HOW WE CAME TO BEE (PUN INTENDED)
“As the honey bee flits from flower to flower, the artist leaps from idea to idea”
How we came to bee (pun intended)
After finishing our studies at Arts Educational Schools, we stumbled upon an opportunity to create a new, original show for a festival promoting emerging companies and creatives. We applied with an idea and we were one of the selected few to form part of the event. This opportunity led us to create our first show and it was after its debut, that we decided we wanted to dedicate our time to creating and developing our own theatre company. It was then that Abeille Theatre was formed.
As mentioned above, our first venture was that of our original show titled Little Big Girl, which was created, developed, and performed between 2018 – 2019. Little Big Girl followed the story of Girl and her Muse. The piece reflected on the challenges of growing up as a woman, finding one's identity and nurturing the creative spirit in today's world.
After Little Big Girl we went on to create a new strand within the company, Abeille Theatre Workshops, in which our aim is to offer affordable, exciting and process-led workshops to creatives.
Where we’re at now
Prior to Covid19, we were in development for our second show as a company. Although we’ve had to delay the project and alter the our original timeframe for its debut, we have continued to have regular chats/workshops with the writer virtually, whilst continuing to research and apply for any opportunities that seem fitting for our project to move forward at this time.
As such, we are also doing our best to continue our outreach work through offering online workshops both free of cost and through a Pay-What-You-Can option. We have also taken to our social media platforms to create our ‘Companies Keeping Connected’ strand.
Within this, we have developed our Conversations from Home series. This began around a month ago, with us inviting various small, emerging theatre companies along to join us for a virtual cuppa and a chat, where we discuss who they are and what they do, how they’re navigating their way through these unprecedented times and what we can look forward to seeing them do next, once things begin to settle. We plan to continue these episodes for the foreseeable. This initiative came about for our want to maintain connection and nurture the relationships we’ve made over time, in hope of a better future.
We are now developing a new strand, ‘Creatives Keeping Connected’, with the aim to launch our Skill Sharing Series within the next few weeks. Within this, we’ll be reaching out to various individual creatives from the industry to bring direct and informed tips and advice to creatives on what one can do to keep nurturing your craft in lockdown and beyond. From directing to producing, design to acting, to painting and writing.
That said, we thought we’d share a few of the things we’ve learnt as a company with you.
• Set deadlines
As a company operating on our own initiative (who are also close friends), we sometimes find ourselves allowing certain tasks to linger on, resulting in a delay of accomplishing them. However, we’ve come to realise over time that when we set deadlines for ourselves, delegate tasks and maintain accountability for our work, being efficient and productive can be very easy and enjoyable work. However, whenever we don’t make those deadlines exactly on time, we always do our best to practice compassion with ourselves and each other.
• Actively seek out and attend different events within the industry e.g. shows, networking events etc. as a company
Committing ourselves to doing this as often as we are able to has proved invaluable to us as a company because as a result, we’ve had the opportunity to meet and connect with a variety of companies and individuals. These meetings have, more often than not, led to further opportunities and/or connections, and have allowed us to gain helpful advice from people within the industry. We have often felt inspired after watching others’ work, and have also found that by widening our view on what work is out there being created, we have further solidified what kind of work we want to be doing. We’re also extremely grateful for the community we find ourselves a part of, through continuously making connections, we’ve met some incredible people over time, and could not be more thankful for our little supportive hub, both online and out in the wider world.
• Be adaptable
Practice this in every aspect of the work. Whether you find yourselves with a limited budget or space, or having to deal with rehearsal date/time/room changes, to having to manage your business amongst a pandemic, practice adaptability. This has been an extremely valuable lesson for us, and thinking in a ‘these are the cards we’ve been dealt with, how do I play them’ sort-of way has often worked in our favour, allowing us to let go of things we can’t control and keeping us motivated to control and nourish the things we can.
• Collaborate whenever possible
You’ve made all these connections, now put them to good use. This industry is hard enough as it is. The best thing we can do for each other is be there for each other. Be it through providing opportunities for one another, engaging in conversation about issues affecting the industry, working together on a job, the list goes on! Through the connections we’ve made, collaboration has been possible, and has often been helpful in also providing us with a different perspective on our work.
• Identify and encourage each other’s strengths
We’re two very different, and in ways, very similar people. We each have our own strengths, which have equally been a massive asset along the way. It’s crucial to acknowledge each other’s strengths so you can put them to good use and in turn challenge each other. It also helps with dividing the workload and with building confidence within our roles as company founders, which can then lead to pushing each other (in a very nurturing way) out of our respective comfort zones. • Be excited to learn and okay with failure
We’re still learning and we will always be learning, and that’s an exciting thing. If the learning ever stopped then we’d get bored pretty easily, wouldn’t you agree? Be excited to learn, actively seek out new, challenging opportunities that will push you safely beyond your limits. And remember, it’s okay to fail. Actually, it’s completely necessary, because without failure there is no such thing as success. P.S. Success is also relative.
If you'd like to get in touch with Abeille Theatre Company, you can contact them them through the following social media platforms or via email:
Instagram - @abeilletheatre
Facebook - Abeille Theatre & Abeille Theatre Workshops
Twitter - @AbeilleTheatre
E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
Abeille Theatre also shares their Conversations at Home series via their YouTube Channel - Abeille Theatre.
Emma began performing from a very young age. She is part of both National Youth Theatre and National Youth Musical Theatre. She has been dancing for over 20 years, training professionally in various dance styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap and musical theatre. In 2016, she graduated with a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University of Birmingham and went on to graduate as an actor from Arts Educational Schools in 2018. Emma has also been teaching within the performing arts sectors for 8 years. She is a co-founder of Abeille Theatre.
Spotlight Link: www.spotlight.com/5411-4533-9940
Bettina is an actor, director and theatremaker who over the years has gained skills across the industry spectrum; from theatre performance and acting, to production and direction, devising and tutoring. Before moving to London, she was an acting tutor for over 4 years and during that time, she also formed part of a 2-year Erasmus project (The Gap Arts Project) where she travelled to Birmingham, Budapest and her home country Malta to further her knowledge in TIE/DIE. Bettina has been making her own work for the last seven years and is a proud graduate from Arts Educational Schools. She is a co-founder of Abeille Theatre. Spotlight Link: www.spotlight.com/6211-3425-9175