TJ @ Viz-A-Viz
Number Four - Tinsel Tour & more
Just before Christmas (23rd December) we finished a tour of "Tinsel and Truth, The Show". This was not a tour in the same sense as the LIFE tour, most of the venues were close enough for us to come home each night.
In preparation for the show, Simon and I did a lot of work in the office. As part of the show package we produce publicity material for the churches who are hosting the show, so we spent several days overprinting details onto posters, fliers and tickets. The show incorporates a number of video clips so we spent time working with Dave Lodge (in the Viz-A-Viz media department) to produce these. (I spent a few days just watching all the classic, and not-so-classic Christmas movies).
The tour went well, from the first show things ran very smoothly (with the exception of intermittent radio microphone failures), which was good because we hadn't rehearsed a complete show. Most of the venues we visited were filled, and on one occasion it was standing room only. The show went down well with all the audiences. The message of the show; -that the gritty truth of Christmas is more important than the tinsel- seemed rather familiar and mundane to me, but God has been working, and people have been really moved by it.
Just after Christmas we spent a couple of weeks in the office. I spent a lot of time looking after Viz-A-Viz's computers, as well as helping with publicity and material for forthcoming shows. Working with Stuart (one of Viz-A-Viz's school's workers) we did a few lessons in Basildon (more to come), based on Johnny's Choices, a version of Deconstructing Johnny for junior children. We also took a service at Thundersley Congregational Church, my own church. TCC supports a number of the staff at Viz-A-Viz, so we went to explain, and to a certain extent demonstrate what it is that we do
The last week of so of January has been very busy. First of all we started a mini-tour of a show called Challenge, aimed at encouraging young people to get involved in evangelism, including the volunteer schemes that Viz-A-Viz runs. Then it was off to Farham (near Portsmouth) to do a LIFE show. We spent a weekend in Didcot "launching" the SoundNation that we are due to do there in March, running services and training the people in evangelism. Finally we spent a week doing youth work in and around Bedford.
Looking forward, we have a load more school's work in various places, the actual SoundNation week in Didcot. Then in April we are touring a new show, called Three Days. We are still the the process of producing Three Days, so expect more news on it in my next letter...
Tinsel and Truth TruthsThe majority of the first half of Tinsel and Truth - The Show sees Propaganda? presenting their "Tinsel Truths"; little factlets about Christmas like why Turkeys are called Turkeys, and why we put trees indoors. I won't ruin the show for you (should you ever see it) by telling you these, but here are some facts and figures from the tour:
Our week in Bedford was one of early starts and long days. Propaganda? Theatre Company, Ian, Simon and I spent five days working with Adam, Simon and Judith, schools' workers in the Bedford area; and the churches that support them. All our days were very full - spent in local schools performing Deconstructing Johnny, and the slightly younger version˜Dream on Johnny. Over five days we did about 20 DJs in six schools, and invited the children to three Sound events in the evenings. At times it was a little tedious to keep doing the same thing time after time, but the Jerry Spring Onion Show is always different. On only a few occasions were the students quiet for that part, they generally got very involved and vocal.
The Sound events were similar to the youth event that we would do at the end of a SoundNation week. We showed video, more drama and played The Weakest Link. All this was mixed in with loud music, loud lighting and MC Ian. At the end Ian invited the kids to get involved in the discovery courses that the schools' workers are running. From only having a day's contact (in some cases less) in the schools, we got hundreds of kids and there was lots of interest in discovering more about God.
I got my first taste of stardom at one of the middle schools we visited. During the lunch break we went out into the playground and were immediately mobbed by children wanting our autographs and asking "Are you famous?" I realised we were only being asked for our autographs because no child wanted to be the one without a complete set, but still signed my little monogram about fifty times.
Like most, the Viz-A-Viz office relies heavily on computers. Over the last few weeks in particular, I have found myself doing a lot of work on them. We have recently been given a batch of new computers, so I spent a while cataloguing and rearranging the old computers in readiness, so we can hopefully throw some of the (very) old ones out.
The Viz-A-Viz band, until recently just Andy & Joy Clark, now joined by Andy B (a volunteer, like me), has just changed its name, from Double Check to Taste. As a result their website has had to be moved and changed. It now resides at taste.vizaviz.org, or www.taste.vizaviz.org. Andy B and I are in the process of a complete redesign of the site, which should be coming soon...