Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Dinosaurs Dramaturgy!: Dominic Berry @ Edfringe 2016

Hispaniola (Venue 79) ​
Aug 6-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-27  12.20pm

Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Dinosaurs!-Dramaturgy DatabaseA young troll girl finds herself defending the town from a gang of destructive, deadly dinosaurs! Recruiting allies – a goblin wizard and flame breathing dragon – does she have what it takes to save the day and calm these dangerous dinos' raging reign? Here is the fourth exciting adventure show from Dommy B (BBC’s Rhyme Rocket), following highly popular national tours of The Dragon Who Hates Poetry (co-produced by Z Arts), Spark, the Goblin Wizard (co-produced by Hamilton Project) and When Trolls Try to Eat Your Goldfish (co-produced by Action Transport Theatre, Z Arts and Big Imaginations)

What was the inspiration for this performance?
I have been inspired by how offended I have been by so many of the show I have seen aimed at children recently. 

I have found the representations of gender in many shows I've seen really regressive and disheartening. 

Jokes around the supposed hilarity of men being effeminate, and representations of young girls as delicate creatures incapable of being strong or funny do not make me feel optimistic. I have seen a lot of this and wanted to write something as an attempt to offer some kind of counter balance.

I am aware I am a white, cis gender man. So, whilst wanting to create something fun and positively representing more modern attitudes towards gender, I didn't feel doing this alone was my best option.

My show, Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Dinosaurs! is a free fringe show aimed at 5 to 10 year olds and their families and has been written by me in collaboration with pupils from pirimary schools near where I live, the teachers there, and a Manchester feminist literature group called Stirred. 

I have been sharing drafts of the writing with these groups at regular stages with the aim of coming up with an hour's entertainment that is really enjoyable, silly, exciting and jokey but at the same time offering characters that are relateable to more children than just young boys who are good at sports.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
I love the work of Stirred. They are a Manchester based feminist poetry and performance group who create art just for adult audiences. Their input to this process has been invaluable. I just asked them if they wanted to be a part of what I was making. I was very happy they said yes! the same with the children and teachers from schools I've worked with. I guess the longer you're in the arts the more contacts you build and more great resources you have to draw on.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I got interested in performance from seeing artists who I did think were excellent - Gerry Potter, Rosie Garland, Michael Rosen, Lemn Sissay, Jackie Hagan - I made art for adult crowds for a long time before also starting to make work for younger audiences. There are some amazing groups who I've loved seeing work from - Z Arts in Manchester and Action Transport Theatre in Cheshire are top of the list - but, as I said earlier, what I have often seen at Edinburgh Fringe for kids has often left me less enthused.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite! Writing is rewriting! Find people who understand what your original intent was, people who agree with you that that intent is interesting and worth pursuing, who will then help you make what you make achieve those original goals the best way possible.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Laughter, adventure, realisation that its not just macho men who can be the heroes who save the day.

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