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
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.
Peregrine Bear’s Illustrated History of Bearmingham is an 8 minute animation, which was commissioned from me by Birmingham Rep and Flatpack Festival for Box of Light, part of the Library of Birmingham‘s Discovery Season.
World famous explorer (and bear) Professor Peregrine has padded his way across the world, and heard some pretty tall tales along the way. Here, he tells the extraordinary story of Bearmingham: the city, its people, and its bears.
At the time when I was developing and writing the piece, I was preparing to move away from Birmingham for a while. To celebrate the place, I recast it as Bearmingham, and created an apocryphal history of the city.
It’s a digital piece, inspired by analogue. The slideshow format is inspired by late 18th century magical lantern shows, in which ‘showman lanternists’ would tell unlikely illustrated tales, often featuring wild animals and exotic locations.
I wrote and animated the Illustrated History. The voice of Peregrine Bear is performed by Nigel Barrett, and the recording and sound design is by Lewis Gibson.
Midsummer Night’s Dreaming (aka #dream40) was an experiment in digital storytelling by the RSC and Google Creative Labs. Playing out in real time over midsummer weekend (21-23 June 2013) a cast of actors performed the play live, accompanied online by a host of new characters.
As part of the core creative team, I wrote and made original text and visual content for this unique online performance.
Continue reading Midsummer Night’s Dreaming
Jane Packman Company‘s The Wake is a celebration of the passing year, for an audience of around thirty people.
I worked with Jane and Lucy Ellinson to conceive, create and develop the initial concept for the performance.
Continue reading The Wake
Mister Volder Goes To The City is an exhibition which I made in collaboration with artist Rebecca Hurst.
Working in response to my short story of the same name, we used digital pin-hole photography, lo-fi cardboard constructions and studio lighting to create a series of atmospheric, ambiguous images.
The exhibition included five large images, a short animation, a book containing the story and our images, and a small section of the 3D cardboard city we’d used in the photographs.
We also gave away postcards inviting members of the public to have a go at being creative with their phones or digital cameras, and to email the images they made back to us. These images were then added to a digital display within the exhibition and an online blog.
The exhibition ran at mac Birmingham from 11th November 2012 – 20th January 2013. It was commissioned by mac Birmingham, and funded by Arts Council England.
Photo © Chris Keenan 2012
To support the live performances of A Thousand Shards of Glass, we shot a short trailer, over the course of one intense day in July 2012.
“Lucy? Are you there? Are you ready? We need to get you out of there…”
The trailer was used extensively on the internet, and was also shown in the cinema at mac Birmingham, prior to our performances there. It was pretty amazing to see the trailer on the big screen, and brilliant that the quality totally stood-up in that context.
I scripted the trailer, based on excerpts from my original performance text. Jane Packman and I co-directed. Camera is by Chris Keenan and it’s performed by Lucy Ellinson.
Here it is on vimeo:
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
I wanted to share my article It’s Not Feasible, It’s Vital which was published recently on the mid*point website. It’s a continuation of, and a response to, a conversation from an open space event in June 2011.
Continue reading It’s Not Feasible, It’s Vital
An exciting meeting last week for a new collaborative project.
I’m writing the first draft of the application today. Which is also pretty exciting, so long as I think about the potential outcomes, rather than the heavy July rain.
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.
I collaborated as an artist, writer and lighting designer on this site-specific performance installation, which was created in an empty shop unit within Birmingham’s Mailbox shopping centre.
Photo © Chris Keenan 2006