Into The New: Plunge into the Future

Feature by Gareth K Vile | 02 Mar 2011
  • Kate Stannard

"Into The New is our graduating students' festival," explains Kate Stannard, teacher on the RSAMD's Contempory Performance Practice course. "It kicks off in The Arches on 16 March, and on the 19th we have an event, Performance Recall, which celebrates the 60th birthday of the RSAMD and the tenth birthday of Into the New."

Stannard elaborates, "There are twelve solo performances, and we inhabit all these different spaces in The Arches. It's an explosion of different kinds of work!"

"Into The New is the high point of the year for us. Performance Recall is our contribution to the RSAMD's anniversary celebrations," continues her colleague Robert Walton. "We've asked sixty artists to come back and recall a performance that is important to them. Some of them are doing performances that they made, others are recreating their audition piece, or a minature version of a longer show. It's going to be a real mixed bag."

The CPP's graduates and students have become a fixture in the Scottish performance community: from Nic Green's Trilogy, through Junction 25's redefining of youth theatre, and even into Random Accomplice's saucy comedy, the course has provided a generation of makers, and influences directors and choreographers beyond the RSAMD.

Into The New is rarely less than fascinating: as Walton mentions, there is no house style, and students are encouraged to find their own voice. Edd Crawley, one of this year's graduating class, insists that the CPP gave him the tools to say things that he could not express in any other way.

One of last year's outstanding graduates was Stephanie Black. Returning this year, she is presenting "a new project called Measure. It is part of the Athena Project, an award given to students from the RSAMD."

In many ways, Black's work sums up the strength of the CPP: her Body of Sand was a mind-blowing gust of desert energy. Examining her experience growing up in Dubai as a western woman, it used her dance background to devastating effect.

"My background is very much dance based: I trained in ballet from the age of four! The movement vocabulary is the first way to express our raw emotion: somehow I cam express myself better through movement than language."

"Measure goes in a different direction," she warns. "Last year, I started to understand how I create work. For instance, I prefer to start from images or colours, or a set task."

"Whenever I make a piece of work, it has got to be relevant to the place I am at," she continues. "After graduating I needed to take a new approach. I looked at ideas I had left behind, took a workshop with Julie Tontino and Ron Athey: we got to focus on small, integral movements. I am getting into a yoga practice: I am fascinated by binding the physical and mental approach."

Black's continued development as an artist reflects the best of the CPP: radical and challenging, it respects the traditions of the performance artists who blazed a trail, yet includes the personal experience and talents of the artists. For anyone gingerly considering whether performance art is for them, Into The New is a broad introduction.


Into the New 10, Wed 10 Mar - Fri 12 Mar, 6pm, £9 (£6) @ The Arches