Have you ever been given an opportunity to do something truly amazing?
In June 2018 I was asked to help write a theatrical performance about the teenage brain. More so, about the relationships between youth and parents in the context of science and the teenage brain.
Having not written a play before, or for that matter studied Drama at school, naturally I jumped at the chance.
BRAINSTORM, the original play, is a collaboration between neuroscientist Professor Sarah Jane Blakemore and the UK youth theatre group Company Three. You can watch the TED talk from Professor Blakemore online. It’s truly inspiring.
Dubbo’s own youth theatrical group, Black Box Creatives (BBC), was keen to adapt and mould the play. They wanted to retain the complexity of teenage relationships within the structure of how the brain actually develops.
But to do so in the context of a regional Australian city. And to shake up the messaging.
Collaboration began in earnest between the BBC team and cast. Using the scaffold of the original production, after purchasing the rights of course, a new production was created.
In the end a powerful script emerged, giving the cast an opportunity for their own voices to be heard.
The Dubbo BRAINSTORM is an exploration of HOPE.
It’s a performance told through the eyes of our youth. An experience rather than a traditional play. There isn’t a clear start, middle or end.
Complimented by a soundtrack that spans generations as well as provocative light sequences, the audience are encouraged to remember and participate rather than watch from afar.
Audience members and cast alike are challenged in the ebb and flow of the actions and dialogue. Beliefs are tested.
Mostly, however, BRAINSTORM is about our desire to establish a safe platform. A desire to continue the conversation long after the performance has ended.
Nothing like this had been done before. To be honest, we were unsure of how Dubbo audiences would react.
Two shows were held in DRAMA, a small theatre at Western Plains Cultural Centre on 13-14 July 2018. We believe this was the first time BRAINSTORM had been performed outside of the UK.
I’m happy to report that success and positive feedback means we are now looking at extending the performances in the near future. This is only the beginning.
I would like to thank BRAINSTORM’s Director, Camilla Ward of Black Box Creatives, Shanae Gosper, Assistant Director as well as Andrew Glassop, Manager of Western Plains Cultural Centre and Lee Hilder for all things tech and lighting.
To the amazing cast and crew – thank you for trusting me with your precious thoughts and allowing me the freedom to put them into words and actions.
Of course this production was not possible without the support of Create NSW, Orana Arts Inc and the Western Plains Cultural Centre.