Second year student Conor Chamiec attended one of the many online planning meetings for the Work in Progress project, as part of his placement on the project. Here, he reflects on the meeting, giving an insight into how our processes and expectations have been shifting while running a project alongside a global pandemic.

Work in Progress development article one, or how I learnt to stop worrying and love the buffer.

“It looks like we still don’t necessarily have Sue” Was the first comment on the many troubles of communicating in the online age we currently inhabit, “I’m trying to do some other things in the background to close things down” followed by “This is fun, isn’t it?”

That was the tone of the call on December 14th 2020 when we convened as a way of discussing the ongoing production that would result from the residency at the University of Reading. To call it tense would be too over dramatic but there was definitely a sense of cautious pessimism in the air, at time of writing we are in the middle of a third national lockdown and the official start of production has been moved to the optimistic date of Summer 2021. Nevertheless we continue, because while the development may be halted we might still gain something by examining the ways in which production has already unfolded and will continue to unfold.

The discussion was largely focused on upcoming workshops and the way that the project would engage with students. The usual workshop worked by having the theatre makers come into an audience of students and work with them to develop a brief idea. Sue said on these workshops past that “When we did our common salt workshop, we were particularly interested in engaging PHD and MA students. Because the common sort workshop was beautiful. People did some fantastic things, and you know, we were really super interested in those kind of task based structures.” A key part of this was the way that structure and a task based approach helped nurture creative flow and resulted in quality work all around.

The project has obviously been altered the ever shifting and unstable circumstances of the world right now but the project moves on ahead anyway. Hopefully soon we can have a more in depth interview and discussion on the creative process.