From time to time, we bring you reviews of events which we’re part of, or just really enjoyed. GAPA’s Head of Events, Emilie Labourey, is part of a collective of young artists based in London, UK, known as the YoPro Collective. Here, she writes about one of their recent events.
As the annual Rich Mix Youth Takeover Festival drew to a close, the YoPro Collective brought a sense of community to the diverse festival with their Changing London Scratch Night. Formed a year ago at the Battersea Arts Centre, this is the second such event that has been run by the YoPro Collective in London this year.
Alongside being an opportunity for the acts to perform their fledgling works in front of a live audience, a combination of feedback forms and a Q&A session allowed a stimulating dialogue to take place. This democratisation of the process gives the regular theatre-goer an opportunity to shape and influence the end product, as well as giving the acts the freedom to experiment in front the invaluable sounding-board of an attentive audience.
The YoPro Collective’s stated aim that this would be a safe space for a free exchange of art and ideas set the tone for an evening which saw six performances in various stages of completion receive constructive input from 80-strong crowd.
It was heartening to see that the audience got involved fully with giving their critiques, posing their own questions as well as answering those asked by the acts, leading to some long and engaging discussions about the fundamentals of the work. The performers will not have left short-changed, having received plenty of interesting insights into their works.
The feedback was particularly interesting to hear on Elina Alminas’ solo performance Laura which involved a lot of audience participation. Written, directed and performed by Alminas, Laura puts us in the company of a drunk, embittered jilted bride, and we – the audience – are her unfortunate guests. Through her darkly humorous tirades, we’re berated, home truths are hung out to dry and accusations cast upon the unwitting ‘family members’ amongst us, removing the cloak on anonymity afforded to many audiences.
— #RMYA (@RMYAmbassadors) 14 August 2016
When some spectators loved the interactions, others felt uncomfortable. More than offering a definite answer on whether or not Elina should further push the audience’s participation, it was interesting to discuss about where the discomfort could come from.
Art is reliant on its relationship with its audience, which makes these events that place importance on the dialogue between performer and audience so valuable to the creation of bold and political art in London.