Saturday, 25 June 2011

Turning an idea into reality - Don't become an ideas bore - do it - #1

This post as the title suggests is the first of a number of blogs where I will attempt to expand the idea of ideas and explore the reasons behind some ideas becoming reality.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about the idea of ideas. There are many amazing people in the world who come up with ideas and turn them into a successful reality, but how do you decide which idea to act upon? is there a formula? is it instinct made up of many differing factors based on experience? how do you differentiate, between a good idea and a bad one or indeed are there any bad ideas?

See quite a lot of ideas already, I told you I had been thinking, anyway I have met many people over the years, who have had great ideas but failed to turn them into reality, this is a typical conversation with one particular acquaintance over a period of a year (of course I have kept it brief) but I think it illustrates my point.

March 2010

(Me) : How is it going?

(Friend): Good,

(Me) What are you up to?

(Friend): I have got this idea for a show, it is about .....

(Me) That's a wicked idea, when are you doing it?

(Friend) Well I am getting a few folk together to develop it ....

(Me) Cool, let me know when it is on...

August 2010

(Me) : Heh, how is it going?

(Friend): Good,

(Me) How is the show coming along?

(Friend): Well, I am still working on it

(Me) Cool, when are you doing it?

(Friend) Well I have not got a date, but soon

(Me) Cool, let me know when it is on...

December 2010

(Me) : Heh, how is it going?

(Friend): Good,

(Me) How is the show coming along?

(Friend): Well, I er.. well. In the end I thought it wasn't such a great idea after all.

(Me) Oh, I thought it was great?

(Friend) Well err, suppose so...

(Me) OK, well take care, hopefully bump into you soon.

I am sure this conversation is a familiar one, I am guilty of it myself, and I am sure there are a myriad of reasons why that person didn't create that show. I am sure there are numerous theatre making folk, who have files of newspaper clipping, images, scrawled notes having dreamt something - needless to say I have tons all stored away but none have been turned into a reality - the question is why? Well the simple answer is, I did not pursue them beyond an initial idea an inspiration. If you have an idea, you must act upon them, I appreciate it is easier said than done but don't become that person who talks a good game but years down the line has still not produced anything. I truly admire those people who have the passion and the drive to take a germ of an idea and make it a reality, stop talking and start doing.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Variety Pack - Edinburgh Fundraiser 'The Games' - Friends

Spike recently held a night of Variety to raise funds to support our adventures in Edinburgh, our lovely friends agreed to create and in turn support us with their talent on stage and off. The night was a fantastic success financially, artistically and in addition made a lot of people laugh. I felt incredibly proud to know such talent and have the privilege to call them a friend, a night were I was scared and running on adrenaline (for some reason I decided to sing). I figured that if I was to ask others then I needed to step up and have a go. I sang with Colin, our designer for 'The Games', a beautiful song written by Neil Hannon, "Can you stand upon one leg" and performed a bloody shaving sketch.

The night was best described by one audience member as, "fantastic, it felt anarchic, like anything could go wrong at any moment but it didn't" I echo those words, it may have just been me, but it was one of those nights where there was a synergy in the air, each act stepping on stage laying down a marker for the next and no one failing to deliver. There was a tangible sense of nerves, excitement and support for each other, this evening will live long in my memory as will the brave new work that people tried out.

The night has inspired me to do more such bespoke events, real unique moments in time shared with a group of people for one night only, you miss it, you miss out. This of course will be a side project to our normal touring work, but we have already got some plans underway. The night also reinforced for me everything that Spike is about, friendly, funny and a little bit bonkers and in addition we know how to have a bloody good time.

I think with all the recent events (Not becoming an NPO with ACE and numerous other disappointing news) I had lost clarity of what made us in the first place and I am pleased to say whatever happens in the future this will be our new mission statement and that has to be a good thing. So all in all this night opened my eyes to the future and provided a welcome reminder of the past and if you were there you will know what I am talking about, if you were not then keep an eye out for future events, because the future is what we make it and with friends like this nothing scares me.

Below are some of the pictures taken from the day and night by the very talented John Roberts. A big thank you to all those who came and took part.

To those who donated there talent and time and I can never thank you enough.

Paul Duckworth - Rinty Boo

Jamie Greer

Liam Tobin

Lee Mcpherson

Keddy Sutton

Graham Geoffrey Hicks

Gillian Hardie

Francis Tucker

Lewis Bray

Ed and Tom Croft - Jollyboat

Colin Eccleston

Alex Woodhall

Lauren Silver

John Roberts


Written By:Mark Smith

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Edinburgh fringe - A gamble worth taking?

Well, it has been months of work but the launch of the fringe will be taking place this Thursday, a key milestone for all those companies, venues, marketeers, press and others who make Edinburgh the most exciting festival in the world. This launch offers a brief respite and chance to reflect on the work already undertaken and the work still to do, but in essence the clock is turned on and its ticking!

We are excited about our adventure to Edinburgh, to say it is a gamble is an understatement - but like any gambler you plan for the odds to be stacked slightly in your favour, hence check everything we have done and are still to do and then check again. We have a cracking team, all of whom i trust with my life, maybe slightly dramatic but it feels like that. We were unsuccessful in our application to become an NPO with Arts council, England although we still have funding till March 2012. We could have pulled our trip to Edinburgh, to sit on our hands and do the sensible thing, but like any theatre company we exist to present work, to add to the world, to make people think and laugh, it is what makes us tick, so was never an option.

Edinburgh is the opportunity to show the world what we do, with a show I and many others love, so the gamble is definitely worth it. We have received massive support from many friends, we have raised a significant amount of money (not huge compared to much larger organisations) but significant in the fact that it has been given by people who care about Spike and its future. So the clocks ticking, as we prepare to line up with thousands of shows waiting for the gun to go bang, and once we are off are fates are in the lap of the gods! (pardon me for the sporting and greek references but I could not help myself)

If you want to support 'The Games' you can still give on our website or come to see the show

5th - 29th August (no shows on Tuesdays 16th & 23rd)

12:30 - 1:40pm (70 mins)

Venue 115
2 Roxburgh Place

Box office: 0131 662 6892

Tickets: £10 / £8
Preview shows: £5
(5th & 6th Aug)

Written by Mark Smith - Artistic Director - Spike Theatre