The Imaginate and Lyra residency will be led by Jim Manganello who will work with a group of boys of differing ages at St Francis RC Primary School from January to March 2020. The group will work together at Lyra, coming out of school one day a week for a term to explore the theme of boyhood and how gender expectations affect children.
This residency will celebrate boys and their friends. Through dance, song, image and character, this group of primary school boys will create a performance piece that tests the boundaries of intimacy and vulnerability among young men. We will devise material from the boys' own understanding of what makes a good friendship. We'll also look at how other relationships among males (parent/child, mentor/pupil, law-enforcer/-breaker) might be recast as versions of friendship, creating a sense of intergenerational support and hand-over.
There is a crisis in male friendship, and it seems to be getting deeper with each generation. Recent research suggests that the loneliness endemic to adult men results from the values of individualism and invulnerability cultivated in boys. Although boys seem to maintain deep, trusting, loving friendships before puberty, as they enter manhood, they are taught to value self-reliance over caring, and they grow more and more alone. This residency, conducted with a group of boys on the cusp of that shift, seeks both to reflect the complexity of that transition and to celebrate the joys of boyhood friends. Perhaps we can enshrine the values of friendship before it is lost.