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Guest blog by Ingenious Workshops Artist Vicky Hancock
My name is Vicky, but many know me as Jeu Jeu la Foille. I’m a poet, puppeteer and clown. For a decade I made burlesque vignettes that focused heavily on storytelling and the use of props, while working as a full time drama teacher in further education colleges across London and Hampshire. In 2016 I began writing poetry, and created a solo theatre show called ‘Jeu Jeu la Foille’s Frontal Lobotomy.’ I use puppets and objects in my work like they are other actors, to add symbolic layers of meaning, and to compliment the spoken word. I have written a second solo show entitled ‘Jeu Jeu la Foille’s Testy Manifesto’, which again employs puppetry, poetry and various disguises, and will be touring this – pandemic permitting – in Summer/Autumn 2021.
Pre-pandemic I had never once used zoom, I had never taught or taken part in an online workshop, never done a live-streamed performance or an online poetry/cabaret gig. At first I lamented not having real live humans in the same room to perform to or work with, but I gradually got used to the idea, and now I’m excited about the possibility and accessibility of working in this way. I re-jigged ‘Frontal Lobotomy’ at the end of last year to remove the parts with audience interaction, and was able to live-stream it and therefore reach the people who were not able to attend a past live performance. I also turned the script and process blogs into a printed book, which I’ve just published, and I made several poetry films of my newer material. I wish it hadn’t taken a deadly, highly contagious virus to force me to think outside of the box like this, but there we are.
I’m really thrilled to be part of the Ingenious Fools Laughter and Movement project. It has allowed me to take a skill and subject I know very well, and adapt it for a digital format; learning new skills along the way. We all know how crucial the arts are to our well-being, and I’m looking forward to bringing my own style of nonsense and creativity to help support people with physical and learning disabilities this Spring.