Building Temporary Utopias

As a touring company we’re constantly working in other people’s spaces, or in temporary, transient and sometimes less-than-perfect spaces. We want to distill the ingredients of our own particular brand of creativity, and then work out how to bring them with us wherever we go, creating – perhaps – a portable rehearsal kit; something that provides exactly what our performers, designers, stage managers, director and producers need. A Temporary Utopia Kit, you might say – or a Tuk Tuk! With our Tuk Tuks we want to be able to rock up at a disused shop or warehouse, roll out our kit and build a bespoke creative space that works for the whole company.

We called in Emma Chapman and Lucy Osborne from Studio 360 (the brains behind Paines Plough’s Roundabout) and David Lockwood from The Bike Shed Theatre to help us unlock some ideas. We also assembled friends and colleagues including performers, designers and stage managers to help. Between the 15 people present we realised we’ve made shows in a vast amount of very different spaces, from factory floors to Cornish cliff tops. We all agreed that it’s an exciting part of the process, but that it can also be hard work as not every space is suitable and needs to change over time. The first step in creating our Tuk Tuks has been identifying what those needs are. So Emma and Lucy got us thinking about what we want from a space – from the most basic (heating and light) to the wildest dreams (hanging cocoons! Kittens!).

We all agreed we want shelter, companionship, and security. A space that is clean and warm and flexible. That can accommodate a company rehearsing, a band tinkering and a producer making phone calls. We want to be able to make our dinner in it, and have a nap in it. We want to store a whole lot of props and costume. And we want it to reflect Wise Children’s personality. Not too much to ask then.

Now Emma and Lucy go away with all our ideas and come up with some possible solutions. We’re really excited about what the Tuk Tuks will be, and what new opportunities they will open up for us.

Author: Poppy Keeling

Executive Producer at Wise Children

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