Receiving a postcard is like receiving a small gift. A small gesture of friendship over distance and a reminder of a connection made before. It is a particular form of postal communication, a simple ‘hello, I’m thinking of you”, that you can hold and put up on your fridge. A postcard is a symbol of communication, of transparency, of friendship.
I have been commissioned to create a theatre piece for The Yard Theatre’s festival The Theatre of Great Britain. For this commission I aim to use the postcard and what it symbolises to explore the ideas and experiences of British colonialism, because I see this period of British history as the ultimate moment of the Theatre of Great Britain. This is also the period when the postcard flourished, and was for so many people a connection between what they had left behind and what they were moving towards. In our current time of constant migration I believe it is important to look at how we maintain contact with what we have left behind, and to ask questions about future connections that can be made.
The project is inspired by the Hands Across the Sea postcards of the early 20th century that were sent between Britain and her colonies in the thousands, with the specific purpose of maintaining a network.
The focus of my project will be using the postal system to create a network that explores ideas of connection and (post)colonialism today. I aim to establish relationships between myself and people throughout the British Commonwealth and am currently identifying addresses in each country of the Commonwealth that uses the name of Queen Victoria, for example Victoria Street or Victoria Park. I will send a postcard to a number of these addresses, asking for a postcard in return that discusses ideas of colonialism and (post)colonialism and opens up a possible connection between us. The postcards that I receive back will form the material for text, movement and imagery for a performance piece for the theatre festival.
What I expect is a show with many voices that all speak so as to be heard by people far away. The sea will be important, and episodes will flow in waves, overlapping and in conversation with each other. There will be a single performer who uncovers and explores these voices, becoming some of the characters, while simply reading others and making visible the connections, or lack there of, between them.
As well as making a performance, this project will consist of an exhibition of postcard works and archive materials that I will create throughout the project. These will deal with the same subject matter, making use of the postcards in a different way, and will be exhibited at The Yard Theatre during the time when the performance is running.
Your kind donations will enable all the facets of this project to happen, by funding the printing and posting of the postcards, the rehearsal process and exhibition costs.