Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Arts Center / Centre

It is brilliant to finally be here. We met Pamela Tatge the venue’s director back in January last year when the show was in New York. Planning for this trip essentially stared then with Barry coming over to see the show a few days later and us talking about the university researching statistics for us. Around Easter time Nick, our producer, happened to be visiting relatives near Connecticut so he called in for a site visit. Subsequently there has been an extended email correspondence.

We have been made to feel extremely welcome. First thing we were introduced to the venue’s impressive coffee making equipment and pointed to Tea cupboard (wisely both these sections of the kitchen are segregated). There was then a planning meeting with the venue staff during which we plotted through our packed itinerary and, almost before we had got down to work and certainly before a grain of rice had hit a sheet of paper we were guests at a introductory lunch during which we met other arts centre and arts faculty staff.

By mid afternoon a plan had was starting to emerge and some big piles were under construction. The gallery sets the rice off beautifully, it has a cork tile floor, walls comprised of vast rectangular stone bricks and huge windows. There is enough shape and character to give us natural sections and journeys.

At six our first team of volunteers arrived for training. They seemed like a keen bunch and rather than too much talking we launched rapidly into an apprenticeship scheme using them as extra hands to speed things along.

At eight we scooted over to an open rehearsal in which the Wesleyan University Orchestra was put through its paces playing a piece especially composed for them by Barbara Croall. Aware of the amount of prep required for tomorrow and having recently spent two days watching Birmingham Contemporary Music rehearse I decide to duck out a bit early.

Graeme cooks a fine risotto and surrounded, by the classics of Russian Literature, for my room is the study of a Professor of Russian Studies, I fall asleep listening to Fighting Talk.



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