Tucked away in the heart of London's graffitied East End, there is a little rehearsal studio, with white-washed walls and a glass ceiling.
I tip-toed in, holding a coffee in one hand and a portfolio case of sketchbooks in the other.
Inside, I found a team of three dancers, three directors, and a puppet made out of stuffed baby clothes that was gaffa-taped together. This was the Slot Machine Theatre company, and they were working on devising a new show called The Boy, The Piano and The Beach. It's all about getting kids engaged with classical music, and it's going to premier at the Brighton Festival this May.
I have been contributing to the project as an artist. I have designed the character for The Boy. I came up with about five or six different kinds of boys, but it was the one in the yellow wellies who got the vote of confidence. He's going to be made into a puppet, and I can't wait to see how he is going to turn out.
And on this day, I was called in to create live drawings of the dancers as they worked out how to become the sea – waves, moving water, or surf on pebbles. Later, they were experimenting with ideas for sea monsters. I sat in the corner, scribbling away and tearing through pages as I tried to capture shapes, movement or gestures.
This kind of work is outside of my normal remit, but I have been loving it. Working collaboratively, pitching in with visual thoughts and ideas... it's been a lot of fun.
Slot Machine have been noted by the Observer newspaper for their “dazzling inventiveness... inspired theatre”. I'll post a link below for more info on the show. Could be worth checking out, even if you don't have kids!