My name is Hannah Butterfield. I am a theatre maker and facilitator based in Leeds. Sometimes I am Hannah Butterfield, choreographer. And workshop leader. Sometimes I’ll be a vocal coach, and sometimes a writer. Occasionally I am a musician. Quite frequently I am one third of The Souvenirs Theatre. I am an explorer.

Recently, I became one of 19 emerging theatre artists to be awarded the BBC Performing Arts Fund grant for a Theatre Fellowship with Sheffield-based Third Angel for 2013/2014. I have followed its work for the past six years and have been increasingly excited by the theatre work that it makes. Third Angel also has a wonderful reputation for supporting the up-and-coming faces of contemporary theatre, and has been extremely generous in its facilitation of the emerging creative work of individuals and companies across the country. I have a million and one questions to ask, and I am currently reminding myself I have six months to soak up as much experience as possible.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this project for me is that I am going to be supported in the development of a new solo theatre piece of my own, the idea for which was submitted as part of the selection process. At the end of my six-month fellowship, I will be performing this piece at venues in both Sheffield and Leeds. This work is the result of a slightly unusual experiment. I spent a working day ‘at work’ in the world, sitting in Leeds train station imagining, observing and remembering. I thought a lot about travel, about saying hello and saying goodbye, and for hours I considered the effect of modern ticket barriers on ideas of romance. I went on to write a performance score that I have been desperate to use! It’s part performance text, part choreography, part song. I am a multi-disciplinary theatre maker and I am fascinated by the endless ways in which a performer can communicate with an audience. It is my hope that this piece will explore this relationship, because, basically, people are really, really interesting.

Spending a ‘working day’ at Leeds City Train Station wasn’t as romantic as I had hoped. I did not see many painful goodbyes or joyful hellos. But I kept tally charts for a many number of human occurrences that have resulted in the performance score I have written for live theatre space. By the end of the day, I had achieved what I had come for. I had been witness to a whole variety of warm greetings, introductions and goodbyes. I’d even been part of one myself. I guess, if you think about it, if you sit somewhere public, somewhere nearby to a place you know, you are bound to bump into someone you know. Not very romantic, no. Comforting? I think so.

I’m right at the beginning of this journey, I hope you find it interesting. A huge thank you to Third Angel and The BBC Performing Arts Fund for this opportunity. Watch this space…

Photo by Flickr user Richard North under a Creative Commons licence.