In development 2023/ A proposed musical 2025
WE/THEY CAME FROM UKRAINE
Stories of those who left a war-torn country to survive and those in Weymouth and Dorchester who hosted them
On the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, this proposed pertinent, and cathartic Performing Arts (PA) R&D project will gather a legacy of stories, giving voice to those telling them in a unique moment of our community’s history. This will be realised during a series of theatre/storytelling workshops. In the future, with ACE funding, this R&D will be further developed into a theatre piece with music to entertain and illuminate the public re the refugee’s and host’s situation.
Ukrainians – Natalia (a photographer), her husband (with chronic Asthma), and their 10-year-old son have a home, 20-miles from the Russian border. Leaving behind her husband to look after elderly parents who would not leave their homeland – Natalia and her son came to the UK, sponsored by a Weymouth family. On the surface, her son is happy in his allocated village primary school but misses his dad. She is often anxious and sad. Both are keen to join the project. The Sunflower Café in Weymouth shows the skills of another Ukrainian woman, Irina. She offers typical food from her homeland and has her story to tell. Irina says ‘Weymouth has made them welcome, and the feeling amongst Ukrainians is of huge thanks – this project would help to inform about Ukraine before the war, its culture, and how they wish to return. Natalia’s hosts have made her, and her son part of the family in every way. She believes it’s important to gather and share their stories, however painful at times. Another host, Ellie – a hairdresser – found it a shock when during the first few days all the food provided had been cooked and eaten. A learning-curve of communication that with empathy worked in the end. Some host partnerships have not worked; their stories are equally important.
Proposed Project Process and schedule.
Through storytelling workshops – AsOne Theatre Company wishes to record as a legacy, the all-round Ukrainian and hosting experience from all sides, in Weymouth, and surrounding areas. From the necessary sudden departure decision for families to leave Ukraine, or here to sponsor/host a family; the journey between for both parties; and the experience itself; and how it has affected their lives? The war is ongoing. Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are dying daily. It is fresh, raw, and upsetting for those safe, yet apart from loved ones in a foreign land. AsOne has sought, and gained appropriate, knowledgeable partners, providing a safe, and welcoming venue – St Aldhelm’s Church Centre, Spa Road, Weymouth. They are already a Ukrainian hub for events and advice, and will share contacts, expertise, and space in kind welcoming AsOne’s proposed project. They also want to weave our project with their events. They are in receipt of a Welcome Fund from DCF. We know that in Dorset there are now many professional Ukrainian creatives who have fled their homeland. We would like to provide paid work for them with this performing arts project. We already have met a photographer; a café owner; a musician. We have talked about the project, and it has been described as ‘needed, challenging, and inspirational’; the planned process ‘sensitive, and professional’. Therefore, we will provide simple development steps:
In development 2024
The Faraway Woman
the public and private thoughts of another complex woman
Enid Blyton said that ‘she thought as a child and wrote as a child. She was a forever child’.
Love her or loathe her – she wrote prolifically 10,000 words a day with a typewriter on her lap. Labeled racist, classist, and banned in libraries for years – her books have enjoyed a huge resurgence in sales in recent years. But who was the woman that kept her own children hidden, if not locked away, whilst she entertained other children with tea and readings from her books. What was – her childhood like or her two marriages? Another complex woman explored by AsOne theatre company. Blyton adored the Purbecks; Swanage where she holidayed, bought a home, and was inspired to write the Famous Five. George was born in Enid’s image. A girl who whistled, had her hands in her pockets, was brave, kind and had adventures. Simple plots, characters, simple morals – read by millions.
What made her who she was and write what she did?
We are currently in the process of commissioning a play from actor, director, and playwright – Jamie Chapman. It will be about the woman behind the writing. Jamie is well known on television for roles in Extras, Red Dwarf, Coming of Age, Eastenders. Jamie Chapman is an actor best known for his regular role (Brains) in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s sitcom ‘Extras’. He played ‘Ziggy’ in ‘Red Dwarf’ (Series 12) and recently appeared in cinemas in the festive comedy ‘Nativity Rocks’ (playing Tony – evil henchman of Craig Revel-Horwood!) Other TV credits include ‘Catherine Tate’s Nan’, ‘Eastenders’, ‘Doctors’, and ‘Coming of Age’.
Planned for the future
Shiny Blue Dress
A chilling new play. A brave testimony of family abuse from Bournemouth is told through a tale of dreams & allegory.
A damaged child – validated by the gift of a blue shiny dress – now a mother & wife, finds her voice – escaping ‘The tangled-wood’, ‘The crying doll’, & ‘The pack of silver-haired dogs’. This chillingly relevant drama is aimed to give goose bumps, illuminate & stir our hearts to act. Blue Shiny Dress’s challenging mix of words, puppetry, music, film, & theatrical effect will open wounds to heal. But importantly it will celebrate bravery & hope.
Theatre’s nationally and Secondary Schools – for info: 01305835541