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“We really look forward to the development of Shallal and the local community’s involvement with The Performance Centre and are very encouraged by the fact that it is a real relationship.”
Jo Willis, Artistic Director, Shallal
Shallal is a well-established Cornish dance theatre charity project which, in line with its mission statement, is ‘providing a performance space for anyone in the community, regardless of sexuality, gender, race, age, physical, mental and emotional status.’
The Penzance-based improvisational company’s aim is to enable artistic expression, improve physical health and self-confidence, and provide a socially inclusive experience enhancing the members’ quality of life. And The Performance Centre has been working with Shallal to help achieve that both on stage and off.
The company was actually one of the first to perform at The Performance Centre – taking part in our celebratory launch weekend in October 2010. This featured an extensive programme of theatre, dance and music based work, showcasing the achievements of students, professionals and community projects.
It also served to launch our Platform Community Programme, which is creating unique opportunities for people from five diverse community performance groups, including Shallal. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, it provides access to University College Falmouth campus facilities and an extensive package of support, and offers the opportunity to demonstrate their work at a range of high-profile events at The Performance Centre.
Shallal’s Artistic Director, Jo Willis, said: “It is a great collaboration and a valuable relationship, and we were so pleased to be in at the beginning with the Performance Centre.’’
The Programme subsequently gave funding towards professional dance classes for Shallal members, provided by tutors at The Performance Centre, and the company was then invited to bring its principal annual show ‘Chromatics’ to the Centre in July 2011.
The company had previously staged its performances of this work in art galleries and out-reach venues, and Jo said: “It was an important experience for the members of the company to be able to perform there. Everyone said how much they enjoyed being at The Performance Centre, and it was good to see the show well-framed by lighting and sound of such high quality, so it was at its theatrical best.”
‘We have had some wonderful feedback, including “What a brilliant and inspiring show.”
That relationship with Shallal is continuing and building. The Performance Centre is providing studio space for weekly ‘Penryn Improvisation and Performance Group’ sessions during term time. These are open to people of all abilities and ages, offering a playful and exploratory introduction to Shallal’s style of dance theatre improvisation. Jo said
“Like any charity at the moment, we are really struggling to survive and this is brilliant- an on-going sustainable partnership that really helps.”