A week has now passed since our first GOLKK tour and we have all had a chance to breathe! The tour saw our current show 'Peeking in the Portrait' travel to different gallery spaces around Kent, merging the worlds of visual art, photography and theatre. We met some brilliant local artists (and art lovers!), and had the chance to see 'Peeking' in a new light (and without lights... tech was interesting!).
The tour was an immense learning curve for us, and we wanted to share some of our experiences, both good and bad! I started this post as a list of top tips, then found myself having more and more to say... so instead we are going to bring you blog posts ALL WEEK! To kick us off, I want to talk about the spaces we performed in, and how much impact that had on our show.
We had the pleasure of performing in some really unique spaces during the tour. Some of our spaces were wonderfully small and intimate, such as Space Seven Gallery and Shane Record Paintings, both in Folkestone. Our audiences experienced the show in such a personal way, and the subtleties of interaction in the piece grasped their attention. I think we found these smaller spaces really special, as we had no choice but to blend the world of 'Peeking' with the world of the local artists. In Shane's gallery, our polaroid exhibition sat directly amongst his own beautiful canvases of the Folkestone coastline. Suddenly our portraits, the portraits of our muse Lady Clementina Hawarden, and Shane's work were all in conversation with one another. By allowing ourselves to be really flexible with the show and it's staging, we discovered a new level to the piece - one where art and theatre began to blur more truthfully.
We also had larger spaces, such as the Turner Contemporary, Margate, and The Horsebridge in Whitstable. These spaces were large, airy and conventional "gallery" spaces - which gave a whole new perspective on 'Peeking'. Our audiences' took the position of "spectators", quietly observing as if we were a painting. This gave a totally new reading of the show, and was actually very challenging for us - we suddenly found ourselves performing to almost cautious audiences, unsure as to how to respond during the piece. And yet, these audiences later told us how engaged they were, contemplating the meanings behind the piece and our exhibition. They had simply engaged in a new way - in a more considered way perhaps - in a less "theatrical" way.
When deciding to take 'Peeking' to galleries, we had been really interested in how the show would be influenced by an arts space rather than a theatre. What we hadn't anticipated was that the show would be so different, and that audience experiences of the show could be so sensitive to the surroundings. We realised that intimacy with our audience is so important: whether this is being right up close, or making sure we can use our specific lighting, we now know the key things that are important to us, our show, and our audiences. Playing with our spaces so dramatically was invaluable to us - and we would highly recommend it!
Stay tuned for more post-tour musings!