Dialogue at BAC
Welcome to BAC Dialogue, our detailed record of our three-week residency at Battersea Arts Centre in London, during its Autumn Cook-Up season, September 2012.

From the very beginning of Dialogue's life, BAC's artistic directors – then a joint team of David Jubb and David Micklem – were overwhelmingly positive in their support of the project. Although BAC holds a crucial place in British theatre ecology, it's often overlooked by the mainstream press, and the prospect of a website that proposed a new dialogue around theatre, based not on traditional criticism but conversations with theatre-makers about and around their work, struck BAC as both exciting and vital.

When BAC offered us our residency, there were a couple of things they asked us to think about specifically: how we might approach writing about Scratch shows, and how we might encourage greater integration of the various communities who use BAC, not just theatre-makers and audiences but people who attend yoga classes there, or Weight Watchers sessions, or learn life-drawing, or take children to the Bee's Knees playspace. Mostly, though, BAC was happy to leave us to our own devices, and see how we responded to the building.

It was a thrilling three weeks, a mixture of successes and failures from which we learned a great deal about how two theatre-writers might operate within a building. Lots of our ideas didn't work; there were lots of people we didn't have time to talk to or work with properly; the research Jake put into tin-can telephones came to nothing. The Recommends cards - based on the cards you see in bookshops in which staff recommend books they love - worked really well; every other attempt to engage audiences in dialogue floundered because of a lack of confidence in presenting the invitation. It was an unpaid residency, so our time there had to be squeezed between other commitments: Jake's work in theatre marketing, and Maddy's parenting and writing for the Guardian.

It's taken us a long time to put this documentation together. Some of it involves fairly conventional criticism, some of it contemplates the different ways BAC operates, some of it muses on dramaturgy or Scratch or different kinds of theatre-maker and -writer relationships. And a big chunk of it attempts to represent the work we saw there unmediated by our thoughts or impressions: using film, audio, photography and text to convey the plethora of work programmed during this Autumn Cook-Up, and the surge of energy people feel when they walk into the building.

We'd love to know what people think: what works, what doesn't, what you'd like to see more of if (when!) we do a project like this again, what you'd like to see less of. And if you'd like to collaborate with us, that would be fantastic. We can be reached at:

jake@welcometodialogue.com
maddy@welcometodialogue.com

Thanks for joining us in our playspace.

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