At the end of July the core team of iceandfire decamped to the wilds of Norfolk for their first ever company Away Day. An intense three days was spent there in a hostel; brainstorming, planning and consolidating a clear financial and artistic vision spanning the next three years. The concept of an Away Day can sometimes be redolent of corporate jollies – horrid junkets involving paintballing and ‘trust’ exercises with Norman from accounts. Used effectively however, an Away Day can provide a vital space for discussion and exchange, especially within a company such as iceandfire where staff work part time hours and across numerous different projects.

As the company has expanded in recent times, and taken on more and more projects, it has become increasingly necessary to build in time for reflection as well as action within the company, and facilitate discussion across its various strands. Thus, as a way of creating artistic cohesion and fostering crossover between projects, it was decided at the Away Day that each year for the next three years all our main projects will operate under one overarching theme. Amid much consideration and debate, the themes for the next three years emerged… 2010’s theme will be Freedom of Expression, with the ideas for 2011 and 2012 to be consolidated early next year. The group discussion around these proposed themes proved rich, sparking off numerous ideas and further interrogating existing projects in light of this focus. Exciting plans for 2010 will include a main-stage production about journalists who have taken great personal risks to challenge the official version of the truth in their own countries, and Outreach scripts exploring both the way older peoples’ human rights are perceived in the UK, and UK Counter Terror Laws.

Thanks to those few cramped days in our hostel lounge, the company was able to take a long term look at iceandfire and the journey it will make in the next three years. Our aim to find new ways of looking at human rights and using theatre as a dynamic medium to explore this was reinforced; to erupt not from a point of didactic certainty, but a position of curiosity and questioning. It was agreed that in addition to finding new lenses with which to view human rights stories, the forms of performance we utilise might too begin to shift, pushing new boundaries and exploring new forms from an artistic perspective, of storytelling.

Mercifully there was neither paintballing nor ‘trust’ exercises in Norfolk – there was however, among copious cups of tea and biscuits, a collective breathing space afforded, and a shared and exciting company vision which emerged re-energised over our three days medikamente viagra.

iceandfire’s away day was kindly sponsored by the AW.60 Trust

By Mary Connolly, General Manager

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