The challenges facing theatre-makers is a topic that deserves greater discussion at a time of immobilising freelance costs and a lack of local rehearsal spaces. Bryony Kimmings reignited the debate at the end of 2013 and Devoted & Disgruntled continued it, but Scrapyard is an exciting project currently underway in Scotland that seeks to truly problem-solve. It unites performers with practitioners and acts as a sandbox for artists to scratch new ideas.
Participants were split into four groups and each received a masterclass from a guest artist, tasked with developing work over two weeks based on the stimulus: ‘Unhinged’. Sadly, it doesn’t come together on this occasion, with a bizarre collection of wildly self-indulgent and impenetrable pieces on topics ranging from simple object theatre to bourgeois primness. Caitlin Skinner’s Bert and Flo is the only stand-out: a surreal yet jubilant tale of suburban bliss as a resident falls in love with a parrot sock puppet, signalling that ‘story’ is always the most important ingredient. Better still, the evening is fully rescued by Paper Doll Militia’s hypnotising display of aerial acrobatics – the companion piece to Scrapyard’s presented work. Spinning and hooking their way through reams of white cloth, the female duo exhibit immense technical prowess and strength in what is a mesmerising ten-minute demonstration of visual theatre.