Mindful of Little Things

25 oct 2014

A squirrel nimbly shows the path,
scampering leaps over uneven bark.

Blue sponge floors decorated with purplepinkgrey craggy stone rocks.
Can I trust myself to land precisely, turning slightly in mid-air?

Fear is rounded edges of a slide seen from a sunshine yellow slabs of concrete.
It’s not the distance or the height.
Legs feel leaden and inept.

Little rivets on a smooth round rail unbalance me.
My toes pay attention to grey craggy juddering.
One inch of a 2-metre wall taunts me.
Pink shattered glass on sombre remnants of a shelter that used to be.

Puddles make my shoes slip, my body tenses to compensate.
Taking one less step each time,
feet seeking familiar places.

White boundaries crossed out by silver slides.
Remembering when I had no fear of falling.


Safety controls


Stimulus: ‘But getting the wind kicked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air…your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal…’ (Sarah Kay, If I Should Have a Daughter)

Black cold fences with slippery rails.

Menacing guards to black shop fronts, black concrete black grating over sewers.

Dull gold tips pointedly dare you to trespass.

Falling into expected rhythms, the cop in my head says overcautious neighbours will report my playing as ‘suspicious behaviour’.

Green fuzzy weeds tickle me as I monkey crawl around jagged flower pots.


A marble bench with pig ears transforms into my shore, my lookout, my rooftop.

People stare though I’d like them not to. It’s setting off alarms (in my head) and I pretend to look at the menu of a Korean restaurant till they walk past. I’m slipping between worlds: stone grey pavement gives way like twisted ankles.

Unevenness and blind toes lead me to small yellow flowers.

Hope looks beautiful in the harshest environments.

The Idea Dreaming

dynamo washing liquid that tastes like midori seven up.
purple, green, pink and blue in a cooking pot,
it sounds like a washing machine going
set on infinity dry cycle
it dreams goober grape jelly and peanut butter
aspirations of space travel and inventions that beat sliced bread
the idea dreams when you are dreaming of the idea
and the best part is when it feels like dough just before it comes together in your hand

Performing Places launched!

JPEG folder cover

At the end of a 3-year research process on ‘Place’, Sally Mackey and the project team launched

Performing Places

When: Thursday 9th October, 2014, 9.00am – 2.15pm
Where: New Studio, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, Swiss Cottage, London, NW3 3HY

The launch took place at a symposium which addressed the following questions:

Why is place important?
How do we use performance with communities on matters of place?
How might performances invoke ‘place’, easing feelings of dislocation or prompting new ways of attending to sites?

The ‘Performing Places’ website offers a range of resources for a range of applied practices engaging with place facilitated by Oldham Theatre Workshop, Half Moon Theatre and Cyrff Ystwyth.

‘About Performing Places’ offers background through focusing on the theory which underpins the work and the people who have been part of this project. It also suggests navigation routes through the site as a whole and is therefore a good place to start.

‘Place Practices’ is the main section of the site, offering examples of work carried out with community groups in the three linked projects.

‘Other Places’ offers links to examples of additional work in this field.

Programme Overview

9.00am Arrival, registration, coffee
9.25am Welcomes and introductions
9.35am Keynote Speaker: Ade Kearns, ‘Place attachment, community cohesion and mental wellbeing’
10.15am Performing Places – Sally Mackey and project team
11.05am Coffee followed by a sharing of practical Interventions (guest speakers): Sarah Cole, Canan Salih and Adelina Ong
12.15pm Conversations about performing places
1.00pm Lunch
1.45 – 2.15pm Final information gathering and ending.

Background information

The symposium and website were outcomes of a three-year AHRC funded research project on ‘Challenging concepts of “liquid” place through performance practices in community contexts’ with RCSSD, Aberystwyth University, and arts organisation partners including Cyrff Ystwyth (Aberystwyth), Half Moon (London) and Oldham Theatre Workshop.


Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Theatre Applied: Centre for Research in Performance & Social Practice

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
This work is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Each year the AHRC provides funding from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities. Only applicants of the highest quality are funded and the range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.

Cyrff Ystwyth at Aberystwyth University

Half Moon

Oldham Theatre Workshop

Aberystwyth University are AHRC funded Co-Investigators and in-kind support has been given by Half Moon Young People’s Theatre and Oldham Theatre Workshop.

Sally Mackey, Professor in Applied Theatre and Performance, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.

Margaret Ames, Senior Lecturer, Aberystwyth University.

Mike Pearson, Professor of Performance Studies, Aberystwyth University.