A Manual for attending the NOA
Congratulations! You have signed up to join the NOA and have a very exciting year ahead of you! It’s fantastic that you have decided to take part, and you’re really most super welcome.
We have created this short info sheet to help you have an understanding that you as Beginners are the actual place where the NOA is happening. You are indeed the NOA. It would not exist without you and your commitment to it.
Please take your time to familiarize yourself with these rules. These have been borne out of the experience of the last few years of the NOA. These are solely in place for the purpose of clarity, and to enable things to function as well as possible.
We kindly ask you to check the box on the sign up form confirming that you have read these rules and thus agree to them. If there is something you don’t agree with, or would like clarification on, please drop us a line.
1. How to support the work from the outside in?
1.1. Please be Reliable
As a Beginner you have signed up to be part of a continuously working group. The Beginners group is more than a theatre company, a gang, or even a family. Try and imagine it as innovative group work which is an experiment in progress, designed to open up the vast possibilities and the wilderness which constitute the true extent of human nature.
To ensure that the group remains cared for and respected, please heed the following points:
- Please be punctual and arrive in good time (online or in person!) for any group work.
- Attendance for all the dates that constitute the annual schedule of the NOA are compulsory for everyone.
- If you are asked to do any preparation before a workshop, please make the time to do this. This enables the workshop to take place as planned. This mainly applies to third years, but there might homework in some occasions for other groups too!
- Please be mindful of group dynamics, and be respectful to your fellow students. This work can sometimes be challenging, so always endeavour to remain balanced. Bring along all the skills that you have developed throughout your life, and learn from everyone else too.
- Psychoactive substances, even socially accepted ones such as alcohol, are not allowed whilst you are working or performing with your group, or taking part in any activity that constitutes part of the annual schedule of the NOA.
1.2. Create “your circle”
It is only possible to begin something new when familiar paths end. Improvising in front of others, opening up to a group, being with people that trigger you – and sooner or later they will – one must try to look at all of these challenges as invitations to a Fools quest. As well as promoting your personal growth, this will also benefit the social wellbeing of your group. Fuelling personal conflicts outside the work and refusing to work on them in the circle will undermine the work in the end. It can be a tough nut to crack for some, but you must try to bring your conflicts into the circle. But how?
- When someone or something triggers you, try to not to be reactive, defensive, or to shut yourself off. These moments are gifts. You must try to realize what is happening within you. What has been triggered? What action caused this, and why? This can of course be difficult work, but it’s no harder than standing up alone in your circle when others remain seated. That is point when the Fool jumps off the cliff. This is the starting point of the Structure: Getting Out of the Audience.
- Invite your fellow group members to go on this quest with you. They have all signed up for the same thing. What a brave and incredible group of people you are! Take advantage of this once in a lifetime situation. Ask of them what you ask yourself. Turn your adventure into theirs, and their attention will support you. In the structure: Play.
- Play out what you start to see within yourself. This is your endless source of material. Be brave. In the structure: A Play.
- Don’t have the answer ready before the quest starts. Meet the unknown, unprepared. In the structure: The Play.
- In this work, performing arts, therapy, and – in some ways spiritual practice (such as mindfulness) – come together. Be willing to explore all three dimensions of the work, simultaneously and on their own.
If you are somehow triggered, instead of following the natural instinct to protect yourself, try to be mindful of protecting the safe and nurturing space that’s been created within your group. This is where you can meet the unknown. Protect and nurture this wherever you see it: in yourself, and also in finding ways to provide it for others. Give them the attention they need to enter the work, in the same way they give it to you. This will promote and enhance everyone’s experience.
Please note: There might be times when you are struggling. Sometimes you might feel you cannot work with a particular person in your group – or even your group as a whole. You must be aware that these are very important moments within the work. In these times it is of paramount importance NOT to leave the process. These are exactly the moments where you can understand the generosity and acceptance from your group, and start to have less strict judgments about others. Let yourself know that exactly in these moments you need to be a FOOL to move on.
2. How to support the work from the inside out?
2.1. Please try your best to be hospitable
A lot of new people will enter your life through NOA. Hospitality and openness is the soil on which the work can grow, and you can use any occasion to practice this!
- Be friendly and open to everyone that you meet in the NOA.
- Where possible, nurture your foolish work by creating practice circles in your local communities.
- Spread the word about public NOA events such as workshops and performances. Word of mouth, emails, postcards, letters…. seagulls or even social media. All good! Be inventive! For the publicity, there will be ONE responsible person for each open to public NOA Event to supervise this. A person will be chosen from each group for each station, and this will be decided upon at the start of the year.
2.1. Please try your best to be organized
Understanding and supporting the logistics of a widespread community such as the NOA is helpful for everyone and enables things to move forward in a positive direction.
- Please read all emails that come from the organisational team and reply to them within any requested space of time. This is hugely important for us to make the logistics work.
- There may well be some organisational meetings, online or if possible live. It’s also very important for everyone to attend these as and when asked to!
- Make sure that within your group you have ONE responsible person per “on board station” to discuss organizational issues such as accommodation, travel, arrivals, keys etc. of the group with the organizing Team. Also here, A person will be chosen from each group for each station, and this will be decided upon at the start of the year. This applies to NOA as a traveling academy again, not so much to the online work as it is explicitly predominant during corona times.
- It is recommended to organize common accommodation as a group. But do not feel ashamed when you want to stay alone. As said before, your group is not your family, it is more and if you need some headspace from it, no one will blame you for that.
- Please be punctual with your payments and do not let yourself be reminded for it
3. Fail. Learn. Begin.
Some of these rules might be not part of your skillset so far. That is ok. But bring along the willingness to try and enter new paths on your inner map. We are looking forward to being together with you!