Thank you for the power of the word ‘we’

In Features, Inspiring people, Opinion by Chris GradyLeave a Comment

This weekend I was part of an extraordinary workshop which was a first of its kind in Europe, or so I am told. A chance to work on the consciousness explorations of Patricia Albere developed in her practice and her book. I was privileged to be in a space led by US-based psychotherapist Keren Clark, together with nine other members of the Authentic Artist Collective, who are on a journey of pathmaking discovery.

If you would like to know more, then I urge you to read the book and explore the practice. It is a fascinating blend of human connection and energy science. I will not proselytise, because it is the core idea of the “we” space which I want to blog about. And here, since this is a theatre blog, from a very practical celebration of the concept of “we”.

Those who know me as a teacher, coach, open space holder, budget/paper pusher, will be surprised to know that I am arriving at this blog as a solo-theatremaker. At the grand old age of 60 I have a show/happening which is bubbling and, given a bit of funding gas, will effervesce and change the world. Well, that’s what I believe. It has the potential to be transformative.

I’ve lived with this for three years. Around 100 people have been part of workshops and explorations as I find the form for this piece – a form which has never been tried before, as far as I know. Two weeks ago, without funding, three other theatremakers came into a space with me and it became “we” for the first time. What are we making?. How do we work together? How do we transform each other and in so doing make a thing which can transform others? And how on earth do we describe what we are doing. Lots of we, and much less I.

But now I am back with my laptop being me, being the “source” of this movement, as I have been lovingly described. I am once again alone. My fellow artists have gone back, for the moment, to their creative worlds and I have taken time to type up the 48 pages of notes we made that week.  Their final words to me were “remember us… we are on the end of the phone, email… it is we now”. And I honour that and feel deep thanks.

Then today I got the most exciting use of the word “we” for days. A meeting with a young producer in order to inspire them to want to work with me on the project. I was rambling on about every aspect of transformative art and stuff happening. They were with me and engaged as we sat in a Peckham café with a cuppa. And then they started talking and I did not comment on their choice of words for some time, as we chatted and explored the idea. But one word stayed with me like a bright jewel in a big dish of creative and business stuff.

They said in the midst of everything – we will then do this, or that, or the other. The this or that or the other are important – but the jewel is the word we. I’m programmed from birth, according to my star sign and south nodes (so I am told) to be a loner who should/can/must strive to make partnerships and collaborations to make art and life happen.   When someone says the word we it vibrates in me and gives me an immense sense of possibility. Together we can make something more than I can on my own.

The “we” space in Patricia Albere’s world is when the two channels of I and I sit close together and enquire into what we (the space between us) is experiencing. It is an exploration which reminds us that we are all vibrating atoms held together with a bit of skin and an overcoat. If we allow the vibrations to rattle a challenge which lies between us then we, together, can make something extraordinary happen. We have the unitary energy to live and breathe and function. But the energy we can create in duet and harmony is extraordinary.

So thank you for the workshop this weekend, and thank you for the cuppa in Jenny’s Place at Peckham Rye station, and thank you for the power of the word we.

(With apologies to my Scottish theatremakers – this is not a wee space, but a vast we space)

Chris Grady on Twitter
Chris Grady
Chris Grady is a creative and business life coach who has worked in arts and project management for more than 30 years, running marketing departments and creating festivals and theatres in Bristol, Plymouth, Edinburgh, Buxton, Keswick, London and Bury St Edmonds. He has also run the Vivian Ellis Prize for new musicals, and written Your Life in Theatre, a careers guide for all stages of your career. He is preparing an MA for Theatre Producers with Mountview Academy for Theatre Arts. Chris blogs about arts management at www.chrisgrady.org.
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Chris Grady on Twitter
Chris Grady
Chris Grady is a creative and business life coach who has worked in arts and project management for more than 30 years, running marketing departments and creating festivals and theatres in Bristol, Plymouth, Edinburgh, Buxton, Keswick, London and Bury St Edmonds. He has also run the Vivian Ellis Prize for new musicals, and written Your Life in Theatre, a careers guide for all stages of your career. He is preparing an MA for Theatre Producers with Mountview Academy for Theatre Arts. Chris blogs about arts management at www.chrisgrady.org.