Category Archives: PERFORMANCE

Feast of the Dead

Dens and Signals – the company which I co-direct with Jane Packman – was commisssioned to make this performance event to commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, as part of the ROOT 1066 International festival.

Feast of the Dead remembered those who fell on the battlefield, made connections between this historic event and our contemporary lives, and celebrated resistance and protest. Our performers picked over the bones of battle, and helped to create a welcoming, communal space in which our audiences could remember the history, and consider the impact of the conquest on our contemproary lives.

We collaborated with Blanch and Shock – a team of innovative and experimental chefs – who worked with us to create a delicious three course meal, inspired by the cooking of the eleventh century.

I wrote the performance text and song lyrics for the Feast, as well as developing the concept and co-producing.  It was performed 22nd – 25th September 2016, in Hastings, UK.

“Bloody fantastic night, an evening which stays with you for days” – Audience member, 2016.

Photos © Indiana Hamilton-Brown 2016

Here Massive Troposphere

Currently in development, Here Massive Troposphere is inspired by the natural world, digital culture, and spending too much time alone.

As an indroduction to the piece, I made a short interactive online trailer using Twine. You can play with it, here: bit.ly/troposphere

In collaboration with Lucy Ellinson, Lewis Gibson, Jane Packman, Jess Parfitt,  andRich Warburton, I presented work-in-progress performances at Theatre in the Mill, Bradford, and mac, Birmingham in 2014; and at Camden Peoples Theatre in 2015.

The image is collaged from Creative Commons licensed images.

Sleepdogs R&D

Collaborating with Sleepdogs, I spent a stimulating week in Bristol, helping to develop ideas for the visual aesthetic of their new project, Dark Land Light House.

It’s a sci-fi/horror piece: a fairly rare (but really exciting!) genre in contemporary theatre, and totally appropriate to be exploring within the generic darkness of the black-box studio.

The kind of space where – just beyond the light – there really might be anything…

Photo © Paul Blakemore, 2014.

A Journey Around My Skull

I collaborated with Kiln Ensemble to design the set and lighting for this solo performance by Olivia Winteringham, one of Kiln’s co-artistic directors.

Created on a tiny budget, the design locates the performance in an ambiguous, slightly unheimlich room: part consultant’s office, part operating theatre, part voyeuristic medical dream-space.

For a key moment in the show – live brain surgery(!) – I made a bespoke “head” for Olivia to “operate” on. Adapted from a retail display moulding, I designed and installed internal LEDs and biaural microphones.

Photos © Johnathan Blackwood, 2014.

Palimpsest City

Palimpsest City is a digital/performance project which I’ve been helping to develop, from an intial concept by Bohdan Piasecki.

Bohdan’s idea was to establish an imaginary city – Palimpsest City – as a framing device for poems and stories: in particular, for spoken word poetry. The city will exist as an online space to explore, and as a live performance event.

The very first iteration of Palimpsest City  was performed at AE Harris in Birmingham on 18th March 2012. There’s a review of this version of the project on the Theatre Fever website.

Since then various performances and online tests have taken place. We’re currently working with producer Bianca Winter to fully realise the project.

Autobiographer Award Nomination

ab_award

My lighting design for Melanie Wilson‘s Autobiographer has been nominated in the ‘Best Lighting Design’ category of the Offies (the Off West End Theatre Awards) 2012… alongside a nomination for Melanie herself for ‘Best Sound Design’.

It’ll be quite a while before we hear any more about this, but it’s great news, and really pleasing to see this brave and beautiful project getting some recognition.

Photo © Gemma Riggs 2012

Cupid

cupid_jaskirt

There’s some great photos of Cupid, an interactive performance installation by Subject to_change, on the website of photographer Jaskirt Dhaliwal. She took these images during one of the first performances, at Fierce Festival 2012.

My lighting design supports the performance through subtle and sometimes less subtle means. The design includes an bespoke – and epic! – animated starscape, which Abigail and I custom-made using hundreds coloured LEDs.

Photo © Jaskirt Dhaliwal 2012

A Thousand Shards of Glass

shards

A Thousand Shards of Glass is a performance narrative which I wrote for Jane Packman Company in 2012.

“The rhythmn of the text alternates between rhapsodic chanting and the feeling of bullets breaking a shop window…” – TOTAL THEATRE

 

 

 

I’d been thinking about agency: our ability to take action to change the the world, and the frustrations of feeling like taking such action is impossible, or pointless.

Continue reading A Thousand Shards of Glass

Treasured – A Secret Journey

Created by the company, with direction and facilitation by Jane Packman, Treasured – A Secret Journey is a unique performance experience for one person at a time.

The piece has the feeling of a gift. It places each audience member at the centre of the performance: they become the protagonist in a narrative which they chose. It’s a rich, powerful experience, yet also extremely gentle… almost passive. The company worked hard to make sure that people felt comfortable and enjoyed themselves. Audiences are not under pressure to “perform” or “interact”.

There are three short narratives – each inspired by one of three beautiful pieces of sculptural jewellery which were commissioned for the project from three West Midlands-based makers – which audiences can chose.

On this project I wrote one of the three stories (inspired the “ivy” – a dark grasping PVC piece made by Louise Bryan), collaborated/devised, designed lighting, and production managed.

Photo by Chris Keenan, 2010.

You Are The Moon

mixtape

I collaborated with Jon Spooner to make this short performance/film for Unlimited Theatre‘s MIXTAPE project. We worked together for a few days in Birmingham, and later showed (and filmed) the performance at BAC.

The piece is our response to You Are The Moon by The Hush Sound. Jon and I collaborated on the initial devising, writing and creation of the piece. I then designed and lit the piece, and Jon performed.

It was filmed by Chris Cottam, and edited by Gareth McEwan. Here it is, on vimeo:

Wireframe

wireframe

In 1998 I co-founded wireframe, a company which made experimental, often installation-based performance.

As a company we made several pieces together: Charles Berlitz’s Passport to Spanish (1972), At Home, North Hill Relay, and The Lusiads.

Although our work was often enthusiastically received, we were ultimately unable to make the company sustainable. Wireframe’s last project was made in 2002. It was an extraordinary early creative adventure: sometimes joyous, sometimes heartbreaking.

Particularly close to my heart was At Home, an intimate installation experience for one person at a time. Here’s what Total Theatre made of it in their review:

“A genuinely unique piece of work… a magical installation, full of the pleasure of playful discovery… pure unadulterated joy”.