Lucy Richardson is Senior Lecturer and Course Team Leader in Performing Arts at London Metropolitan University. She co-founded and is Director of The Facility: Centre for Performance as Research. Her own research interest, which includes both traditional and performance research, is in ‘creative processes and the politics of participation’. It includes writing about Project Phakama and The Mary Neal Project. She also continues to work professionally as an actress and director.
It was really really interesting for me to talk to Cat. Her attitude was so interesting. She doesn’t bring her folk dance into her contemporary practice because it’s she’s too emotionally attached. She said it was about her family and friends and a ‘good night out’ and she wouldn’t take that into her work.
I realised the politics of the folk movement is so complicated and I realised Lucy (N) had jumped on a political hot potato. Is folk an art form or a cultural form eg. Does it take trained people? The arguments are still very current, around gender issue eg. There are still teams that women can’t dance in. I felt a bit like a tourist in the conversation. Was I giving anything back?
Looking at the archive materials was really really interesting and I would like to have spent more time with it. Everything could have warranted a closer look and more talk. I was taken by the ‘bug’ picture. Did the action need a leader? Did it spontaneously arise from a community situation? How important is the personality of the leader? As a leader myself, am I just producing lots of little ‘me’s’? Was MN producing lots of little M.N.s? I really wanted to know more about her. And I wanted to hear more about the conflict she ran into with Cecil Sharp.
I think Phakama made a practical contribution. Along with Freddie’s contribution it was evidence that an exchange v folk world and the contemporary performance world is definitely possible.
It made me start thinking: How would I make a performance out of this? How do you move it on from the historical re-enactment and Victorian boots and bonnets?
The LN story is interesting too. How has it affected you (LN?). Finding out something you didn’t know and yet it resonates with your work and what you know? You are learning.
There are similarities with the Florrie story. Learning had a profound effect on her. That is always the case with learning, It transforms.
It’s a story. A story about people.