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TJ @ Viz-A-Viz

Number Two - The LIFE Tour

It hasn't been very long since I wrote my last newsletter, I know, but here is another one. I have actually been at Viz-A-Viz for six weeks now, so there are plenty of exciting things to write about. Don't expect newsletters to keep arriving this often - as the year progresses I anticipate having less new things to tell you, and besides which, the last newsletter was, for a variety of reasons, quite late.

My first couple of weeks at Viz-A-Viz were spent mostly in the office, and there were occasions when I ran out of work and got bored. However, since then we have been touring with Dennis and Propaganda doing the LIFE show. After doing a few shows locally, we did a leg of the tour in Scotland, and then another in south-west England. We have just come back from a fantastic week in Dublin, doing Sound Nation, a week-long, schools-based mission culminating in a big youth event. After a difficult start in the schools there was a great response. We were really well looked after by our Irish hosts too, they are now working on following up what we kicked off.

There are two more LIFE shows left this year in London and Thetford. Before the end of October we will be in Southampton doing a Golden Years show, aimed at older people. We are also working on preparing the Christmas show Tinsel and Truth, which we will be touring in December.


I know it has been a month or so, but I am still not settled in. This is quite normal for me - I take a long time to settle in anywhere. Having been away for the last month, I also feel rather detached from church. I'm pretty sure that by the end of the year I'll be quite attached to Viz-A-Viz and not want to leave, but I'd rather that came sooner than later.
Having been away on tour now I know that it is hard work, much as I expected. Please keep praying for strength and energy when we are away.
Please pray for the preperation of Sound Nation, Golden Years and our Christmas show, Tinsel and Truth. We have a lot of work to do to put these shows together (esp. the theatre group), and not a great deal of time to do so, since we are on the road a lot of the time.
Pray for the follow up work in Dublin, that God will move still more powerfully there.

A Day in the LIFE Tour

MorningGet up, meet up and travel to the new venue. How early we rise depends on how far we have to travel, which can be and hour drive, or seven hours! Dennis and Propaganda Theatre Company travel in his car, while Simon (the other technician) and I share the driving of the van with all the equipment in. Finding the venue is always fun and we invariably make at least one wrong turn, mostly not too serious.
Early afternoonWe arrive at whatever venue we are using (school hall, theatre or church), unload the van (with help from the organising church) and set up the equipment. Dennis and Propaganda set up the stage, but also work on future shows. Once all the equipment is running we do sound and lighting checks.
Dinneris provided by the church that is organising the event. The menu is pretty varied, and we are normally very full.
Pre-showWe pray for the show, make our final preperations and wait for people to arrive.
The LIFE Show The show itself is a mixture of video, music, drama and chat. It is aimed mostly at adults, and encourages the audience to start thinking about what the important things in life are. As Dennis puts it: Often we spend so much time living that we don't stop to think about what life is really about. In his chats Dennis discusses the wonder, love and security that make life meaningful and, ultimately, can only come from God. These points are illustrated in the video clips that we play and the drama that Propaganda perform. Many of the churches use the show to encourage people along to an Alpha course, where they have the opportunity of asking questions and discussing the same issues as the show raises.
Post-showSimon and I pack the equipment down while the others spend time talking to people about life, the show and what Viz-A-Viz do.
OvernightWe stay with hosts from the organising church(es). It is a little disruptive to just stay one night with each host, but we are always very well looked after.
MorningGet up and do the same again in a different venue. If we don't have a great deal of driving to do, the mornings can be used for planning meetings, or for lie-ins.

LIFE food

Just before the third show on the tour we were served lasagne. At this point I shared a story about the time I cooked lazagne for Delirious?, when they came to Cambridge, only to find that they had been served lasagne at every other venue to date. We then received lasagne three times running ourselves. Fortunately this trend changed, but our diet (LIFE and Dublin) is broken down below:

Shepherd's Pie***(3)

We were served haggis (and chicken) at the last venue in Scotland (Fraiserburgh), by an oil-rig chef. And yes, I did like it, though not all of the team did.