NOTIONAL THEATRE

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“Electrifying, intelligent, physical theatre” – Theatre Wales

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TERRY VICTOR writes:

 

This is a personal response to an authorised posting, published under the Equity banner on the 10th of February, reacting to the #EquitySaveOurStaff campaign.

 

I am a long service member of Equity, and a long-standing member of the Welsh National Committee. Currently, I am debating whether the central organisation of my union actually represents my values.

 

The statement from Guild House begins Equity is making this statement in direct response to some of the language, tactics and assertions of the #EquitySaveOurStaff campaign which was established in response to changes to staffing in our Glasgow office.

 

I have not signed up to the Equity Save Our Staff campaign, nor seen their social media presence, although I am sympathetic to its aims. I was not aware of the tone and content of some of the opposition to the General Secretary’s restructuring scheme. However, weeks ago, on more than one Zoom meeting, I did hear Paul Fleming complain of being described as both a ‘Stalinist’ and a ‘Nazi’. He was obviously upset by the name-calling.

 

Nevertheless, he made his case for restructuring and accepts that many members disagree with it.

 

In my opinion the restructuring of Equity has been managed in an inept, insensitive, and ill-informed manner, certainly not up to the ethical standards that should define a union. Compulsory redundancy, as an instance, should never have even been a consideration in an organisation such as Equity. I have been left with the impression that the General Secretary’s scheme was hatched well in advance of his election, and most everything has subsequently been squeezed to fit a self-interested ideology. 

 

I have not until now written anything about Fleming other than in private correspondence. However, with the publication of Equity’s statement, I feel I must stand up for my union. My opinions are coloured by the apparently London-centric actions of this General Secretary’s regime. As a part of one of the devolved nations, I honestly do not feel that I can trust him. His ethical values are driven by agenda that I believe do not serve the collective interests of the majority of our union.

 

Fleming is a politician. As far as I am aware he has no experience in managing staff. It is my impression that he is an ambitious politician using Equity as a stepping-stone. Whilst I would not, without evidence, accuse him of telling lies, I can be absolutely certain that he equivocates and is selective with the truth. 

 

When I tried to engage him (in writing) on the topic of why he had campaigned for Brexit with Leave.eu he would not address the questions. He ducked and dived. I was not questioning his political beliefs, as such, I simply wanted to know how he thought Brexit would help my industry. Instead, I got a political performance with no substance. I understand, now, that he was in favour of ‘#Lexit’ (which supported limitation on freedom of movement).  At the time I was told by pro-Fleming activists that post-referendum, Fleming headed up Equity’s campaign for the best we might get out of Brexit. So, no straight answers and no practical vision.

 

Nor does he live up to the promises he makes, when it doesn’t suit him. When interviewing for the post of General Secretary his position as a Labour councillor was recognised as a conflict of interest with the non-party political and non-sectarian rules of Equity. Fleming undertook, should he be elected, to resign from Southwark Council with immediate effect. That didn’t happen. He’s still there. Months later, under pressure, he offered to resign the Labour whip (and sit as an independent) if the May 2021 elections are postponed. 

 

I have been an active part of Equity since the late-1970s. Never have I known such distrust and malaise. 

 

I have also seen Equity’s statement on the ‘voluntary’ redundancy. It reads like a politburo communique, putting a form of words in the mouth of the now redundant organiser whilst, apparently, denying him the legal liberty to speak.

 

And now, in the middle of writing this, I hear that members of the SNC have resigned in protest at a letter received from Fleming. I appreciate their integrity.

 

Terry Victor

11.02.21

























Santa Speaks - is on You Tube. Social Isolation has given Santa time to think and now he's spilling the beans. Expect true tales from the grotto and some outrageous namedropping. The link is to a 25 minute edit. One minute clips will be appearing.


Lockdown or no lockdown, Notional Theatre was a part of this year's Guildford Fringe Festival.

The (Adults Only) Epic Narrative of Jack Sprat's Wife is streaming online at 20:00 BST on the 24th June - it will be available thereafter via the Guildford Fringe Facebook page.

Jack Sprat’s wife has had enough and she’s about to go on a killing spree…

An Epic Nursery Rhyme!

This online show by Notional Theatre gleefully relates a melodramatic and thoroughly unpleasant history. Featuring Jack Sprat’s wife in the role of a ‘feminist icon’ and a number of characters you will recognise doing things we hope you won’t.

This Grand Guignol spoken word piece, performed by Terry Victor, is definitely not for kids.

Here's the link: The (Adults Only) Epic Narrative of Jack Sprat's Wife 






Old news:


The Exeter Fringe Festival welcomed Well Thumbed at the Barnfield Studio on August 2nd and 3rd. 

 

This response came in via Facebook.

"That was simply one of the best pieces of theatre I/we have seen in a very long time!

The term 'tour de force' can tend to be a somewhat over-used cliché lately, but "Well Thumbed" really showed the phrase to be the most appropriate way to describe both the research/writing and the superb performance.

It was a genuine treat and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone (well, nearly anyone ;) ). Looking forward to seeing it again - it really IS that good!"

 




Presented by Notional Theatre at Chapter Arts in December 2018, CLARISSA!  blurs the boundaries between theatrical and cinematic forms. CLARISSA! combines the talents of writer/director Terry Victor and BAFTA CYMRU-nominated film-maker Christian Britten to conjure a multi-layered visual mindscape with choreography by Tamsin Griffiths.

The remarkable Angharad Berrow played Clarissa.


CLARISSA! is irreverent and witty, shocking and tragic – a surprisingly intimate study of an unreliable modern icon that promises a truly cinematic experience that questions what is truth and what is nostalgia. 

This production of CLARISSA! was being supported by Arts Council Wales


Meanwhile...

Well Thumbed was in the Bloomsbury basement of Waterstones on November 9th, 2018. If you missed it you missed a treat.

the story so far –

Notional Theatre has existed as an informal occasional company since 1986, as a small umbrella to shelter a variety of projects initiated by Terry Victor.
 
Over the years Notional Theatre has presented contemporary political theatre, including: NO OFFENCE (2008) and the Welsh premiere of Caryl Churchill's SEVEN JEWISH CHILDREN (2010); children’s theatre, including: JACKO’S JIGGUMBOB (1989-2005) and Grimms' HANS, MY HEDGEHOG (1993); stage adaptations drawn from literature: WELL THUMBED, a portmanteau of the bawdy, as an ensemble and revisited as a one-man performance (2000, 2016-2018), Tolstoy’s MEMOIRS OF A LUNATIC (1986) and ANISSIA (1990); interactive museum interpretation: THE BUTLER AND THE HOUSEKEEPER at Tredegar House (1998-2006); at Newport Museum, various interactive pieces and themed characters (2003-6). 

In September 2011, following advice from ACW, Notional Theatre was reconstituted as a formal enterprise in order to develop and tour FRAGMENTS OF ASH which had just enjoyed a critically acclaimed run on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In November 2011 the beginnings of AWKWARD TURTLE FLIPS THE BIRD were shown as part of the WMC's Incubator and in March 2012 an 'instant performance' of Liu Xiaobo's YOU WAIT FOR ME WITH DUST was staged in the foyer of the Sherman Theatre. In May and June 2012, FRAGMENTS OF ASH toured to great reviews. AWKWARD TURTLE FLIPS THE BIRD took up much of 2013 and, among other outcomes, became a chapter in “Global English Slang’ (Routledge, 2014).

2014 was very experimental in tone and much concerned with responding to visual art. TWO OLD CORINTHIANS was created and performed for, and in front of, an untitled canvas by Helen Bur as a part of the Solve et Coagula exhibition which opened the Abacus gallery in Cardiff. THE GOSPEL OF NULLIFIDIAN was created with comic book artist Mike Collins and performed at Chapter as a script-in-development; the work explored the possibilities of graphic novels as a theatrical form. The third piece in this triptych was WHAAM! a short radio play by Terry Victor which responded to Roy Lichtenstein's painting of the same title; the play was commissioned for Arts Council Wales and Radio Cardiff. Notional Theatre was back at the Abacus for the Worldwide Reading for Edward Snowden.

In 2016 Notional Theatre was 30 years of age and celebrating our 5th birthday by revisiting a show that was 16-years’ old! There was some talk of developing a site-specific piece from ideas touched upon in AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES and having a birthday party. So far neither of those has happened. In 2017 WELL THUMBED, in collaboration with the fine artist Carl Chapple, enjoyed the full run of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

Now, it’s 2018 and Notional Theatre is reformed and reborn again. As of April 24
th we became Notional Theatre C.I.C. (that’s a Community Interest Company), with a board of directors and a new bank account. We are the same old notion-driven company but with these structures now in place we should be in a position to bring an extraordinary piece of work to the stage. This one is inspired inspired by Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ and the aging process. It will be a mighty collaboration….