The making of Living Postcards, by Peter Groom, September 2012

Peter Groom, Creative Director of Living Postcards, talking about his process in general and his experiences on this project

“Living Postcards began in the summer of 2012. I wanted to create short pieces that could be filmed at locations around the region. I was keen to make something that was boldly expressive and could allow whatever it was that we wanted to say, to become possible. At the start of the process often, if not always, we don’t know what it is we are making and it’s really the meeting of people in the studio that kicks off the process.

We worked on this project with a collection of different types of performers, dancer Beth Loughran, actor Jen Carss, film maker Joe Youngman and myself.

We started with nothing, just ourselves and the idea of making something. I come with very small ideas; perhaps ‘bits of things’ that I think are useful. With Living Postcards it was pictures of places. I came across photographs of Berlin in 1945, just after the war had ended and I was struck by these. One in particular, of a woman outside her shell of an apartment block, in a swimming costume, hair fixed, watering her plants. This was charming to me; the care she takes with the plants in light of her home behind her was such an intriguing contrast and seemed to say something.

The photographs become starting points for us; I asked the performers to create responses to these photographs. These can lead to anything, movements, stories or performed images and I wanted to eventually combine all these things to create pieces where dancers spoke and actors moved and could express themselves however they want.

We spent a lot of the rehearsal time just exploring, I ask a lot of questions and we make a lot of material. Invariably most of this ends up not being used in the piece but it does give us a huge collection from which to pick things we like which are then worked to create the piece. The locations were a huge part in the making of these films. We had to find places that would allow the things we had made to happen. We were lucky to be able to film in some fantastic locations from all around the region and the settings were so beautiful, we were thrilled.

We enjoyed making these short films very much and the freedom given to us by everyone involved to make what we wanted was so generous and kind, and I’d like to thank everybody.

So thankyou, and here’s to more.”