Risky Things productions are interactive, encouraging thinking, debating or performing with peers who are ‘in the same boat’. Workshops and performances combine improvisation with planned script to support participation. Activities are facilitated sensitively to build confidence, at the same time as informing and entertaining. They explore relevant issues, develop skills, and provide opportunities for rehearsing different ways of managing challenge or change. Fully reseached films/DVDs stimulate debate and allow repeat use with smaller groups. Risky Things is a group of trained, experienced actors skilled in facilitating led by director Cathy Denford.
Original events/projects are devised with the organizers to achieve their specific aims. The piece would be tailored to relate to the particular participants or audience, deal with topics and use methods & styles which suit them. Also, we may be able to supply quicker (and therefore cheaper) options ‘off the shelf’ of some already devised work that has been tried and tested.
We collaborate to devise projects with the experts in the subject- the staff running the services or the community groups themselves. Scripts are written to their brief or scenarios devised with them. The company can either perform alongside local people from the target audience or present an interactive drama where audience members take over roles to change outcomes. Groups often take part in the planning before an event, rehearsing with us for a joint performance. We also facilitate events where community members only perform for their peers.
“Our meetings have been lively, creative and enjoyable. Working with Risky Things has been a genuinely collaborative experience – you have listened to our needs and ideas as well as challenging our thinking and bringing your professional experiences.” Mencap and Quest, Hull and East Riding Adult protection Partnership.
Performances may be part-scripted, if very precise learning points are to be achieved, or can be improvised if the messages are more general: improvisation can be easier for less experienced performers. In either case, to allow input from the audience, performances become improvised after the initial, planned sections. Audience members may comment on the action suggesting things the actors could do about their problems, or come up and join the actors to resolve crises by their own intervention, re-enacting challenging scenes to try out how they would manage things better. These interactive performances are based on models of ‘forum’ theatre developed by AugustoBoal, to ‘rehearse for life’.
Performance styles use monologue and mime, sometimes with key explanatory props. Simple backdrops separate the action from backgrounds so performances can take place effectively in most non-theatres settings with sufficient space ( 10 by 15 metres performance area). Sound effects and music can accompany performances.
Films/DVDs, Audio Programmes
We produce films for long term, repeat use, or for transmission. These are shot in a studio setting or on location. They may be devised originally as films (drama or documentary) or develop from a live performance. Aiming still to pose questions and stimulate audience debate, they can use on-camera facilitation from a presenter or character, graphics and accompanying guides.
Cathy Denford is an experienced broadcast television director/producer and Risky Things actors perform regularly in film and television as well as on the stage.
We facilitate workshops, where all participants take part in less formal activities. These may be drama based or use talking and debate as well as writing or other aids to concentration or creativity such as music, led by experienced musician- facilitators.
Risky Things facilitates and supports meetings, conferences and training groups. Workshops/meetings may follow on from performances or stand alone.
Much of our work has a training remit, whether of service users or staff, carers and service providers (sometimes usefully together, sometimes separately). We more formally devise and run training courses in drama, facilitating and communication skills so groups may go on to perform and facilitate their own events.