This summer and autumn, Coney HQ is playing host to several placements. Among these is our fantastic Production Placement Tingchi, who has been part of Coney for the past few weeks working on Phoebe the Apprentice Ranger and other commissioned projects. Ting joins us on placement from Cloud Gate Dance Theatre. We’ll hand over to Ting, to share what she’s been up to so far:
From more than 100 to less than 10
Hi everyone, my name is Tingchi Chuang from the beautiful island of Taiwan. I am privileged to have worked in the immensely enjoyable role of Project Coordinator with Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, a renowned contemporary dance company and the first of its kind in Asia. With more than 100 full-time staff, the group comprises several specialties, such as marketing, programming, touring, accounting, development and outreach departments, from all of which I learnt a great deal… Though full of fun and offering many new challenges to stretch my life experience, after five years I have decided it is time to step right out from my comfort zone and breathe some wild fresh air, seeking out bold and innovative project opportunities in the world beyond Taiwan. (Time to switch on “Counting Stars” music in the background, start to dream, count my blessings and remember that which is important to me in life!)
Now I have found my next adventure, Coney HQ – totally different from Cloud Gate and based in London, one of my favourite cities in the world. Hooray! Coney is a brilliant interactive and award-winning theatre company in London organising great cultural projects, all with less than 10 staff. What I am going to share with you is all about the great joys and challenges in changing work from a company of more than 100 to less than 10, but a wonderful new family.
Phoebe the Apprentice Ranger at Polesden Lacey
After a well timed arrival in London’s unusually warm summer followed by two days hard work getting myself organised in a new East London home, my placement at Coney HQ started on day three. No gentle introduction but straight into the deep end! The first day’s challenge was to get to a new project at Polesden Lacey National Trust out in the countryside – a 45-minute train ride from London’s Waterloo station to Leatherhead followed by taxi down country lanes too.
Phoebe the Apprentice Ranger is my first family-friendly project. From my limited experience, I assumed it would be a cute and fun activity just for kids only. Engaging in the project however, I soon learnt the project to be not only cute and fun, but also educative and highly inspiring for both kids and adults. With five introductory shows and one review performance per day, each show would attract more than 6 families to join in. It is really amazing to see how just the two actors who play Phoebe the apprentice ranger and Lenny the ranger can create such great entertainment and education value around the gardens and estate. I think that is the great magic of an interactive experience.
Network Exchange Workshop
On the second weekend, I joined the Network Exchange workshop to explore the fabulous platform that Coney hosts to let new artists present their ideas, receive feedback and built connections. Tassos, Coney’s director, uses a few simple games to show the participants how to twist and improve the experience through small but highly effective changes in the rules.
It was a valued opportunity to learn how a professional interactive and immersive maker can create a game process. By listening to feedback and also sharing my ideas, somehow, I felt that I knew myself better and was ‘healed’ through the process.
Less than 10 but more than 100
My time has just flown by during first three-week journey as a placement in Coney and I am highly delighted to be able to share my gratitude. Everyone in the Coney team seems to have the abilities and attributes to be multi-functional, skilful and with the flexibility to take advantage of the multitude of situations and opportunities for theatre as they happen in London – each person a one-man army ready to knock down all the obstacles! Coney may have less than 10 staff but has undertaken many great projects with 100% efficiency and 100% originality. I therefore count myself supremely lucky to be one of them, under training as a ‘fighter’ to build up my confidence and skills in the great world of theatre and entertainment. Thank you so much!
Earlier in the summer via ArtsEmergency, we were joined by the brilliant Hosanna whose blog you can read here – and we’ll shortly be welcoming a student from the University of West London.
We love to meet new people, so if you’re interested in organising a placement at Coney HQ, give us a knock! We can only host placements as part of an established scheme or academic course, as part of our commitment to opening up access to the arts. If you’re not sure whether that’s you, get in touch for a chat.