Levi King’s Emerging Director Residency – Week 3 Blog Post

Fresh Milk shares the third blog post by Barbadian actor & director Levi King, the current participant in the Emerging Director Residency Programme held in collaboration with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF). The third week came with its own set of obstacles to overcome, in terms of casting choices, remaining on schedule and evaluating strengths and weaknesses; but Levi has risen to the challenge, keeping in mind that a residency is best experienced as a space for growth and problem solving rather than a point of pressure. Read more below:

Third week curses

So, I heard one time that productions are sometimes plagued in the third week (that is, productions with a four week rehearsal time). This means that in the third week it looks like things are about to fall apart, much like the mid-point of a screenplay.

NARRATOR (O.S.)
Will they be able to do it? Can they overcome the obstacle?

Well this third week was challenging. On good advice from my mentor, I had to recast a part in the production. Finding someone was a challenge, but I finally was able to get someone to agree to be part of the production, which comes with its own challenges. How will I fit all these schedules into a workable rehearsal schedule. I have no idea. Then I start to worry about whether I’ll be able to get the actors to work well together, will I be able to get them to the places the material will take them to and bring them back? Questions, questions, questions, problems, problems, problems.

Anxiety.

I hadn’t spent much time at Fresh Milk due to other challenges, but also because I only have so many hours and can’t spend all of them just reading.

So I have my actors, I am confident in their abilities, I am hopeful about mine, I still have challenges with scheduling (to be honest this is one of my weaker points that I need to work on, I am good at organising myself and my vision, but need help with production management and stage management).

NARRATOR (O.S.)
Will he be able to rise to the challenge?

Challenge… accepted? If there is one thing this residency has made me confront, it is some of my weaknesses, and I know one residency isn’t what I need to fix every issue I have as an aspiring director. It also has made me realise two important things, this third week slump:

  1. I began to focus on all the problems I was having and went from a state of merely whelmed, to slightly overwhelmed.
  2. I forgot one of the most basic pieces of advice I give to everyone else in my life. Focus more on solutions (not politically affiliated), especially in the middle of the problems.

I had to remember to be solution minded. Couldn’t get the situation to go mostly how I wanted it, so why not just roll with the tides and be glad for the fact that there is momentum until I can figure out how to make that momentum faster (Shout out to Luci for working through a slight issue I had today, shout out to Rosette on that convo this morning for giving me that strong reminder).

So I’m still in the process of figuring it out, granted this is what it’s all about. It’s taking it to questions, questions, questions, solutions, solutions, solutions.

Still anxiety though.

Till next time folks.

NARRATOR (O.S.)
Tune in next week for…

LEVI
Big man, who is you and why you all up in my blog?!

NARRATOR (O.S.)
anotherblogfromLeviabouttheresidency.
(runs away)

Third week blessings.

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ncf mark rgb2This project is a collaborative initiative, funded by the NCF Barbados

Levi King’s Emerging Director Residency – Week 1 Blog Post

Fresh Milk is excited to have Bajan actor & director Levi King in residence with us, as we get our collaboration with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to host the second edition of the Emerging Director Residency Programme underway!

This project is funded by the NCF, and allows a local emerging director the chance to research, experiment, work with actors and connect with a theatre arts mentor during the course of the residency. Levi will be mentored by Barbadian performance artist, theatre director, writer and educator in theatre arts Sonia Williams. See more from Levi below about his first week in residence, and stay tuned for more updates on the programme!

The importance of open-mindedness in the process of directing

So, I began this residency last week, and to be honest I was anxious, never mind the constantly cool exterior. I know what piece I want to explore, I know the areas I wanted to improve (or thought I did), I knew to some extent the approach I wanted to take. I knew all this, but I still felt woefully unprepared, and it scared me. Then in my research process (reading some of the many books at Fresh Milk), I came across a statement in the book Scriptwork: A director’s approach to new play development about open-mindedness. In that moment one thing became clear. I was, up to that point, not being as open-minded as I needed to be. It made me immediately relax.

I know that a director has to have a solid plan, and know every detail of the work they are about to do. I completely overlooked the part of the work that also requires a director to be open-minded. Open-minded to the possibilities that the work can open up to you. Open-minded to ideas different than yours on a project that may actually work better than your own (but not so open-minded that other people end up directing your work lol). Open-minded to the process and all the dimensions and directions it can open up. The stage is a blank canvas, the script is the paint, the set, the technical, and performers are the brushes. Together, they can form a masterpiece.

In my realisation that I needed to be more open-minded, I abandoned the fear of my own failure for lack of being adequately prepared. I abandoned my fear of not being good enough to produce something of quality. I abandoned my feeling of needing to have every single aspect of this residency under complete control and began to refocus. I am now more open to the process that is learning through mentorship, when I didn’t realise I was closed off before. Though I still have much to learn, now I am more prepared to be open to learn it effectively. I look forward to the mentorship with Sonia Williams.

Here’s to week one, where by confining myself to a desk in a room, restricting my actions to reading for research purposes, I was reminded to be more open in my approach to the residency and to directing as a process. On to week two.

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ncf mark rgb2This project is a collaborative initiative, funded by the NCF Barbados

Fresh Talk: How The Lotus Blooms in the Swamp – Prospect New Orleans Triennial Finds Beauty in Troubled Water

Fresh Milk and Fresh Art International are collaborating to present Fresh Talk: Caribbean, a series of podcasts about creativity in the 21st century with a Caribbean focus.

In this episode, you are invited to explore Prospect New Orleans, the Crescent City’s triennial of contemporary art. Titled The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, the fourth iteration evokes the musical character of New Orleans and the surrounding natural environment—the bayous, lakes and wetlands near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Voices in this episode: Prospect.4’s artistic director Trevor Schoonmaker, former executive director Brooke Davis Anderson, artists Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Paulo Nazareth, Sonia Boyce, Rusty Lazer, Darryl Montana, Davia Nelson of the Kitchen Sisters, and more!

Click here to listen to the full podcast.

About Fresh Art International & Fresh Talk:

Mission: To inform and inspire a world of followers, Fresh Art International’s team shares conversations, commentary, news, and views about contemporary art.

Launched in October 2011, Fresh Art International is an evolving independent media outlet with a global point of view. Our website is the virtual platform for Fresh Talk: Conversations About Creativity in the 21st Century, our signature audio podcast. The site welcomes up to 3,000 monthly visitors. Averaging more than 9,000 feed hits monthly, we welcome new friends and followers every day: Facebook (3,000+ Likes and Friends) and Twitter (5,000+ Followers).

For Fresh Talk, independent curator Cathy Byrd meets with contemporary artists, curators, designers, architects, composers, writers, filmmakers and other cultural producers. Listen to conversations directly on this website, download episodes, or subscribe to the series on iTunes and Stitcher. Fresh Talk is also accessible through Public Radio Exchange at prx.org.

Celebrate Women Artists with Fresh Milk

Fresh Milk celebrates the extraordinary creative women that have been in residence with us over the years in honour of International Women’s Day 2018.

Thank you:

Alberta Whittle, Shanika Grimes, Anna Christina Lorenzen, Conan Masterson, Emma Critchley, Cherise Harris, Helen Cammock, Halcyon Macleod, Jessica Carden, Jordan Clarke, Kara Springer, Katherine Kennedy, Lauren Craig, Maj Hasager, Marla Botterill, Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe, damali abrams, Nadijah Robinson, Rayanne Bushell, Saada Branker, Sasha Link, Shea Rose, Simone Asia, Sonia Farmer, Thais Francis, Tiffany Boyle, Versia Harris, Willoh S. Weiland, Umi Baden-Powell, Hannah Catherine Jones, Torika Bolatagici, drea brown, Dorothea Smartt, Letitia Pratt, Kate Keohane, Chelsea Odufu, Ayesha Hameed, Renelde Headley, Raquel Marshall, Leann Edghill & Anisah Wood for enriching our studio and expanding our horizons!

Take a look at the blogs kept by these inspiring artists on our Local Residents & International Residents pages to learn about their unique contributions to the platform!

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Do you want to support Fresh Milk, a women-founded & managed non-profit organization since 2011, and make it possible for more artists to benefit from our residency programme?

Donate via PayPal here to invest in the work we do!

Open Call: ‘My Time’ Local Residency 2018

Fresh Milk is pleased to share its fifth open call for the annual ‘My Time’ Local Residency 2018.

Thanks to the ongoing support of our generous group of donors, one Barbadian artist will be selected from this call to undertake a one-month residency at Fresh Milk, and will receive a stipend of $1,000.00 BBD towards their artistic practice. Visual artists working across a number of disciplines (sculpture, installation, painting, drawing, performance, photography, new media, interdisciplinary) are invited to apply.

We are open to a variety of projects and proposals, but are particularly interested in contemporary artists working in non-traditional ways who wish to engage with the material in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room, using the residency as a time for research, production and expansion of references & knowledge.

Duration of Residency:  4 weeks

Fresh Milk will provide:

– A $1,000.00 BBD stipend to the artist
– Wireless internet
– A 15.5 x 14 ft studio space
– A wide expanse of rural land
– Access to the Colleen Lewis Reading Room on-site
– A varied network of creatives to connect with
– Facilitation of community outreach initiatives
– The option to participate in a public event showcasing the outcome of the residency

Eligibility criteria:

–  Artist must be Barbadian
–  Artist must not have taken part in an on-site Fresh Milk Residency within the last 2 years

Expectations of the Artist:

–  Artist must come out to the studio a minimum of four days per week between Monday and Friday. Studio access is between 8 am and 6 pm
–  Artist must supply their own materials and equipment
–  Artist must complete some form of public outreach in relation to the work created during the residency (artist talk/presentation, workshop, open studio, showcase, etc.)
–  Artist will be required to keep a weekly blog of their activities and processes, and submit a report to Fresh Milk at the conclusion of the residency
–  Artist will be required to donate a piece of work to the donor who made this residency possible

Application Process:

To be considered, please submit the following to freshmilkbarbados@gmail.com with the subject line ‘My Time Local Residency 2018 Proposal’:

–   The completed application form which can be downloaded here (includes applicant’s contact information, an artist statement, and full residency proposal)
–  An up to date Curriculum Vitae (CV)
–  A numbered portfolio of 5-10 images (or 2-3 short videos as the case may be) of recent work
–  An index of the portfolio pieces in numerical order, with the title, medium and date listed

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The deadline for submission is March 30th, 2018. The residency will take place between April 30th – May 25th, 2018.