What's been happening with the Creative Consultancies?

Jun 30 2020

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Joe Rosser

For the last 3 ½ months, I've been offering one-to-one online Creative Consultancy for theatre practitioners, facilitators, therapists and academics. Together we've celebrated triumphs, grieved losses, delved into shadows, tapped into dream-spaces, planned projects and asked “Why ever not?” 

The one-to-one consultancy spawned a solo show peer-support group and a group creative dreaming day. This blog is a chance for me to reflect back on these projects and let you know what I've been up to, dear reader.

One-to-one Creative Consultancy

I've enjoyed the intimacy of working one-to-one as most of my work has been group-based for the last few years. Although I am devoted to understanding the mysterious serendipitous magic of group process, it's amazing how much you can get done in an hour when there's only one person! Most of the people who have approached me for one-to-one time, have attended one or more of my trainings. I think already having established a working relationship with each other in real life is helping us to jump straight into the themes and issues that need to be addressed. 

Some people have booked in for a one-off, to mindfully explore a particular creative block and others have been regularly checking into the creative clinic, getting support to let go of old patterns and devise new projects. It's a joy to guide all these processes. Here's some feedback:

Holly has a wonderful way of listening and gently leading the session onwards allowing insights to flow and I gained clarity and new understanding of the questions I had arrived with. Holly helped me explore themes of vulnerability and safety in a performance space. She led me through a guided meditation so I could connect with my inner resources and I felt this was a very helpful experience.”

I felt that Holly really understood me. She absolutely 'got' where I was coming from and she really 'heard' what I was saying. However, I got much more out of the session than that, I went away with a bit of a plan as well as some homework. I like homework because as a natural people pleaser, I'll make sure that I do it and I know this will move me forward. I'm very much looking forward to the next session.”

The Solo Show Group

Four of the theatre artists who booked in for one-to-one Creative Consultancy were all saying the same thing; lockdown had been a hugely prolific creative explosion for them and now they needed support and guidance to refine their ideas and grapple them into the shape of a solo show. They are all unique individuals, living in different parts of the UK, exploring very different themes through their work, but it seemed obvious to bring them all together into a peer-support group.

To kick off their process, I led a full day for them on Zoom. I gave them each a platform to share a little of their ideas, before workshopping how to give useful feedback and how to actively facilitate each other. We finished the day with co-creating a group manifesto and agreeing on group boundaries.

The group have been meeting regularly on Zoom. I will rejoin them for another full day's training in a few weeks time. It's too early to say, but this could potentially be a pilot project which can be repeated with other theatre artists in the future....

Here's how two of them described the training day:

The Solo Show day was a sensitively held space for the embryonic beginnings of individual show work. It was a place to externalise ideas that have been hidden, connect with like-minded performers at a similar stage in their creative process and discuss how we can support each other. It was an opportunity to be trained in gentle facilitation skills, so that we can take these forward as a group and encourage various artistic visions to grow into being.”

I really liked the day and found it useful. I liked the framework for feedback that’s very clear and helpful. I wish everyone I've ever devised a show with knew it because it saves heartache and frustration by simply changing the language or the question.”

Group Creative Dreaming Day 

A couple of months into lockdown, I led myself through my regular reflection / dreaming brainstorming process to help get clear about where I'd been and what I wanted to do next. I was wondering if I could do creative consultancy in groups. My brainstorming process had felt so useful to me, that I decided to pilot a brainstorming day on zoom, leading a group of willing explorers through my own creative reflection / dreaming process. 

The day consisted ofguided meditations, movement explorations and brainstorming to reflect on past projects and help the participants figure out what elements they want to take forwards. For the final part of the day, we entered dream time, where each participant came up with a smorgasbord of ideas for new creative projects.

I'd like to refine the plan for the day and try it again in the autumn, as it seems from the feedback that the participants got a lot out of this day:

A delicious day of imagining, delving and reflecting on our creative projects to manifest beautiful futures, supported by movement, music, exercises and fellow dreamers.”

A guided day to inspire your creative future! A chance to put daily life to the side for a while and notice where you are at - reflect on creative endeavours, what works, what could be improved, and then build a creativity wish list - all the best bits rolled into one - imagine all the possibilities and feel like some of them, at least, could really be achievable. I was left with three full flip charts of potential!”

It was a really good day and has given me a nudge (actually a well needed shove!) back to my creative self, thank you.”

What Happens Next?

Between these projects, co-managing / teaching / creating online content for Clown Workouts, preparing Beyond The Ridiculous for their first online show and chatting my head off on a million zoom panel discussions, you could say I've been pretty busy for the whole of lockdown. 

I'm going to take a break for July and spend a little time reflecting on all these projects. Hopefully soon, there will be some clarity about when I can teach and facilitate in real life again. I miss being in a rehearsal room and being able to tune into people's moods and energy, but I am grateful for all this experience I've acquired. Who knows what the future holds? But now that I've learned how to work online, the possibilities are endless.

If while you've been reading this blog, you've been thinking “I WANT A BIT OF THAT,” let my radministrator, Bee know by emailing info@hollystoppit.com and we'll see what we can do for you in the autumn.

If you'd like to read about my other lockdown projects, look no further:

Fools Play Sessions

Clown Workouts

Beyond The Ridiculous Online Show

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