A Small Town Anywhere ran very successfully in 2009 in a co-production with BAC, but the beautifully spooky townspace that the playing audience inhabited was anything but small. This makes it much harder to tour than we’d like for a piece we still care about very much. So we’re back in a development room not only exploring how we can strip the Town down to fit into a much smaller container than the current cargo ship – ideally a transit van, or even a suitcase – but also how we might open it out to become more responsive to the place where it lands, even how a smaller operating team travelling might recruit local assistance to remake the show.
This development is being supported by BAC and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation as part of a bigger exploration of how Coney’s play best travels responsively and responsibly, how it might be the same and different from traditional models of touring theatre.
There was a small scratch at BAC recently that broke open the old Town good and proper, demolishing it down to its sparest foundations so that we can see how to build it back up again. Even broken, it was still reassuringly fun and immensely useful, thanks to a most game audience for both their play and an hour-long discussion with team afterwards. Here’s exclusive CCTV footage of “Monday night in the Town” which you can see is very small indeed.
For this scratch, four of the original co-authoring team – Tom Bowtell, Annette Mees, Ben Pacey, and Tassos Stevens – were joined by Simon Katan. It was fed by learning from a new game-engine run in a Playday in Melbourne, and by ongoing research interviewing Melbournites about their small-town-like communities.
There may be more under-the-radar scratches forthcoming – keep peeled to @agencyofconey on Twitter, or Brer Haas or Henri Georges on Facebook if you want to hear about these first. We hope that the Town will be travelling later this year or early next.