Hooligan Art Community
Hooligan Art Community’s ‘Testing Grounds’ was an exploratory devised-theatre residency for the research and development of a new performance (working title: ‘Radiation’). Ukrainian, British and German artists gathered in Podil, Kyiv to collaborate in physical space for the first time together with Hooligan Art Community’s local artists. Together they devised material with themes relating to the legacy of Chernobyl, as artists who did not experience the catastrophe directly. Exploring ideas such as radiation, inheritance and decay, and facilitated by director Peter Cant, the group researched scenes through physical improvisation (with movement-director Mathis Kleinschnittger) and inquiring into personal and collective memories to construct narrative (with dramaturge Eloise Lally). Finally, the team tested their ideas in a ‘work-in-progress’ format before locally invited audiences.
The residency, Testing Grounds was an opportunity for research and exchange between Hooligan Art Community’s (HAC) regular artists from Ukraine and the invited artists from Germany and the UK, who share mutual values for a non-hierarchical devising process of theatre-making. It took place in cooperation with the Kosmos Tabir group (a creative cultural group who produce art and social projects in the Podil neighbourhood of Kyiv), which provided space-based in Podil.. Three weeks of research in which the team shared skills, developed capacities, devised and collaborated, culminated in three ‘open rehearsals’ in which we presented our findings to the local community.
International artist team members Eloise Lally and Peter Cant arrived on 2nd December for three weeks, culminating in open rehearsals (for testing, sharing and collective feedback) on 17th, 18th and 19th December. Peter Cant remained for two days of company evaluation on the 20th and 21st December. Movement director Mathis Kleinschnittger attended for the first week (1st to 7th December), sharing his expertise as a dancer and choreographer, helping the team identify a physical expression for the chosen themes. Dramaturge Eloise Lally supported the creation of narratives and characters relating to the theme of inheritance, building on research initiated by her online in March 2021. Director Peter Cant facilitated the making-devising process, actively ensuring equal voice was given to all participants (international and local) allowing for a multiplicity of voices and perspectives in the research.
Through this project, important artistic relationships were resumed, revived or newly formed, energising and strengthening essential creative networks and partnerships for Hooligan Art Community on the local and international levels, at a time when theatre creation and international exchange have met with great challenges due to the pandemic. The experience of moving offline and collaborating face-to-face as artists enabled a richer and more in-depth process between collaborators than would have been possible online. A strong relationship with Kosmos Tabir has formed which will help HAC develop work regionally in the future, building greater connections with inter-generational Kyiv audiences and interdisciplinary art events. Collaboration between artists has had a huge impact on individuals, including the learning of new skills and techniques and the mutual creation of respectful, non-hierarchical methodologies. The residency was a major step towards the creation of a future show. National producers and funders (incl. Gogolfest Ukraine), as well as representatives from international organisations attended open rehearsals, and conversations are in flow for the future life of Hooligan Art Community’s work and performances.
The theatre-makers’ residency took place in Podil, Kyiv on the premises of a former nightclub, based in a building that had been a cloth factory in the 20th century.