is currently researching the neuroscience behind the creative play and improvisation that is the cornerstone of the company’s work, and it’s impact on the very young children they work with and perform to. Follow @TurnedOnItsHead

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