Fast Familiar are the highly digital ‘audience-centric’ theatre company defined as creating ‘part art, part social experiment (Fast Familiar 2022). As part of the project, we commissioned a performance rooted in post-colonialism that resonated with Reading audiences.
Fast Familiar produced the Acquisition Pannel an immersive audience-led performance that emulated the process of museum personnel when acquiring a new item. The performance was then programmed at the South Street Arts Center in which communities could engage with this colonial social experiment.
In addition to commissioning the performance, the project also hosted an Online Student Workshop and a decolonising workshop was provided to industry professionals. This process demonstrated the influence a theatre performance’s development process can have on other productions. This process equipt the Work in Progress Project with further knowledge of decolonising theatre practice and again the cross-pollination of artists is evident in this work. Sheila and Sue’s experimentation with objects resurfaced in this development process and the colonial criticism and exploration here paid dividends during Jamal’s development process.
Here the project provided network expansion through critical conversations, workshopping and the commission/programming of the Acquisition Panel. Furthermore, through the connection with like-minded artists in our portfolio, we both enjoyed the experience of other artists and assisted others.
‘The most useful element of the commission was the financial support because it allowed us to leverage funding to make a new project.’
‘We also appreciated the diversity of our audiences – I think it’s a real testament to how much John’s audiences trust him that so many people were keen to turn up and do such a weird show! The experience has made us think about how we can use our particular type of participatory art to become a useful part of Reading’s cultural ecology, and hold space for other local questions.’