by Takako Hasegawa, AA Foundation Master and AA 3rd year Stefan Jovanovic
13 June 2014 Architectural Association, London   The making of…’ is always the most exciting part of anything creative – and so will the making of the AA Birthday Party be this year!   On 8 October 2014, the AA will celebrate its 167th anniversary and we are now in the midst of assembling the creative team who, through an extensive series of summer workshops, will design and create the programme of events for the day.   [caption id="attachment_3270" align="alignnone" width="360"]Fire Eating at the 1978 AA Carnival Image credit: AA Photolibrary Fire Blowing at the 1978 AA Carnival
Image credit: AA Photolibrary[/caption] Our aim is to transform the Georgian-period buildings we know as the Architectural Association into a theatre for a birthday party that Bedford Square will never forget. To this end, we have invited a number of remarkable theatre, dance and art curation experts to collaborate with us in creating this crazy extravaganza. The experts will lead the summer workshops scheduled over two phases; one right after Projects Review, and the other just before the start of the new academic year.
Punchdrunk, the immersive theatre company who spoke at the Performance & the City Symposium that we hosted earlier this year, will kick start the workshop over the first two days starting on June 28, working in none other than Temple Studios, the theatre set of their infamous ongoing performance The Drowned Man. They will immerse our team into the world of their unique methodology through site-sympathetic design & performance Masterclasses, led by their choreographers and set designers.   We will then be joined by Frank Bock (Art Director & Curator) & Katye Coe (Dancer & Artist) back at the AA to learn about collective processes of team building through movement, trust, and sensory workshops.   Soon after, Fred Gehrig, former actor and dancer in The Drowned Man, will challenge the team with his Laban method, guiding us though a series of games for creating performances, lighting and sound design, and …   [caption id="attachment_3271" align="alignnone" width="360"]A scene from Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man Image credit: Birgit & Ralf A scene from Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man
Image credit: Birgit & Ralf[/caption] Let us not forget about costumes and food, for there is no party without either of these. Together with Raluca Grada, conceptual artist and costume designer, we will investigate how to combine the act of eating with dressing, simultaneously creating a feast of courses to be tasted through the unraveling of various wardrobes on the big day.   Colin Priest, architect and site-specific performance artist, will help us begin to translate our wild ideas into the process of event production, as well as the logistics and delivery, so that we can make it all happen!   This is to name but a few of the workshop leaders who will be joining us in Phase 1, ending on July 9.   The ideas explored in the Phase 1 workshops will form the basis when we re-assemble on September 15th for Phase 2. We will then start structuring the programme of events, games, competitions, and stories for the day; working in teams; calling out for volunteers; and beginning to turn the AA into the theatre of a birthday party.
This is an exciting opportunity for current and past AA students to become part of a very different type of experience to what one would usually find throughout the academic year. It will allow participants to engage with professionals who each offer a series of invaluable skills. But, most importantly, this event will re-animate the space with which we are all too familiar into a fictional world and event that for now we can only dream of.   [caption id="attachment_3272" align="alignnone" width="360"]A Christmas Cartoon in 1925 from the AA periodical Harlequinade Image credit: AA Archive A Christmas Cartoon in 1925 from the AA periodical Harlequinade
Image credit: AA Archive[/caption] Applications to the AA Birthday Party Creative Summer Workshops are open till June 20 2014. Without any required fees, it is open to all current AA students and alumni who can commit to both Phase 1 and 2 workshops, culminating in the birthday party on 8 October.   Workshop places are limited to 20 people, so apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!   For more information: Phase 1 workshop: Sat 28 June – Wed 9 July Phase 2 workshop: Mon 15 Sept – Fri 26 Sept If you have any questions, please contact: aabirthdayparty@aaschool.ac.uk Apply to participate in the AA Birthday Party Workshops Like us on facebook