Between the Stones has been organised as a two-year project covering three main phases (you can read more about this on the website!) The following events took place before the project website was established but we feel they are too important not to include them in the news updates!
18 May 2018
National Dying Matters Week, Marie Curie Hampstead Hospice
Jannette had always felt it was important to include a hospice in the Between the Stones: ‘Getting to Noh - from page to stage’ education and outreach programme of activities which is central to the delivery of the whole project. She contacted the Hampstead hospice where her sister, Dianna, spent her last days, and they were extremely interested to be part of the project. The hospice staff suggested that an introduction to noh and a reading of Between the Stones could be undertaken at the hospice during National Dying Matters Week. Staff at the hospice organised the whole event and also were keen to make it an opportunity to pay tribute to Dianna and the staff at the hospice who cared for her.
The event was attended by hospice staff and friends, and by coincidence was able to include, Jannette’s long-standing friend, Ken Garland, who took on the graphic design work of the programme and other publicity material of Jannette’s first noh play, Pagoda, as his last design commission in 2009. It was wonderful to see Ken and others and to have their support.
We were also very fortunate, at this early stage of the project, to have Minister Shinichi Iida to attend and share some touching thoughts and words of encouragement at the beginning of the event. Also, in attendance for the first part of the event was Dr Jane Collins, CEO of Marie Curie and although was unable to stay for the reading but later wrote:
We planted a Japanese Maple tree in the Hospice gardens and left a wind chime and ‘Between the Stones’ tanzaku poem card for Dianna at the end of the afternoon.
This event marked the beginning of the wider sharing of ‘Between the Stones’ and captured the heart and soul of the piece in making it part of National Dying Matters Week… Thank you to all who supported the event and shared their valuable time with us!
20 February 2018
Royal Holloway University of London, Handa Noh Theatre
As colleagues and friends, Ashley Thorpe and Jannette Cheong, decided to undertake a joint illustrated talk and reading of their two plays (Emily & Between the Stones) to a small audience of students and colleagues at Royal Holloway University of London where Ashley is a senior lecturer in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance, Centre for Asian Theatre and Dance. Actually, it was Richard Emmert's suggestion! Ashley and Jannette had, in fact, met a few weeks earlier and read each other's noh pieces - in private!
But as this was the first 'open' reading of the two new noh pieces it was a rather special occasion for both writers. Both projects are collaborations with Richard Emmert and they had been written at roughly the same time. In terms of working with Rick - Jannette had to conduct her conversations with Rick over the Internet mostly in the Summer of 2017, while Ashley had the opportunity to be in Tokyo on sabbatical leave from Royal Holloway to work directly with Rick in the Autumn 2017, and at the same time continuing his research and noh performance training.
Subsequently, Ashley was able to create and perform in the first wonderful live performance of Emily with his students together with Richard Emmert at Royal Holloway. This was a massive, wonderful achievement as the second British person to write a new noh in English, but the first to also perform in his own play!