Building my ship – making Sailing Through The Dark by Amelia Cavallo

Two years ago, Liberty Festival commissioned me to make a one woman show under the direction of Paul Evans, a fantastic choreographer, director and performer for NoFit State Circus and his own company, Flying Diplodocus. We called it I Breathe and put everything I love into it. I sang and played music I had written, talked about some of the odder things in my life, made people laugh and got to swing around on a trapeze while singing. Two years on, I was approached by Liberty to make a new show that could be similar to or completely different from I Breathe. I was basically given free reign to create whatever I wanted, a situation that is like gold dust in the arts community. This being my first time fully in the driver’s seat, I decided quickly that I did not want to do this show alone. I also quickly realized why people hire their friends. Being in the driver’s seat is scary! I am not a general manager and I am normally TERRIBLE at admin, yet here I am managing budgets and tech specs and employers insurance and risk assessments and access requirements… And this is before I get into the rehearsal room.

Amelia Cavallo 3 credit Oliver Cross

I brought in Tina Carter from the get go, because we know each other very well. She was one of the first to teach me how to do aerial, and is to whom I attribute a lot of my skill and my love for the art form. She also choreographed the first aerial show I was in as well as multiple pieces afterwards, AND she is a brilliant performer. I brought in Ben Goffe because he is one of those people that can literally do everything. He sings, he acts, he dances, he plays multiple instruments, he’s an acrobat, he’s a great MC…. And he makes us Oreo brownies. Always a win.

Our first weeks of rehearsals were about working out the aerial and acrobatic sections of the show and figuring out what we wanted to talk about. Liberty is a disability led festival, so how do we address disability if we address it at all? Do I talk about being blind? How does Tina position herself as a non-disabled but also not conventional (older) aerialist?

I started with the music. This is usually my process. I was very inspired by traditional sounding circus music, and old Hollywood musicals which is a bit of a leap from the type of stuff I normally write. It was extremely fun to translate this music onto the instruments Ben and I play and to see where it took the choreography and the story. We ended with an up beat, sassy opening number, a nostalgic ballad akin to something Julie Andrews might sing for my act, a light jazzy dance number for Ben, a clowny circusy number for Tina, and a mash up of everything for the finale.

Amelia Cavallo credit Oliver Cross

Now, at the end of our process, we have made what I would call modern theatrical circus performance. We have an overarching concept/metaphor for the piece that shifts into individual acts for each performer. We decided we are all “sailing on the ship of life” which sounds a bit cheesy, but given that the show is loosely based on old musicals, that didn’t bother any of us. It also gave us tons of imagery to play with physically and lyrically.

One of Tina’s strengths as director/choreographer has been to use the aerial silks as pieces of set or costume. We use the fabric to turn our space into a big top style tent, or to give us comfortable looking seats in the air and on the ground. Tina uses the fabric to accentuate various parts of her body, and I build images of sailing and sea. Tina also has included a lot of what I might call “aerial nerd” choreography. Those who are new to the skill may miss this, but so many of the transitions and moves are not done conventionally. I hope those who know silks go away with at least one moment of, “ohhhh! I didn’t know you could do that move in that way!”

Being a blindy, I was also very keen to make sure audio description was included. This is particularly difficult when working in a physical medium like aerial. You kind of need to know what you are doing in order to know how to describe it! Luckily, Ben and Tina are pros at this meaning the AD came fairly quickly. Some of the AD is included in the lyrics, some of it as asides. All is out loud, proud and integrated without headsets.

As for the dilemma about how to discuss our identify in relation to this particular festival, we just decided to talk about ourselves and things that we go through. Disability does come up in multiple ways, but it’s really about people. It’s a piece that I could see in future having more performers making it even more diverse and exciting. (This may happen in future) Over all, it is a piece that hopefully will bring everyone a bit of joy and laughter, maybe a few tears, and hopefully some good old fashioned entertainment.


Don’t miss the premiere performances of Sailing Through The Dark by Amelia Cavallo
Saturday 3 September
South Lawn, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
2.25pm & 4.55pm
More info here

GDIF2016 – Deaf Men Dancing

We’re highlighting some of the companies and performances scheduled for this summer’s festival. First up is an introduction to Deaf Men Dancing and their show TEN, written by Deaf Men Dancing’s Choreographer and Director Mark Smith

Deaf Men Dancing is an all-male deaf dance company with a fusion of different styles of dance incorporating British Sign-Language into movement. The essence of my work is to use sign language as an inherent part of the creative process and integrate it into the movement vocabulary, rather than use it as a commentary to the performance.

Deaf Men Dancing - TEN 6

The ideas I developed for TEN, were inspired by double acts like Laurel & Hardy, Flanagan & Allen, Morecambe & Wise, Abbott & Costello and Gilbert & George. I was also inspired by vaudeville & music hall acts.

When I was a kid, Charlie Chaplin was my idol. I grew up watching Chaplin’s films. The silent film format was accessible for me to watch because it was very visual and even had “subtitles” or just “titles” for me to read. That’s where I got the idea of getting the dancers to hold printed cards with text to the audience during the performance. While I was researching for TEN, I discovered that Chaplin was good friends with a deaf actor Granville “Red” Redmond, who appeared in Chaplin’s films. Chaplin admired the natural expressiveness of a deaf person using American Sign Language. Chaplin’s interest in Deaf Culture gave me the idea to incorporate a deaf awareness course into TEN but in the form of Ten Commandments.

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In the 60s, Gilbert & George famously created a live-art performance called Singing Sculpture where they stood on a table for eight hours. Gilbert held leather gloves & George held a walking stick. Their faces were painted in silver. They mimed to an old music hall song called Underneath The Arches – a song in which two tramps describe the pleasures of sleeping rough. It was a telling choice, harking back to prewar England and traditions of vaudeville, while also identifying with the fringes of society. Singing Sculpture gave me the idea for TEN. I’ve collaborated with designer Ryan Dawson Laight, who designed DMD’s previous outside performance, Alive!, and he’s designed a table for two dancers to perform on and deliver “speeches” to the audience in a form of Speaker’s Corner or Soapbox such as those that used to to be located on the corner of Park Lane and Cumberland Gate. The table is also a kind of Pandora’s Box, containing surprise props for the dancers to use for the performance.

I collaborated with deaf musician and composer Sean Chandler to develop ten different tracks and I was lucky to have sound designer Syd Funnell onboard to provide the soundscape for TEN.

Deaf Men Dancing will perform TEN at Greenwich Fair on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June. Times & location tbc.

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Follow Mark Smith on Twitter @DeafMenDancing1
Deaf Men Dancing on YouTube
Deaf Men Dancing website

One Million Opening Ceremony

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hemmings

GDIF Artistic Director

Bradley Hemmings

 

 

Tomorrow at 8.30pm, I’ll be sitting in a control box overlooking the Tyne and taking a deep breath, as the Opening Ceremony to the one millionth finish of the Great North Run gets underway. I remember back to two years ago in 2012, when Jenny Sealy and I were similarly poised, looking down at the crowds in the Olympic Stadium. It’s going to be an equally emotional and poignant night.

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This time, the Arena is even bigger than an Olympic Stadium. It has a tidal river running through it, alongside the most beautiful collection of bridges in the world, plus of course, the breathtaking Sage Gateshead, which, in the course of the show, will be transformed with groundbreaking video mapping. Some of the awe-inspiring behind the scenes production statistics reflect the Ceremony’s ambition: 248 glass panels on the Sage have been covered with vinyl on which 480,000 lumens of projection power will cover an area twice the size of Buckingham Palace. Twelve river vessels will take part, whilst the Millennium Bridge, (the world’s only tilting bridge) and Sir William Armstrong’s hydraulic Swing Bridge, will both be choreographed as part of the show. I’m therefore very fortunate to be working with one of GDIF’s longstanding production managers, the brilliant Gary Beestone, as well as Production Stage Manager, Sam Hunter, who has worked on countless Olympic and Paralympic Ceremonies.

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Large scale ceremonies like this don’t come around very often and so it’s been a big honour to have been invited to create and direct, particularly as the finishers of the Great North Run are every bit as inspiring as those Paralympic athletes were two years ago. I’ve been able to meet with many of them at our Volunteer Rehearsals, where I’ve been humbled by their commitment and pride in this pioneering mass participation sporting event, which in complete contrast to the Olympics or Paralympics is not about elite athletes, but running for everyone. It’s this inclusive and democratic spirit that lies behind the Great North Run and in creating this Ceremony which I very much wanted to celebrate. The ceremony boasts a world class creative team, including designer Jon Bausor, hotfoot from his recent success with the National Theatre of Scotland’s critically acclaimed James plays.

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It’s also been an amazing experience to work with Carnegie Award winning writer David Almond. When David and I first met in a bar overlooking the Tyne, we saw a salmon leap out of the river and the emotion of that miraculous moment seems to have found its way into the show. David’s beautiful script will be performed by Jill Halfpenny and Tim Healy, taking audiences on a spectacular time-travelling journey through the story of the North East, from the dawn of time to the one millionth finish which take place three days after the Ceremony on 7 September at South Shields. An astonishing and suitably epic score for the Ceremony has been created by Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones, performed by the Royal Northern Sinfonia with spectacular architectural film projections onto the Sage Gateshead from BAFTA award winning film maker Tal Rosner.

The Lords of Lightning

The Lords of Lightning

 

And throughout, at the heart of the Ceremony, will be a cast of hundreds of volunteer performers who have been inspiringly led by Mass Movement director Nathan Curry. With Ant and Dec welcoming the crowds, and featuring musical performances from Sting, Mark Knopfler, Mercury Music Prize nominees The Unthanks and platinum-selling drum’n’bass Chase and Status, together with Glastonbury favourites Lords of Lightning and Alchemy Fireworks, September 4 will be a night to remember. The Ceremony will also be screened on BB2 on Sunday 7 September as part of the coverage of this year’s Great North Run Millionth Finish event. The countdown begins!

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Stu Mayhew’s Photo Blog: Dancing City

Dancing City Blog from visiting photographer Stu Mayhew

Saturday the 28th June and it’s off to Canary Wharf to see the many acts that make up GDIF 2014’s Dancing City. This free event attracts performers from all around the world. With heavy showers falling I emerged from Canary Wharf tube station and was given a revised timetable of events , luckily provision was made for performances to take place indoors so I made the short walk across Jubilee Plaza and into the West Wintergarden. First up were Hands Down from Company Chameleon. I had seen them perform in GDIF 2012 and this new routine was equally as good. The two male dancers push and shove each-other in this ground breaking dance depicting how men interact. The physicality of the performance was incredible and the bar was set high for the rest of the day

'Hands Down' by Company Chameleon; Photo by Stu Mayhew

‘Hands Down’ by Company Chameleon; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Next up was The Awakening by StopGap Dance Co. Four disabled and non disabled dancers gave a mesmerising performance with a dream like quality , a lot of the moves are repetitive and really captivating.

'The Awakening' by StopGap Dance Company; Photo by Stu Mayhew

‘The Awakening’ by StopGap Dance Company; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Next a venue chance and it was off to Jubilee Place Mall. Surrounded by unsuspecting shoppers a stage was built right in the middle of the mall and as I arrived Laterite, choreographed by Thomas Micheal Voss, was thrilling the crowd with an intense routine of Tango accompanied by soprano supreme Eliana Pretorian. It was a beautiful performance.

Laterite by Thomas Michael Voss; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Laterite by Thomas Michael Voss; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Next on stage were Compania Sharon Fridman’s ¿Hasta Donde? which was very modern and again the skill and physical strength of the performers was jaw dropping. I confess to not seeing a lot of modern dance but what ever your views on it the dedication these performers must put in to perfecting these intense, intricate cannot be questioned. A bit hit with the crowd.

¿Hasta Donde? by Compañia Sharon Fridman; Photo by Stu Mayhew

¿Hasta Donde? by Compañia Sharon Fridman; Photo by Stu Mayhew

After many holidays to Spain I have a real soft spot for Flamenco and in for a treat when Marco Vargas and Chloe Brule performed Por Casualidad. In this fiery display of Flamenco the themes of unrequited love in brief moments and accidental meetings are explored. This one was a real foot tapper.

Por Casualidad by Marco Vargas and Chloe Brule

Por Casualidad by Marco Vargas and Chloe Brule

I ventured back outside and in between showers performers with Big Dance were strutting their stuff. The Big Dance features hundreds of talented young dancers and youth dance companies and the inclement weather certainly hadn’t dampened their enthusiasm.

Big Dance; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Big Dance; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Closing the curtain on the day’s events was Circ Panic The Man Who Lost His Buttons. Combining the silent comedy of Chaplin and the skills of a circus performer against the backdrop of the Thames and the City beyond this was a show stopper of an act. In a constant battle of wits against a contraption made up of a large pole and backed by a live band , this gravity deifying act drew gasps from those watching. A great way to end a fantastic day. Next up was Arka later that evening.

The Man Who Lost His Buttons by Circ Panic; Photo by Stu Mayhew

The Man Who Lost His Buttons by Circ Panic; Photo by Stu Mayhew

Chris Pavia of StopGap on Outdoor Dance

Chris Pavia
The Awakening choreographer StopGap Dance Company 

Credit StopGap Dance Company

Credit StopGap Dance Company

I’ve had a lot of experience doing outdoor arts because I’ve performed with Stopgap Dance Company in SPUN Productions and Tracking both of which were part of GDIF. I learnt from this experience that it’s important to make dance material actually outside and not in a studio because we have to get used to the gravelly concrete floor, the sun in our eyes and the wind in our faces.

Credit StopGap Dance Company

Credit StopGap Dance Company

And the atmosphere of the outside is different to working inside. All of these things change the way we dance. We also have to think about the audience and how they surround the performance. The dancers can be seen at all times in the outdoors because there are no wings.

Credit StopGap Dance Company

Credit StopGap Dance Company

 

But the audience being so close is exciting because I get to see their faces and I get to interact with them. It’s harder to do this in theatres where it’s dark, and I enjoy being close to the audience when I perform.

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Check out StopGap Dance Company in ‘The Awakening’ at Dancing City!

Safe House – A place to call home

By Andy Cooper, Director at Draw & Code

After premiering to a crowd in excess of 5000 in Brighton, Safe House will be travelling to the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival on June 21st. The show is a large-scale, outdoor theatre event that explores our relation to the home – which is ironic considering just how little time the cast and crew have spent in our own homes recently!

With projection-mapped animations that feature during every one of the 45 minutes of the show’s duration, the ‘Draw’ side of Draw & Code were kept very busy indeed in the run-up to this fantastic outdoor theatre event. We were required on site during rehearsals to tailor our animation to the needs of the performers from Wired Aerial Theatre Company and the producers from Metro Boulot Dodo. While animation is always time-consuming, it doesn’t often result in you travelling the country!

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The rehearsals were staged in Leicester, Metro Boulot Dodo’s home town, where the disused Haymarket Theatre was about the only building we could find that was capable of fitting the giant set. This oversized creation stands a lot taller than a real house, which makes for quite a challenge for the dancers who are suspended from it.

When I set off to take up residence in Leicester I decided to take the office iMac with me on the train. After all, what if the laptop isn’t enough? If you’ve seen a photo of somebody with an iMac on a train and gone “really?” – it was probably me!

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Rehearsals were draining, but a physically and logistically challenging production like this cannot leave any stone unturned. Thankfully it’s always fun working with the spectacular Wired Aerial performers. They are part athletes, part artists and we have enjoyed seeing them interact with our animations.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing though; having upped sticks from our Liverpool sanctuary, for much of the time I was Draw & Code’s sole representative in the chilly theatre while they could all head back home to Liverpool. The rehearsals began during the tail-end of the winter – in a venue that had no heating. It’s fair to say that an abandoned theatre lacks a few creature comforts!

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The contrast between the first day of rehearsals in a dingy abandoned building and the public premiere of Safe House in sunny Brighton was amazing. As we sat in amongst the barbecues on the grass of Hove Park it was the first time in a long time that I could relax, although the cast and crew will have been tense.

The show went without a hitch and the crowd loved it. We hope you can leave your own little castles for a few hours, wherever you are, and join us to watch Safe House!

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Safe House will be performed at Greenwich+Docklands International Festival 2014 on Saturday June 21st at 10PM in Mile End Park, Tower Hamlets.

Nuno Silva on ‘Soul of Fado’

Choreographer & Dancer
Soul of Fado – GDIF 2014 (June 20 & 21)
Soul of Fado is the sister show for A Darker Shade of Fado. Whereas the latter is more intimately poetic (for indoors), Soul of Fado is more explosive and dynamic (we’re also using fire to enhance the story visually).

 

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When devising it I tried to concentrate mainly on the most important elements of the action: a love story filled with passion with a sinister twist, gorgeous contemporary dancing and live music (both the music and my singing are modern and original, inspired in traditional Fado).
A Darker Shade of Fado by Chris Nash

A Darker Shade of Fado by Chris Nash

When we started making the piece I dreamt a lot about it. And part of those dreams involved a portuguese poet (the wonderful Fernando Pessoa, now deceased), the Sandman comics, and a story about a forbidden love affair between a musician and a Moorish princess. Pessoa used to spend his nights writing standing up, creating heteronyms with the might of his pen. The Sandman inhabits the dreams of mere mortals, and the princess is transformed into a violin that her lover will play for all eternity.

A Darker Shade of Fado by Chris Nash

A Darker Shade of Fado by Chris Nash

I wanted to create a story filled with similar poetry, but this time instead of a pen, because I wanted to create a show about Fado, it would be a portuguese guitar. And inside the guitar a Spirit would reside (a malevolent and jealous Spirit of Fado!), coming out whenever the guitar is played.

A Darker Shade of Fado by Chris Nash

A Darker Shade of Fado by Chris Nash

I tried finding a portuguese guitarist here in the UK but it was proving a near impossible task (and although we had Arts Council funding, the thought of bringing a portuguese guitarist over from Lisbon was just a financial unrealistic dream because we were making a show from scratch, and their regular presence in rehearsals would be the ideal scenario) so I decided to get two (amazing) dancers who can also play the acoustic guitar. Little did I know that, half way through the rehearsal process, we all found out that they could also play the portuguese guitar (not as experts obviously, but enough for us to use the portuguese guitar instead of a normal acoustic one!). So now we have a show where dancers, apart from dancing, play the portuguese guitar and we have a fado singer who, apart from singing fado, also dances.
A Darker Shade of Fado by Chris Nash

A Darker Shade of Fado by Chris Nash

We’re poetically breaking traditions!

Q&A with Tiata Fahodzi Artistic Director Lucian Msamati and actors Ery Nzaramba and Anniwaa Buachie

Palessa Mokoena
Assistant Producer
Tiata Fahodzi

We’re so excited to be on tour this summer with our first outdoor performance The Legend of Hamba. I decided to ask some of the cast (Ery Nzaramba & Anniwaa Buachie) and our Artistic Director Lucian Msamati (also director of Hamba) a few questions about the process.

What really IS the main difference in performing outdoors vs indoors? Have a read below for some helpful hints and insight into the outdoor festival world, and some secrets to the Tiata Fahodzi creative process!

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 What’s been the key difference in preparing for outdoor performance and indoor performance?

Ery Nzaramba (Actor)
For me the challenge has been pushing my physicality past the norm; the over-the-top acting, and even the clown acting – telling a story without words, so precision is key. And because it’s an outdoor performance it has to be bigger than big. So it’s a physically taxing show.

Anniwaa Buachie (Actor)
Vocal energy! When performing outside you are not in a confined space and have to find ways to combat the city noises – Aeroplanes, police sirens, trains, traffic etc. So vocal energy is even more important. You need your voice to be rooted and free from tension to capture your audience’s attention.

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 What do you enjoy most about the process?

Ery:
The challenge and opportunity to learn and grow as a performer.

Anniwaa:
The not knowing. Being able just to play and experiment. Every day is different, I discover different things each time I have performed Hamba.

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What did you find the most challenging/ enjoy the least about the process?

Ery:
The sheer physicality of it – you have to learn to pace yourself and still give it your all.

Anniwaa:
Nothing!

Lucian Msamati (Artistic Director of Tiata Fahodzi and Director of The Legend of Hamba)
 The biggest blessing for me was also the biggest curse. There is a mixture of excitement and trepidation when creating a piece from scratch. You may spend a whole day working on a brilliant scene or moment only to discover when you put it all together that it is not serving the story or that it is not working!

Whether people love or hate it is out of your control; but you can control the quality and solidity of your story or approach. And that as I said is the most life-affirming, exciting, butt-clenchingly, terrifying thrill of the job.

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The Legend of Hamba is an abstract and physically demanding piece, what was the most demanding aspect of the preparation as an Actor / Director?

ERY:
Letting go of my inhibitions. Accepting to make the fool of myself or look unflattering in front of others during the devising and improvisations in rehearsals. Then the idea of performing outdoors in front of people who maybe don’t care…

Lucian:
As an actor in my own right, I know that when slip-ups happen, or when the team has an ‘off-day’ etc. there are ‘running repairs’ you can fall back on/ kick in to, to keep things ticking over. 9.85 times out of 10, unless there is a glaring problem or issue, the audiences don’t know any better. As a director however, I find it excruciating watching the team do their job. When it comes down to it, for me it is like teaching your child to ride a bike. You run alongside, you encourage, you instruct, you comfort them when they fall off, build up their confidence and then… you let them go off and compete in the Tour de France! Once the signal comes to start, it’s all, all in their hands ( or feet). All you can do is sit back and hope to goodness you’ve given them enough to be the best.

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Your first performance at Brighton was very well received, what difference does an audience make to an outdoors performance?

Ery:
The audience is the missing link, they make the show. In Brighton our main lesson was that what we’d devised “worked”. And all the fears I had about performing outdoors – the idea of performing in front of people who don’t care revolts me, and the idea of begging for their attention revolts me even more – vanished. If your show is interesting, you won’t have to beg for attention. So it’s all about the quality of the show, not its location.

Anniwaa:
When performing in a theatre, it is clear where the audience will be sitting. But with an outdoor performance, audiences can be sitting  anywhere! You could also be performing for audience members who happen to be peaking through their curtains!

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How did the unpredictable British weather affect your performance?

Ery:
Brighton was very windy…except in the Royal Pavilion Gardens where we performed, and very rainy…except the times we were performing.

Anniwaa:
I think the unpredictable British whether adds to the mystique of the piece.

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 Lastly: give me one word to describe Hamba?

Ery:
Big.

Anniwaa:
One word….mmmmm can I give to works instead? – COMPLEX

——

Check out The Legend of Hamba during Greenwich Fair and Global Streets!

Greenwich Fair, June 22
Global Streets, June 23-26

Sit Back, Hold Tight!

A blog written by Sarah Blanc, Artistic Director of Moxie Brawl, a fresh and currently all-female dance theatre company. ‘Sit Back’ evokes the spirit of the 1940’s through music, text and dance, this new dance theatre piece recalls the role of women at times of war.

photo by Bruno Rodrigues

I believe dance is for everyone so making and presenting work outdoors gives me a great opportunity to reach as wide and diverse an audience as possible.

Last year Moxie Brawl won the Gone In 20 Minutes 2013 Jury Prize following performances at over 5 festivals in the UK. Since then we have gained the support of Watermans, investment from Arts Council England and producing support from Candoco Dance Company (with whom I have been an Associate Artist for over 3 years).

Being part of GI20 was fantastic as we were able to learn how to adapt our work for the outdoors in a supportive way, gaining feedback along the tour. It was such an invaluable experience. I am excited that this year we have been able to develop the piece further with the help of all partners and festival presenters.

We used our 2 weeks of development time in the studio to go into more detail for certain sections of choreography and revisit costume, props and even the British Trollyebus Museum as part of our research.IMG_8473a

We worked with Mark Smith of Deaf Men Dancing to help make the piece more accessible for Deaf audiences and those with hearing impairments.

We have just returned from our first performances at Fetes Tour de la Blanche in Issoudoun, France and it is exciting to see audience reactions to our work and seeing it all come to life!

As a choreographer I have been so privileged to work with some gorgeous performers for Sit Back. First up is Lucy Starkey whose character Alice during the piece gets accepted to the Women’s Volunteer Service. Katie Cambridge, new to the moxie line up, plays Agatha whose fiancé is away at war and constantly dreams of his return. Josephine played by Kimberley Harvey is the most maternal of all the characters, constantly looking after everyone but during the piece she receives some devastating news. Winnie, played by Jenny Reeves, is younger more innocent and with her Dad being away in the war working as a doctor, she wants to follow his footsteps and study medicine.

It has been such a great few weeks and we are more than buzzing to get this show on the road. Looking forward to seeing you along the way at GDIF and hope for you to meet Alice, Agatha, Josephine and Winnie- four trolley bus clippies working in London of 1942.

Hold Tight Please!

—–

Show time:

Sat 21 June 14:05, 17:10
Sun 22 June 13:15, 15:00
Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10
FREE (Runs approx. 20 mins)

Click here to watch the highlights of Sit Back at Gone In 20 Minutes.

Behind-the-Scenes with Light the Fuse Theatre Co.

Full Stop Blog
By Light the Fuse Theatre Co.

Travelling around on buses is part of being a Londoner. Whether it’s the night bus at 2am with half a box of chips and the music still ringing in your ears or a desperate dash to grab the bus to avoid being late for work at 8.48am – we all have bus stories to tell. And that was where we started at Light the Fuse in thinking about stories for Full Stop. We soon realised that the star of this show was the bus stop itself. It’s an incredible place for people watching, random encounters and strange occurrences. The huge diversity of people that frequent a bus stop in a twenty-four hour period is mind-boggling.

Did you know that there are 19,500 bus stops in London and 90% of Londoners live within 400 yards of one!

So we decided to make a show about that. In twenty minutes. No pressure.

With three performers and a lot of running about we jump from the midnight revellers to the warring Mums, laden down with shopping and gunslinger fantasies, ticking off each hour until midnight returns again. We meet the little old lady who visits the bus stop every day, not to get on the bus, but to appease her murderous whims. There are the teenage dinosaurs, all screeching and antagonistic, the ultra competitive office workers and the couple that could have been. 

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The bus stop is an incredible crucible for human emotion: the frustration of time, the pressure of city life and the possibility of romance all in one identifiable location. It is archetypal. This meant getting the look of the bus stop right was key, so we went to the experts. Theatre Royal Plymouth create sets for productions across the UK and the world. Recent shows have included Book of Mormon, Miss Saigon, The Full Monty and obviously Full Stop

Although petrol buses have been used in London since 1904 bus stops didn’t appear till after the First World War.

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We wanted the set to look as much like a real London bus stop as possible (with a few cleverly hidden extras). When the audience spots it by the Cutty Sark, in the middle of a town square, halfway up a field, we want them to double-take and for a moment question why there would be a bus stop out there. It’s such an iconic symbol that we take for granted every day, but move it from its natural location and suddenly it becomes a space full of potential.

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Full Stop is not just about the reality of waiting at a bus stop, its about the fantasies and dreams we all have while we wait. The moment of getting eye contact with a fit looking stranger, sheltering under it when there is a downpour, vying for the bench. All these moments spark a surreal journey based around a real London landmark.

Full Stop (web resize)