Tricky Hat Productions to Head to Japan With HONŌ:FLAMES Performance

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Tricky Hat Productions to Head to Japan With HONŌ:FLAMES Performance

Tricky Hat's performance company for people over the age of 50 - The Flames - is reigniting with a brand-new performance taking place on Sunday 12th April in Sendai, Japan. Honō (Japanese for Flame) has evolved from Tricky Hat Productions artistic team's research trips to Japan in 2017 and 2018. This project is supported by the British Council and Creative Scotland partnership as part of 'UK in Japan 2019-20', a joint initiative by the British Council and the British Embassy Tokyo to highlight the breadth of the UK's relationship with Japan.

Fiona Miller, Director, said of the collaboration: "Tricky Hat has been testing and establishing The Flames in Scotland since 2016. The Flames is a performance company that creates live, multimedia events with groups of older people, based on their stories, life experience, hopes and dreams. We are delighted to collaborate with LondonPANDA Theatre Company in Sendai who offer their expertise and excellent artistic remit in the region."

A small group of Flames will collaborate with a group of older people based in Sendai - in partnership with LondonPANDA Theatre Company - to create a multimedia performance event. After the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, many grassroots area projects came to life in the Sendai and Tōhoku area. Through cleverly combining film, music and performance to explore the theme 'tsunami', this unique performance of devised work will explore people's past, their present, and their hopes and dreams for the future.

Speaking about the benefits of this collaboration, Fiona explained: "Eight years after the Great Eastern Earthquake and Tsunami, this collaboration is seen as therapeutic in helping older people express trauma through art. Using Tricky Hat artistic processes, in collaboration with LondonPANDA, the project offers new forms of expression as a way to explore personal experiences. Three Scottish Flames will work alongside a group of Japanese Flames to bring another dimension to the project. Together they will explore the theme of tsunami, from a personal perspective and from the experiences of local people in the Sendai area."

The Flames hail from all corners of Scotland's central belt and were first established in Autumn 2016 as part of the Luminate Festival. For the c??:Honō:Flames performance, three experienced Flames will travel to Japan to work at pace with older people based in Sendai: exploring ideas, devising in partnership with associate artists, and igniting their creative spark.

Fiona: "I see c??:Honō:Flames as the starting point of a new era offering a creative and credible voice to older people internationally. We hope c??:Honō:Flames will be the first of many artistic and creative exchanges between professional artists and older people in Scotland and Japan in the coming years."

Fiona delivered an information session in Sendai in November 2019. This was hugely successful: after only two days of advertising the session, the maximum number of bookings (30 people) was reached and the list had to be closed. Says Director Fiona of the visit:

"It was an amazing experience. I couldn't have imagined what came out of it. Although there are collaborative projects taking place in Japan, they don't devise theatre like this over there. Japanese people are shy and humble, but, when given the permission to talk about their life, they are unstoppable."

The Scottish Flames are excited for the challenge that c??Honō:Flames will bring, explaining:

Pene: "I'm really looking forward to working with the Japanese performers. It will be really interesting to see a different side of life."

Tom:"The challenge I'm looking forward to is how we communicate all the ideas that we'll explore in the performance."

Jess: "We had to write in an application for why we wanted to go, and I wrote: 'This is totally out of my comfort zone!' If The Flames are about anything, it's about lifting you out of your comfort zone."

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