2017 Review

Dec 11 2017

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Joe Rosser / Holly Runs Off Into The Sunset

Wow, what a year! 

Holly Stoppit Workshops

2017 was the busiest year ever for Holly Stoppit Workshops and the first for not-so-new-now wonder-administrator / co-ordinator Beccy Golding. Thanks to Beccy’s canny mind, eagle eye and steady support, we’ve managed to promote and fill 16 different courses! That’s an incredible 159 people who came out to play with us! Here's a few of them from the summer. Remember the summer?

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Clowning Summer School 2017

This years courses were:

Each course has taught me so much about the incredible, beautiful and mysterious nature of the human condition, I feel full to the brim with insight, awe and gratitude for everyone who's opened the doors to their crazy-brilliant worlds this year. Thank you.

In Other Teaching News…

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Bath Spa Uni Comedy Module / 3rd Years

In April this year, I finished lecturing at Bath Spa Uni. After 2 years of delivering my two comedy modules to degree students, I decided to go my own way. I loved discovering how my work fits into an academic context, I’m so happy with the courses I created and I’m so proud of my students for what they achieved, but I wanted to focus on creating longer, deeper training courses for fewer students at a time. It’s my joy to support people to travel deeply into their imaginations and develop the courage to share themselves with others and my 5-day summer courses and weekly autumn courses have been giving me massive satisfaction in this respect. I'll return to uni teaching when the time is right, but for now I'm happy to be focussing on my own courses.

Shocking News! I Got Back On The Stage!

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Ed Rapley / Holly Stoppit's Work In Progress

That’s right, 2017 was the year that I stepped back on stage, after a 7 year hiatus! I decided to finally look my stage fright in the eyes, beginning the year by creating and performing 3 work in progress solo shows at The Wardrobe Theatre:

I learned ridiculous amounts through the process of creating and presenting these shows and I blogged my head off throughout the process. 

People keep asking me “What next for the shows, then?” and my answer is always, “The major thing that emerged from that process is I remembered that I am a writer! I yearn to find time to write it all up into something coherent and useful to others, but I haven’t made the time yet (watch this space for news on this!). But everything that I learned through my Work In Progress is filtering into everything I do.”

So what else have I been up to? (I hear you ask)

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Alex Tabrizi / Beyond The Ridiculous performing Cliff Jumping For Beginners

Well, apart from facilitating 16 workshops and creating 3 solo shows, you could say that I took on a few projects, this year!

I directed Liz Clarke in her solo show- Cannonballista; an incredible deep and fruitful process, which you can read about here.

I headed up New Works Works, Bath Fringe’s artist development scheme, for the third year running. I loved holding space for new and established street theatre artists to take measured risks and learn and grow.

I created and facilitated a week-long training for members of my company, Beyond The Ridiculous. This training focussed on assembling the inner cast, allowing each performer to discover and refine a cast of internal characters to support them in their solo improvisation. For the very first time, I performed alongside the company in our three day mini-fooling festival, Cliff Jumping For Beginners at The Wardrobe Theatre.

I somehow found myself saying yes to performing at A Night Of The Fool in Frome and Power In Performance at The Cube in Bristol. Every time I say yes, my new performance style is finding more definition to its form. At the moment, it’s looking a lot like improvised comedy performance lecture and I seem to be enjoying it...

What else? What else?

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: me / Possible Structures For Devising Theatre

Throughout the year, I was asked in to work with 12 different companies / individuals, to light fuses, mentor and facilitate mostly early stages of work:

  • Acrojou - exploring ways to integrate comedy and narrative with acrobatics.
  • Open Attic - exploring different approaches to storytelling / storytelling with elders
  • Liz Clarke - mentoring Liz through creating a transformational 2-day workshop for participants, using some of the devising structures Liz has used to create her work.
  • Modest Genius Theatre Company - checking in with grief and company play levels, before handing over to John Wright to direct the final version of Dying To Please You.
  • Suzie Glatt - exploring ideas for a new solo show which involves comedy, storytelling and a sewing machine.
  • Tim Norwood and Charlotte Blackburn - Devising structures to take care of their mental health during their devising process for Apocalypse of The Mind / co-devising a workshop for participants exploring mental health through writing.
  • Jenny Drew- mentoring artist Jenny Drew as she embarked on an autobiographical graphic novel.
  • Helen Duff- exploring form and content for When The Going Gets Duff.
  • Nicole A'Court-Stuart - exploring different approaches to devising circus / exploring audience connection + circus equipment. 
  • Syrcas Cimera - integrating narrative and play with circus.
  • China Blue Fish and Deborah Antoinette - Queen Cunt - finding the game within the scene.
  • Emily Souter Jonson - exploring content and structure for a storytelling show about Emily’s dad.

And Finally...

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Clown Sculpt made by Beccy Golding, Clown Summer school 2017

Totting up the number of artists and student-artists I’ve taught / facilitated / supported this year, including the Holly Stoppit Workshops participants mentioned at the top of this blog, I count a frankly ridiculous 246!!! (This may explain why I don’t always remember your names, sorry!)

I have loved the rich variety of experiences that have floated my way this year. It’s such a privilege to have these little windows into people’s art and lives and such an honour to be able to provide the holding for great discoveries to be made. I feel so lucky to have found my focus and grateful for the incredible amounts of support I’ve received along the way. Massive thanks to everyone who’s been there for me. 

Watch this space for what I've got planned for 2018...

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