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BArch Bild 183-85946-0003 / Christa Hochneder
Peter Arnott talking to a spectator at the launch.

Peter Arnott talking to a spectator at the launch.

Throughout the project, we will be gathering feedback from spectators at our events, and Peter will be reflecting on spectators’ ideas and responses as he works on the drafts of his play. So thank you to everyone who filled out feedback forms for us at our launch event and also to those who agreed to be interviewed by our project assistant, Lizzie Stewart. Here is a flavour of the feedback at our launch event:

‘I wouldn’t have thought that academic work can spark a creative process like that. I like the way Peter and Laura bounce ideas off each other, learning from each other. Thank you very much for a very entertaining – and thought-provoking evening!’

‘Enjoyed the insight into East German theatre and society and the process of using research in playwriting.’

‘It was really interesting to hear about the potential development of the process for the production and has given me the desire to search for an interesting story to turn into a play.’ 

Spectators at the reception.

Spectators at the reception.

‘Insight into the mind of the playwright and watching his ideas develop in the course of the evening.’

‘Great mix of storytelling, music and visuals.’

‘I thought I knew a little bit about Brecht but I really don’t know much at all and learnt a lot more tonight, which was great.’

‘Really interesting engaging format with the exchange between Peter and Laura, the stories, and the music.’

It’s really interesting that we’ll be able to see the draft version being rehearsed – that’s in March – so I’m looking forward to that.

‘It was just this kind of encounter between two really different ways of seeing things was really interesting. You know, Laura having this very kind of really well-developed understanding of the situation and having somebody coming in from a really different point of view and using it to inspire a piece of performance. And what’s great about that is it closes the circle back on to the performance which Laura writes about too, which is really good.’

Dave Robb playing at the reception.

Dave Robb playing at the reception.

‘Lots of things surprised me, but what interested me most was when Peter was talking about writing the play. And you know, you get this topic and you think how does he – how’s he going to make this into a play? And him just talking through each reaction to the research material, how he, when he spotted something, he’d think of it in terms of theatre. I don’t know if that’s a surprise, but it’s just interesting.’

Laura and spectators copy

A spectator talking to Laura about the GDR.

‘I think something that struck me from what I saw from the literature about the event ahead of time, and then also on the evening, was that there was genuine room for a creative process. So there wasn’t a sense that the playwright was being commissioned to write a play about this specific aspect of things that had to include these people and lalala, so here is your identikit project, now go and make it beautiful and creative, and we’ll put it on on this date. It was a sense that there seemed to be an understanding of the playwright’s process in terms of space and time to think and work up a story and then to do the rehearsed readings. Rather than setting in stone “it must be for this point here”, when you’ve not even had a chance to look at the material. So there was an openness there which is nice.’ 

It’s a fascinating project and I think it’s a very beautifully developed way of looking at things. And I’m excited to see how it turns out!’

We also had a couple of useful tips for future events. Two people mentioned that it would have been nice to have longer for the Q&A, and one asked if we could include some German in the programme, so we’ll bear both of these points in mind for next time!