I was sitting in the Anjali office and Anjali’s Director Nicole Thomson came into the office and said to me, we have been asked to take part in a project called The Tree of Light Project and told me it was for the 2012 Olympics which I thought sounded exciting. But then Nicole asked me would you like to have a go organising the project for Anjali’s involvement. I very nicely explained to Nicole I am not quite sure what it would involve. She said that it would involve planning the rehearsals, going to meetings and lots of other things and don’t worry I will give you lots of help and you should get lots of experience out of it. I told Nicole I would love to do it and got very excited about it .I was also nervous and frightened as it seemed to be a big project.
At a later date I met a lady called Karen Draisey, who came to Banbury to the Anjali office .We introduced ourselves and she told me what her job involved; she comes from a company called CIAO! (Children International Arts Organisation). Karen is co- founder and artistic director of the company.
Now let me explain about The Tree of Light Project. The Tree of Light Project is the main project getting funding from the Legacy Trust that is happening in the South East of the UK for the Olympics and Para Olympics. There are four areas of the event that are called Hubs; these areas are Oxford, Reading, Henley and Winsor. The central focus of the performance will be monumental sculptured tree which will be lit by LED light technology and powered by rowers and cyclists. The people who will design the amazing tree are from Block 9, well done to them, but they haven’t told us what the main design will look like – hopefully they will let us know soon.
Also we are going to get involved with a very talented musician called Orlando Gough. The main choreographer of the project is called Charlie Morrissey he is a professional dancer who is choreographing all the dancers to perform under the tree in the summer. There is also a tree specialist who will be involved in the project. This project will bring lots of groups together to collaborate in one spectacular event.
After this was explained to me we had to draw up a plan of action. One of the first things I had to do was go to a meeting at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. I met all the main people who are organising the event who are Karen Draisey, Steward Collins (Tree of Light Artistic Director), Block 9 (the designers), Orlando Gough (musician), Colin Tudge (Journalist and Writer) , Gabriel Hemery (Chief Executive Sylva Foundation) and Electrical Pedals. All of them gave a little presentation about their work and how they would be involved in the project.
We were very very lucky because they opened the museum just for us and we had it to ourselves. It was closed to the public so we got to walk around having a look at all the amazing objects. People who worked in the Museum gave us a list of things in the museum made of trees to try and find. Some of them were easy to find and some of them were very hard. By the end of the meeting I had learnt a lot more about the project and trees so it made me feel a bit more confident but there was so much information it was quite difficult taking it all in.
Then I had to try and find 30 people to take part in the project. This meant emailing, making lots of phone calls asking people if they would like to take part in the project. This involved finding out what would be the best times for most people getting together to rehearse. Nicole then rang around different venues to find space for us to use to rehearse in. Eventually we managed to find a venue at Banbury School and The Mill Art Centre. I then had to contact parents and carers with the rehearsal dates, times and venue for the four rehearsals we are having at the moment. A lot of our rehearsals take place in the evening and weekends. We will be having more rehearsals at a later date.
On Wednesday the 16th of November the tree specialist Richard Mulvany came to the Anjali Office to meet Aya Kobayashi our Resident Dance Artist. Aya is going to do the choreography for the four sessions. They then went to Banbury School to see what space we could use and discuss their different ideas as to what they could do.
On the 28th of November Sergio Cruz, who is a filmmaker who has worked with Anjali before, will be coming to Banbury School. He will film what we have made to show the other people in the project and what we have been doing. On the 8th of December myself and Delia, who is a volunteer who is helping me, will go to Oxford and Cherwell Valley Collage in Oxford. The whole project team will be meeting, which includes me and people from the other hubs, and all the specialists. This will be an exciting time for all of us to share and presents all of our ideas.
We already have 8 more dates for rehearsals to organise for next year. These rehearsals will be run by the project choreographer, called Charlie Morrissey, and his team. We will make a piece which will be performed twice in Oxford as part of the 2012 celebrations. We might also perform at the South Bank in London.
This is lots of hard work but I am enjoying it very much. I have learnt a lot by doing it and I’m getting more confident. I am sure I will get very nervous and more excited as the time gets nearer.