There were about 20 audience members who were slowly tempted out of the Blue Orange Theatre café in the Jewellery Quarter and into the theatre. On the night of the 2014 Brazilian World Cup Final they were doing pretty well for patrons. Although we were a small group it only increased the closeness between the audience and the man and lady dressed up as a giant penis and a giant vulva. The tagline was:
A human-sized walking Vagina and Penis are going to meet again for the first time. How will the meeting go? Will they meet each other’s expectations? What are they supposed to do and how will they know?
Dick timidly broke out of the shadows and came to chat to the audience about how excited (no pun intended) he was to be free. He’s usually attached to someone, and it was a while before Fanny came on-stage to tell us that they’d been having a fight for thousands of years.
Not only were Fanny (or the Vulva of Venus) and Dick representing individual lady parts and man parts, they were also representing those of everyone in the world. This created an easy bond, and slight uncomfortableness, (which I think we soon got over – through much giggling) with their audience.
Throughout the partly-improvised show the characters demonstrated the trials and tribulations, as well as the pleasures, of being human genitalia. This sincere and welcoming pair gave us a hilarious and open night out. They spoke with the audience about the relationship between genitalia, in the olden days, and wondered aloud why people turn the lights off to have sex. With tunes such as “Sexual Healing” and “Floating through Space” (it might be called that – I’m not really sure!) they took us on a sensitive journey around the most intimate regions of humanity. Fanny showed us how she felt about rape and Dick told us how many rapes go unreported.
Far from being an after-school special this was a very playful yet grown-up, real platform from which to discuss sexuality and how we are all going to afford to get up to Edinburgh to see them again.
I can’t find the link to a great Huffpost article about what our brave cast members, Dick and Fanny, get up to when they’re not on-stage! It involves a man in Glasgow attacking Dick (AKA Chris Murray, in costume) and Fanny (AKA Joanne Tremarco, also in costume) saving him! If you find it please post the link!
This was when I really began to “plunge.” I looked at a couple of uninspiring journals on research as a story or narrative and then I researched different art groups in Birmingham to find an internship. I had left it a bit late to look for an internship. It got to the point where, I’ll admit, I was stressed out. Other people in my class already had internships with really cool companies so I increased my search. I researched and visited Art galleries. I queried events on the phone just so I could talk to administrators who might know about internships. I had Afternoon Tea and a tour at the Ikon Gallery and went to a lecture at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. I emailed New Art Gallery, Walsall, Guthrie and Ghaniand Craftspace. I called Kaos Artswho then gave me the number for Friction Arts. I had not realised that before I started my little campaign to get an internship, I was nervous to pick up the phone to any organisations. I used to be an administrator in France and spoke to many different people, daily, in French and English. I was a bit embarrassed that I was so out of practice. So it definitely shook the cobwebs away. At least being able to say, “I’m studying Arts and Project Management at BCU” gave more onus to my enquiries. I have found, though, that having a one-to-one chat over the phone can get you more answers or lines of inquiry than just sending an email or a tweet. After a chat with some students on my course I realised how useful Twitter could be to my search.
I learned what the @ sign means (!) and started hash tagging everything that moved. I tweeted Birmingham Storytelling Café, I tweeted events I’d seen or attended at Ort Gallery and Café, I tweeted, Arts-wise, about where I’d been and where I was going. This all gave me a great excuse to see all the Arts in Birmingham. Not that I needed an excuse but I didn’t mind going on my own if I had to do it for University, no that that ever stopped me. In fact, some of the people on my course went to events I put into a BCU Masters Facebook Group I started up. I started going to an art class at the Ort. I still go there and the tea only costs 50p! The community vibe is great and it’s just the sort of Arts venue I love and I could imagine putting events on at that venue. (In retrospect I have now helped to organise an event there).
After a while I got some responses to inquiry emails; filled out some application forms, replied to some tweets and attended a networking event for the Arts at the Library of Birmingham. Although I had wanted to apply for a paid internship at The Rep and other opportunities at Sampad and Craftspace I had already agreed to work with two enthusiastic organisations by that week. I met with the Traditional Arts Team in Kings Heath to discuss opportunities. In the same week Zoe Renilson, Head of Education at New Art Gallery, Walsall, got in touch with me about an application so we met at the gallery. Both of these meetings had started with a vague notion that they might be able to give me a little bit of work experience which slowly, during the meeting, became “oh well, actually you could do this and this and this.” This was brilliant. The New Art Gallery, Walsall would allow me to develop my interests in Education, Events Management and working with children. The Traditional Arts Team is developing my performance skills as a Storyteller and both have this great idea of community and what their organisation should be for their community, be that the Traditional Arts community or the social community around Walsall. I am slowly realising the importance of the Arts involving people and encouraging the idea of having fun while you’re living and how not everything is about money. Finance is important and, with government cuts, an issue which can’t be avoided but the organisations’ creative missions are the main goal.