The Bee Project - Studio blog

We caught up with Laura Ryder and Co, who tell us more about The Bee Project, coming to our Studio on Friday 8 June!

We are Laura Ryder and Co. and we’re a collective of artists based in the Midlands. We’ve been working together since 2016 and The Bee Project is our first show together. The team that make up The Bee Project are Laura Ryder, Freya Sharp, Maria Terry, Luke Galloway, James Varney and, more recently in rehearsals as director, David Ralfe.

The Bee Project is about the environment, care, friendship and, of course, bees. The piece explores the importance of looking after each other and, in turn, the planet. Our two main characters, Freya and Laura, find themselves at a party and quickly discover the true meaning of their friendship when the night takes a turn for the worst. The development of this section of the piece has been our main focus over the last 2 years as we concentrated on linking the care that Freya and Laura find in their friendship, into the care needed to fight against the declining number of wild bees and the alarming impact this could have on our world.

When making the show we explored what it means to look after each other as artists and applied the values of the piece to our artistic practice in the rehearsal room. The Bee Project has been devised in a completely collaborative way; incorporating movement, text and design to tell our story. We are really excited to share our work with audiences and engage them in discussions about how we can work together to tackle environmental issues and how, by looking after each other, we can also look after our natural world.

The show is packed with movement and dance as part of the storytelling. We carried out lots of research on how honey bees communicate by movement and we wanted to explore how we can emphasise this factual element into our storytelling through dance and metaphor. The show is fun and messy - like a party you might find yourself at by 4am! The design of the show was developed from this concept; rebellion, disorder, protest, celebration and, of course, guerrilla gardening!

We found a real joy in the physical mess that our bodies create throughout the piece, and our favourite aspect of the show as a company is the sections where we mimic the movements of bees. It was a really interesting part of our rehearsal process to explore how bees move and how we, as humans, can explore bees’ range of movements and the reasons behind them. We’ve had fantastic responses from audiences about the movement and mess in the piece; it’s a really fun way to tell our story and an impactful way to share a vital environmental message. We scratched the piece at Derby Theatre and MAC last year and, after securing Arts Council funding, have now been able to tour the show to Camden People’s Theatre and Attenborough Arts Centre. After our performance at Derby Theatre in June, we will be at The Belgrade in Coventry 14th-16th June.

If we were to sum up the show in three words it would be: dancing, friendship and lots of GLITTER!

You can find out more and book to see The Bee Project here.