Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Glasgow School V: The NRLA

Perhaps one of the most important festivals in Glasgow - both in terms of bringing international performers to the city and influencing local artists - was the National Review of Live Art. An annual event - and latterly part of the New Territories Festival, which was nominally a dance event but expanded to include all manner of experimental performance - it was usually held in The Arches, with a few forays to Tramway, until it was wound up, on its 30th  anniversary, in  2010.

Spread over several days - its longest run was 11 days in 1996 - the NRLA was a showcase for artists working in the tradition of 'expanded theatre.' A mixture of solo pieces, durational work, things recognisable as plays (but only just) and creations that bordered installation, sound art and theatre, it was hosted by Ian Smith who described it as 'a great big swimming pool. Just jump in and splash around.' While it attracted acts from around the world - Franco B came up from London to sit on a swing and show off his tattoos, La Ribot nipped over from France, Pocha Nostra freaked Tramway with some border-crunching post-colonialism - it also supported Scottish acts: Iona Kewney did her astonishing duet with guitarist Joe Quimby, and Kate Stannard cycled on a static bicycle to open up questions about sport as performance, and the nature of endurance art.

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