Brixton Village Transformation

If I’ve been a little quiet over here recently then it’s been for good reason. The last few weeks have had rehearsals and workshops and meetings and applications. There was even a day or two when it looked like Charlie was going to cancel Christmas.

More than all that, however, has been the fact that we’ve been waiting until we could announce our latest project and, having had confirmation of our dates today, this means I’m officially allowed to write about it on here.

From Monday 25th January until Saturday 6th February 2010 Write By Numbers will be participating in what is currently the UK’s largest empty shops project and taking over a shop in Brixton Village Market. Taking our inspiration from Ovid’s Metamorphoses we’re going to turn the shop into a grotto of live performance and interaction, staging short adaptations of and responses to Ovid’s stories of love, hope, terror and transformation.

We’re a writer-centric company but we also want to encourage writers to work in unsual ways or form unsual connections so not only will our writers have to work to the space, we’re also encouraging cross-art form collaboration and participation, with performers, spoken word artists, musicians and visual artists (to name a few) being invited to take part.

In addition we’ll be encouraging Brixton community (and indeed anyone who feels like wandering into our shop) to take part in the transformation of the space, contributing to our wall of change. We’ve also got a couple of other ideas we’re hoping will slot into place (including some workshops and the opportunity to create your own writing for performance) which we’ll announce as we finalise details.

I’ve been excited about the Brixton Village Market project since I first heard about it just over a month ago. There’s a real energy and commitment to regenerating and reimagining a space where (at present) 20 shops remain empty. And this isn’t just about a temporary plaster for the area, but a means of showing a viable, alive location with either projects proving themselves sustainable or the location becoming atttractive to other businesses.

For Write By Numbers it’s a chance to try something we wouldn’t have the resources to do elsewhere (our ‘shop’ will be open full business hours, Monday-Saturday), pulling performance outside of an auditorium and giving writers and theatre-makers the opportunity to do something completely different. Because why shouldn’t you be able to do your shopping and then pop into a ten minute performance?

The result of all of this? We’ve got seven weeks to create the project before we open our shop for the first time…