Thoughts from The Collaborators – Part 2

It’s been a brilliant launch to Virtual Collaborators third week, with our third Guardian feature (read here), and Monday night’s live stream with Yash Gill (watch here).

The first round of this project finishes on Sunday 17th May, but we are making plans for phase 2 and will keep you posted (a bit like the UK government).

Many artists have expressed that collaborating digitally through this crisis has been a bit of a lifeline. Last week, we posted a few thoughts from our participants.

We promised more, so here they are!

As always, please keep following us on www.youtube.com/virtualcollaborators

VC x

Working on #virtualcollaborators has been a hugely enjoyable process, and entirely different from how I have worked in the past. I’m an author. It’s a solitary endeavour. And often your relationship with your readers is one you don’t always get to engage in. Once the book is done, it’s done. One thing I love about writing for television and for theatre is the chance to collaborate. Working with Sacha and Milli has been a revelation. At no point did I deliver a script and they stage it. It felt like a true collaboration. From our intimate conversations about mental health and grief over WhatsApp, often late at night, through to sharing links to documentaries, stand-up sets and articles, it has been a live and lively conversation. It’s been a gift, working on this. Not being able to be in the same room as people you’re working with has been hard and isolating. So this virtual collaboration has been a really important chance to be in the room. I’m so excited for everyone to meet Yash Gill, and for us to have a long overdue conversation about mental health amongst South Asian men. 

Nikesh Shukla, Writer: Yash Gill’s Power Half hour

Julia and I were originally a part of the Powershare hosted by Abi Zakarian and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. As the actual performance of it got postponed due to the pandemic, we were delighted to have the opportunity to work together on this project. Hannah McClean had given a tour de force performance in The Thelma’s hit show Ladykiller, so we were really excited to see how she would interpret the text. The main goal was finding different approaches and ways to communicate the text to an audience who can’t be there live but are instead engaging digitally with the material. It has definitely been an exciting challenge, as this is something new for all of us and we needed to discover how to adapt.

Julia Levai (Director) and Danaja Wass (Writer): In the Mourning

It’s been a really exciting creative challenge. As we’re all in separate spaces we’re working in an entirely new way, and have been reflecting on how we embrace this new way rather than thinking about it as a compromise. A lot of theatre-makers are feeling grief for our industry. I think it’s important that we give ourselves permission to feel like it’s difficult to be creative at the moment. Both the piece and our way of working have been about making space for that. It’s been a nourishing, collaborative process.

Milli Bhatia, Director: Yash Gill’s Power Half Hour

Being in lockdown has brought such an array of different emotions to the surface. It’s taken its toll on my mental health, because I’m forced to ‘sit’ in feelings, which I’ve got so used to avoiding. It’s why finding a creative output, and thinking outside the box has become more important than ever. Not only has it allowed me to find balance, but also a sense of clarity going forward. Virtual Collaborators has been the perfect vehicle to facilitate creativity. It’s encouraged me to take myself out of my comfort zone, and connected me with incredible artists I’ve never had the opportunity to collaborate with before. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it.

Sacha Dhawan, Performer: Yash Gill’s Power Half Hour

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