Friday, 30 January 2015

Manipulate 2011

Manipulate returns to Edinburgh in February with a celebration of puppetry and visual theatre

originally PUBLISHED in the skinny11 JANUARY 2011

In his dialogue On The Marionette Theatre, German romantic philosopher Heinrich von Kleist commented that the puppet represented the potential of the human, once they pushed through the limitations of consciousness and freewill towards a state of grace. Kleist, like Plato, may have been ironic, as the puppet is more commonly seen as victim: the ballet Petrushka makes this point vividly, with a hero mercilessly punished merely for helplessly falling for a beautiful dancer. The true freedom within puppetry is perhaps in the hands of the puppeteer, who can manipulate his actors in ways beyond the fantasy of the most totalitarian director, or politician.

Manipulate elegantly describes itself as "innovative theatre arts for consenting adults," implying that their annual jamboree of puppetry, film and cross-platform drama leads straight into this particularly dark metaphor for determinism. The presence of Giselle Vienne, last seen in Scotland cheering up Tramway with a slow motion meditation on teenage suicide and drone metal, alongside Kefar Nahum, a Belgian story of Creation gone wrong, suggests that puppetry is a natural medium for bleak, aggressive theatre.

Although the festival had it roots in puppetry, Manipulate features film and performance that defies easy categorisation. The film selection emphasises the easy connection between video animation and live puppetry: the shadow puppets of the East could be seen as the earliest example of cinematic technique, using light to cast an image upon a screen, while stop motion animation clearly comes from puppetry itself.

Yet many of the live performances push at the boundaries of what can be regarded as puppetry. Mossoux Bonté, the company behind Kefar Nahum strive to integrate dance and theatre while grappling with the implicit gender relationships between their twin directors, Nicole Mossoux and Patrick Bonté. Rather than being puppeteers by vocation, like Scotland's Tortoise in a Nutshell, Mossoux Bonté come to the form to further their own performance philosophy.

If the bonds to a specific medium have been loosened, Manipulate is held together by certain themes. The sense of control, or lack of control, is easily invoked – Vienne's Jerk uses glove puppets in an examination of a serial killer, while 1927 evoke an oppressive, brooding city through the use of film.

Both the short film selection and French compilation movie Fear(s) of the Dark investigate the horror lurking beneath the surface of apparently mundane relationships: Fear(s) includes a contribution from underground comic star Charles Burns, another master of black and white horror illustration.

As an object, the puppet easily lends itself to hybrid creations: metamorphoses and protean creatures litter the programme, whether it is Mossoux Bonté's alarming spider deity or Matthew Robins' half boy-half fly battling to live a normal life (part of the Snapshots cabaret event). The elegance that Robins brings to his storytelling, accompanied by live folk music and told languidly, supports von Kleist's assertion that the puppet is capable of a fluidity and grace precisely because it is not troubled by human self-consciousness.

The brilliance of Kleist's essay, perched gingerly between notions of freewill as positive and the problems caused by having consciousness – he did go on to kill himself – is reflected in the cunning programming of Manipulate

It is the idea of puppetry that serves as the festival's starting point, rather than any rigid adherence to a particular medium, and from this blossoms a diverse, sometimes enchanting, sometimes troubling programme. If theatre's function is to stimulate discussion, or challenge audiences to look beyond their own assumptions, Manipulate challenges the meaning of its own art form and presents artists who are willing to poke around in the darker zones of human experience.

The Mating Ritual

Originally published in The Skinny, 16 June 2010

Now that cabaret has established itself as performance art that can ever gather coverage in the posh papers, the next challenge is for the top artists to find new forms to entertain. Burlesque has a strong community, and the plethora of nights across the country ensure a regular steam of new acts and routines. However, the most exciting developments are emerging from the collision of cabaret and narrative theatre.

Edinburgh's Blonde Ambition has always been concerned with advancing the art: their Christmas Carol, in association with the Ministry of Burlesque, gave Dickens' perennial a sexy, sardonic twist. Through their association with the gentle demon of the saucy song, Des O'Connor, Blonde Ambition push the cabaret format into the theatre. Starting with a turn at the West End Festival, The Mating Ritual brings together O'Connor with frequent collaborator Gypsy Charms and Kitsch Kat Chris Wilson to explore the ins, outs and shake it all abouts of romance.

As Chris Wilson explains, The Mating Ritual came about when Dance House put him and Gypsy in a studio for a week. At the time, they were both teaching at the House: Gypsy being one of the original burlesque teachers- she is largely responsible, along with Viva Misadventure, for the explosion of acts and classes in the central belt. Usually, these workshop sessions lead to a small sharing to limited numbers. But Gypsy and Chris found their groove so quickly that they transferred the sharing to a nightclub, calling O'Connor to provide a narrative, and had a complete show a week later.

Although the basic story has not changed- woman chases man through the years, their clothes changing as they pass through the Victorian and jazz ages, WWII and the rise of disco- the show has evolved through a runs in London's cabaret hot-spots. Additional guest stars have expanded the story- Glasgow will welcome Impressive Johnson and his authentic taste of 1960s' themed lechery, while Kiki Kaboom will be gracing the Edinburgh shows in July.

Apart from the core line-up being something of a cabaret dream team, The Mating Ritual is an attempt to use a burlesque aesthetic within a longer narrative. Refusing to abandon cabaret's cheeky glamour and sexy satire, it parodies the fashions of the past century while laughing at the absurdly consistent compulsion of seduction. But what makes the show exceptionally interesting is the attempt to move away from the vision of cabaret as a series of unrelated turns.

While themed nights are common- Itsy's Kabarett has demonstrated how the promoter can act as a creative curator, while London Burlesque Week boasted Twisted Cabaret that peeked at the darkside and the Circus Sideshow- The Mating Ritual has a continuous story that mocks the pretentions of seduction. 

Through O'Connor's cheeky interludes and each routine, the burlesque becomes something closer to a traditional dance performance. And unlike the attempts of ballet or contemporary choreographers to adapt burlesque, it retains a coarse authenticity. If cabaret is to be anything more than a fashion, or a community with a few name performers, shows like The Ritual suggest a route forward.

Why Do I Bother, eh?

Interview with Emma King, Theatre Jinks

First of all, can I ask you about Theatre Jinks: what is the mission of the company, and how did it start?Theatre Jinks' roots sprouted in 2012 when Cat Elliott and myself studied together on the Diploma in Physical Theatre Practice at Fife college. We studied puppetry as part of the course and that is where our interest in puppetry began. Once graduated, we started attending any puppetry workshops we could find to develop our skills.

Is manipulate a good place to share your work; do you share any affinities with PAS?
Manipulate is a brilliant festival, this will be the third year I have attended (first year as part of the programme). There is always a great mix of work on offer for audiences interested in animation, physical theatre, puppetry and visual theatre. The Snap Shots artists@work slots at 6:05pm during the festival are a great opportunity to display new works in development. Work is presented and then there is a question and answer session with the audience. It's really useful platform to promote new companies and new work.

Horror- seems to be a theme in this year's festival! What attracts you to the subject, and why visual theatre/puppetry as a medium?
Horror is a very rich theme, it can be very subtle and menacing or extreme blood, guts and gore. When we started developing our ideas for Knock Knock... We decided we wanted to create a performance in the style of a horror for young people. 

For younger audiences I sometimes feel performances can be a little too safe, and having horror as an element really pushes you to see how far you can go and still ensure it is suitable for your audience. Horror is an element of most stories. Puppetry and visual theatre was the natural choice; horror is mystery, magic, suspense and fear and I really feel that these mediums represent those in different and interesting ways. 

 Puppet Animation Scotland have been an integral part of our professional development with them running Manipulate masterclasses and regular workshops with Rene Baker over the past couple of years. 

As Theatre Jinks Knock Knock... is our first venture into creating a piece of visual/puppet theatre. Puppet Animation Scotland have been supporting us through the process, enabling us access to meet with established puppeteers and Theatre makers, notably Rene Baker who has been mentoring us throughout and Richard Medrington. 

Identity is another powerful theme to address - is it related to your exploration of horror, and are puppets good performers for such a discussion?
Identity is related to our exploration of horror, but actually I would say it is maybe the other way round. Puppets are really good at exploring identity, because they can be representative of so many things. 

We have been exploring twins as part of our development, and puppets have been very useful for this because you can really present two characters who are actual replicas of each other, but are completely different. 

(I have this big idea that Oedipus was the first horror story, and it is all about identity - I am going to ask you whether you think there is anything in that idea?)
Oedipus...yeah I think there is horror in there,and definitely identity, I feel that the horror comes from the curse/prophecy which follows him, there is no way out for him, he is fated to fulfil it

The Sickest of Beats

As regular readers of my blog will know, the Vile Arts is very concerned that copyright is always respected. especially when it comes to multi-national corporations. And I thank Wayne Myers for this revelation. 

Do check his site: he did a cartoon about me once

Our friends at The Church of Kristeva have asked: does this mean that Swift will own all of the works of William Burroughs? He is one sick beat.

Bill's foreplay was regarded as vigorous but disappointing

They have also issued a public statement about 'sickness'.

Copyright law is, of course, the last bastion that protects art from appropriation, expensive brands from fake copies, cultures from being strip-mined of their integrity and the universe from being replaced by simulacra that hide the hostile lie of unreality. So it is great news that Taylor Swift, who knows what a sick beat really is, has taken a step nearer to privatising language.


Milter talks about dance, I ponder

Slipping on my amazing significance seeking spectacles, I return to the interview with Andrea Miltner. 

Having recently purchased the Aristotle 2000 (Guaranteed to Reduce any Performance to a series of Twitter-Ready Tags), I have been busy sticking labels on every show that I have seen since Curious Orange in 1988. However, Miltner makes a trenchant point about the nature of dance, which has made Aristotle 2000 show an error message. 

That to me is the magic of dance - it can give a greater freedom to the audience to allow their own imaginations to be at play and to react on a more instinctive, sensory level, rather than on an intellectual one.

Anxiety about reading meaning into everything aside, this brings me closer to the reasons for my love affair with dance, and my slight - but often exaggerated - suspicion of 'scripted' theatre. The combination of a more sensuous, physical response (like the bit during Park when I found myself moving in my seat as the Jasmin Vardimon company bounced to The Popcorn Song) and the importance of the audience in making the meaning.

She goes on to explore the tensions between her work as a ballet
dancer and the determinedly contemporary nature of Magnetic Ballerina, and how 'freedom' can limit creativity - all fascinating stuff, and intriguing me all the more about the performance. Then she elaborates on the role of the audience.

I hope the public will come without any preconceived ideas and just experience the piece with an open mind and find in it what they will.

Sadly, I am going to be bringing preconceptions - that I am really going to enjoy this work. But Miltner displays a generosity to the audience ('find in it what they will') that goes beyond the frequently vague assertion that 'it's about whatever you think it is.' That is true, of course (giving the maker the monopoly of meaning ignores the history and context that the audience bring to an event). But it is the particular fluidity and allusiveness of dance that allows more freedom: less rhetorical than words, movement opens up the play of mind and matter... subject and object... am I objectifying, creating an unnecessary dualism... or do I just love dance when it touches me and seeds a new way of seeing?

Critical Factory Fire Sale

Seven Things you didn't know about me...

Another Example of Brilliant Criticism... sigh

Andrea Miltner's Dance of the Magnetic Ballerina is one of the most anticipated shows in this year's manipulate. I sent over a few questions and in my first, manage to miss the point... Read on....Reading your biography, I noticed that it mentioned 'the baroque': do you have a special interest in the baroque - and what inspired this?

I would say I have a passion for baroque dance, music and sculpture, which was inspired over ten years ago by a very enriching experience dancing in an authentic production of Rameau's Castor and Pollux at the National Theatre in Prague. I was very privileged to work on this production - the creative team was French, all of whom were both experts and enthusiasts of the baroque and their love of their particular field of knowledge was contagious.

Living in Prague this fascination is nourished on a daily basis, since much of the old town is baroque and the wonderful spirals of baroque statuary are everywhere. What fascinates me about the dance style is its deep association with the music (interestingly the dancing master accompanied rehearsals on a 'pochette', a small violin, which is indicative of the musical intelligence of the dancers at the time), its complex rhythms and its use of space. It is these aspects that influence my own creations when working in the baroque style.

However Dance of the Magnetic Ballerina is a different genre altogether and has nothing to do with the baroque!

Andrea Miltnerova

Rooted to the spot on a platform surrounded by light, the magnetic ballerina flutters, shivers and shimmers for her audience. Stark and intensely beautiful, this is the UK premiere of Czech artist Andrea Miltnerova’s striking dance solo.

Alone in a darkened auditorium, the magnetic ballerina will dance her way into our subconscious.

“Obsessive discipline, obsessive symmetry, authoritative geometry of movement annihilate her magnetic ballerina, from which there is no other way out than self destruction. It is, of course, ravishingly beautiful and a thrilling self-destruction through movement” (Nina Vangeli, Dance Zone, Czech Republic)

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Vile and Tough Dialogues

It's always great to get comments on a post: especially from Dani Tougher who is taking a hard look at performance from a perspective that is informed by cabaret and dramaturgy. I think we ought to do a blog together (see how well the names can work together in the title above).

Dani talks about a circus show and nails my worries about the use of circus techniques within dance theatre:

the production I saw tried too hard to make the cohesion seem spontaneous and aspects of the show suffered: a loose theme of a 'cooking show' that gets out of hand was never fully explored and simply provided the backdrop of silks, ropes and tight-wires, and gave the opportunity for some slapstick humour and "funny" moments.

And the use of scare quotes for funny? Exactly. Humour is often the worse thing about serious theatre, when it tries to prove that it doesn't take itself seriously, and condescends to the audience.

I am going to pretend that Dani saw a show that failed to grapple with the problem of merging a form that is often about showmanship with any kind of narrative. This is where I get worried: can 'circus theatre' really take the vibrancy of the big top and focus that energy into a theatrical experience?

The other interesting thing is that in the show I saw tonight, it was the four women who were the impressive acts, performing hand-balancing, silks, sling, et c, and the lone man of the cast was the clown; the cleaner for the mess the women created. It's an unusual juxtaposition as, as you mentioned, the women are frequently the distraction or the pretty one who gets thrown around by the acrobats.

Circus theatre does have a better hit-rate in making my liberal self feel better about equality between the sexes - a great deal of aerial is created and performed by women. From the way Dani phrases it, it sounds as if there is a bit of fem-dom in this production. 

Let's hope the government doesn't notice and try to ban it. 

Jarry and Brecht and Visual Alienation

A Cirque in the Park

Ontology of Visual Theatre

Pretentious, moi?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015



More on Cirque Berserk

I would be pushing my luck if I claimed that watching four men racing motorbikes around a steel cage provoked any deep questions, but Cirque Berserk did leave me pondering some questions. Most of all, I am trying to square my enthusiasm for this populist show with my pretentious love of bloody difficult art.

Does Tweedy - the clown - represent the struggles of the ordinary person in a hostile universe?

Tweedy would amble on-stage after the acrobats had wowed the crowd, and proceed to mess up his own versions of various tricks. He frequently lands on his genitals, making a funny face and probably ensuring that the Tweedy family tree wouldn't be continues into the next generation. Being a clown, he evokes sympathy by being vulnerable - and yet, he seems to offer an alternative humanity, laced with compassion, to the amazing prowess of the other acts.

How do I feel about sexy dancing girls?

There is no chance to write this off to post-modern irony. Whenever a set needs clearing, three women came on in revealing outfits and swayed to the music. It was deliberately distracting, and while fairly innocuous, it brings up that question about the place of women on stage: are they being exploited? Do the men get to be impressive and the women attractive? Asking them question seems to be against the spirit of the show, which is all about entertainment, earthy passion and excitement.

Is this just The Spectacle in action?

Of course it is spectacular, but is it all a big distraction, the spectacle that hides the machinations of the political class? Is emotional engagement actually as dangerous as Plato says it is, and the circus is a simulacrum, hiding the absence of truth and meaning?

Why can't I just have fun?

 I stole this from here.

Philippos Philippou on Ubu Roi and Visual Theatre

I always wanted to explore visual theatre. Ubu Roi's absurd structure offers the opportunity for wide experimentation on the level of form. In fact, the play is the precursor of the theatre of absurd. 

The story unfolds rapidly in many countries in Europe; from France to Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Livonia and finally from the Baltics through Germany and Hamlet’s Elsinore to the North Sea. That in itself provides the opportunity either for a heterogeneous stage design or for the succession of different sets. 

The stage designers and Jarry himself produced a painted backdrop which combined extreme simplification and stylisation. The backdrop depicted owls, elephants, palm trees and a fireplace in relation to the carnival style costumes which lacked local references and did not recall any historical period. The play offers the chance to play with many heterogeneous elements in order to envision Jarry’s notion of the Nowhere/Everywhere.

When I studied the play during my Masters, I discovered that many artists dealt with Ubu Roi. Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Antonin Artaud, Samuel Beckett, Jean Miro. The latter, created some extraordinary lithographs based on Ubu Roi in order to ridicule the dictator Franco in Spain. Our performance pays homage to their heritage while placing it in dialogue with the advent of new visual technologies.

An attempt to review via cut and paste and visual tone

Fidget Feet versus Cirque Beserk

This is a very interesting photograph. It is from Fidget Feet's The Second Coming. It could possibly be a rehearsal shot. It does bear a resemblance to the version of the show that I saw at Tramway (as part of Celtic Connections), but it also poses some intriguing questions about the evolution of the show.

The version that I saw did not have a tough looking guy shouting into a microphone, but a man dressed up in old fashioned clothes playing the part of WB Yeats. He turned up after a couple of dance numbers, expressed surprise at being back from the dead and would perform doggerel between the dance episodes. He flannelled about some mystical oneness that replaced God in a spiritual cosmogony. The Second Coming alternated between aerial routines based on Irish dancing and these poetic interludes of Celtic mist.

A week later, I went to see Cirque Berserk, another circus theatre piece. This had no story, just manic tricks and stunts, culminating in four motorbikes racing around inside a big metal ball.

Both Cirque Berserk and The Second Coming share a foundation in the tradition of circus acrobatics. But where Fidget Feet add the theatricality of Irish dance and a heavy dose of 'serious content' (the Yeats character is trying to make some kind of point about spirituality), The Cirque simply lives up to its name, shoving three hours of entertainment into two, and getting dangerous with knives, swinging from silks and leaping from tall scenery.

Although I have a vague memory that Yeat's poem about the second company was pessimistic (it seems to describe the anti-christ rather than any cheery baby Jesus), The Second Coming is a happy celebration: the most thoughtful moments are towards the end, when the aerialists slowly climb the spiral (see photo). That is a beautiful moment, hinting at evolutionary growth and the DNA spiral's innate elegance. However, much of the choreography is a generic blend of Irish dance energy and clumsily used aerial swoops - combined with the poet's interludes, the atmosphere becomes cloying and sentimental.

This brings me back to the image at the head of the page. That version of the show looks tougher, more rough hewn - the poet is more punk prophet than tweedy dead revolutionary. It has the vibrancy that is missing in The Second Coming as I saw it. 

Cirque Berserk has no time for fripperies. Stripped of animal acts, plunged into a theatre venue, with no ringmaster and the barest hint of a narrative (one scene had a gypsy village theme, sort of), it races through routines. Now and again Tweedy the clown strolls on to slow down the pace (although I am sure his music was Taraf de Haïdouks), hiding his acrobatic skills under the pretence of idiocy. Throughout the show, the displays of human excellence were astonishing... and they hid any scene changes by having three dancing women come to the front of the stage (which can lead off on a debate about how to judge sexy women being deliberately sexy).

The rise of 'circus' as a serious art form prefers work like The
Second Coming
 to the Cirque, and suffers. The latter sins by entertaining, the former leeches circus' energy away by framing the spectacle in a format that demands meaning and concessions to high art. Never mind that Cirque's performers are more daring, more skilled. 

Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway!

Ant and/or Dec

Sometimes, I get a press release that makes my day.

We are back for another exciting series, and on the 22nd FEBRUARY 2015, one of our fun programme items - the SUPERCOMPUTER, is making its way to EDINBURGH for the first time!

The 'we' here is Ant and Dec! I haven't actually seen the Saturday Night Takeaway, because television. But they are on the road, coming out to press the flesh.

The Supercomputer is even bigger and better this year and we want to see you Come dressed to impress with your hidden talent, and you might get the chance to wow the SUPERCOMPUTER and be in the running for a chance to win 2 tickets to NEW YORK! 

Ant and Dec want to see me come? I think they missed a full stop there. 

We will be at Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre from 9am for the morning session and from 2pm for the afternoon session (these times may be subject to reasonable change depending on set up time, see attached leaflet for full details.)

Sadly, the flyer is a pdf, so I can't put it on the blog. I am just thinking of my potential hidden talent. Telling Ant and Dec apart?

We are calling round the local area to let people know we will be in town and to see if you or anyone you know wish to come down and try your luck at potentially impressing the Supercomputer!

Please be aware that all participants need to be 18 years old or over to take part in the Supercomputer.


Actually, I am not sure Ant and Dec will be there. The Supercomputer is old enough to be touring by itself. 

Green Man, Romany Dear, Paddy McGuiness, Hindle Wakes

Hwyl Festival Starts 2pm to midnight on Saturday 28th February 2015

Cecil Sharp House, Camden, London, NW1 7AY - nearest tube Camden Town.

Tickets £25, / 0844 888 9991 and available on the door

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Three’s A Crowd To Premiere At Manipulate Festival, Edinburgh

Scotland’s All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre will premiere their new touring production, Three’s A Crowd, at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on Saturday 31 January 2015, as part of the 8th Manipulate Festival, the international festival of visual theatre and film. 
It will then tour to eight venues in Scotland and Wales from February to June 2015 .

Three’s A Crowd crosses the boundaries between ground and air, expertly merging harness flying, aerial acrobatics, contemporary circus and dance theatre to create an exciting, challenging and spectacular show that delves deep into the inner workings of human relationships.

Inspired by the themes of action, reaction and consequence, and
how we all affect each other, Three’s A Crowd is set around a reunion of six friends. Who brings them together? How are the characters connected? What really lies beneath the surface as the layers are peeled back? What happens to the friendship dynamic, to each individual, when a third element becomes involved? When individual memories and perceptions differ what are the results?

This dynamic, energetic, humorous, yet equally endearing show that explores human emotions is deftly told, using stunning imagery and breathtaking aerial skills, by six leading international performing artists - Danuta Ramos, Freya Jeffs, Chrissie Ardill, Tony Mills, Rob Heaslip and Itxaso Moreno.

Three's A Crowd is directed by Jennifer Paterson, Artistic Director
of All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre; with creative collaboration from writer Zoe Venditozzi and choreographer Brigid McCarthy. The show has been designed by Becky Minto, with lighting design by Kate Bonney, and is set to a powerful new score by Luke Sutherland.

All or Nothing is Scotland's leading aerial dance company creating, performing, training and helping to establish aerial arts in Scotland since 2006.

The creative team have a vast array of experience: Jennifer Paterson was part of the aerial team who entertained at the London Olympic ceremonies and has performed for companies such as National Theatre Scotland, Becky Minto designed the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, Kate Bonney is the lighting designer on Enchanted Forest and Luke Sutherland is a prolific musician and composer who played with Mogwai on their last tour.

Three’s A Crowd – Tour Listings Information

Venue: The Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street, Edinburgh EH1 2ED

Part of the Manipulate Festival, the international festival of visual theatre and film

Date: 31 January 2015

Time: 19:30

Tickets: £16, £12 conc, £8 conc

Box Office: 0131 228 1404 ||

Venue: Birse and Feughside Church (Finzean Church), Finzean, Aberdeenshire AB31 6NY

Date: 5 February 2015

Time: 19:00

Tickets and Box Office:; or email

Venue: Eden Court, Bishops Road, Inverness IV3 5SA

Date: 7 February 2015

Time: 20:00

Tickets: £11.00, £9.00 conc, £6.00 U18s

Box Office: 01463 234 234 |

Venue: Macrobert Arts Centre, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA

Date: 26 February 2015

Time: 20:00

Tickets: £14, £12.50 conc, £5.50 students

Box Office: 01786 466 666 |

Venue: Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre, Kingsway, Newport NP20 1HG

Date: 5 March 2015

Time 19.30

Tickets: £10, £8 conc, £6 students

Box Office: 01633 656 679 |

Venue: Cumbernauld Theatre, Kildrum, Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire G67 2BN

Date: 13 March 2015

Time: 19:30

Tickets: £14, £12 conc

Box Office: 01236 732 887 |

Venue: The Beacon Arts Centre, Custom House Quay, Greenock PA15 1EQ

Date: 19 March 2015

Time: 19:30

Tickets: £12, £10 conc

Box Office: 01475 723 723 |

Venue: Dundee Rep Theatre, Tay Square, Dundee, Dundee City DD1 1PB

Date: 9 May 2015,

Time: 20:00

Tickets: £12

Box Office: 01382 223 530 |

Venue: Western Baths, 12 Cranworth Street, Glasgow G12 8BZ

As part of the Cottier Chamber Project 2015

Date: 22 June 2015

Time: 19.00

Tickets & Box Office:

All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre: All or Nothing are Scotland's leading aerial dance company. Based in Edinburgh they have been blending breathtaking aerial acrobatics with dance, theatre and contemporary circus since 2006.

The company’s creative work has seen them take on everything from large-scale outdoor spectacle to grand interiors and cabaret dining, small to midscale theatre touring,festivals and one-off events. They were recently the tree top tumblers at the award winning, sell- out event Enchanted Forest, bringing live performance for the first time to Faskally Woods and Pitlochry. 2014 was an exciting summer with the company being partners in two Commonwealth Games projects. The large scale site specific show White Gold in the old Sugar Sheds in Greenock, and they were dancing down the roof of the Glasgow Science Centre in August for Cryptic's night time nautical extravaganza, Sound to Sea.

All or Nothing create greater opportunities to experience aerial dance and theatre, running classes, outreach, workshops and training programmes, spanning both the professional and community sectors. They regularly consult for other arts organisations and charities and Artistic Director Jennifer Paterson sits on the board for Articulation, Scotland's umbrella body for circus, street arts and physical theatre.

In 2013/14 they established a new professional training programme, Flying High, which bridges the gap between dance and aerial, up-skilling professional artists in harness work.

‘A charismatic combination of thoughtful theatre and physical skill.......that suggests a bright future for this emerging strand of Scottish performance.’ THE SCOTSMAN

The main highlights of All or Nothing’s creative work:
2007 123 Here We Go.... solo show, premiered at the Traverse Theatre

2009/10 Halflight, aerial and dance trio, co-choreographed with Errol White, toured as part of Off Kilter, EFT/Dance Base / Unique

2010 Spokes, duo contemporary circus duet with StrangeBird Zirkus

2011 Uncharted Waters, aerial dance / contemporary circus, toured to 15 venues, sold out at Edinburgh Fringe and nominated for a Total Theatre Award

2013 Swing is in the Air, harness dance piece, City Moves Dance Amazing Event

2013-14 Sprawl, dance duet for non theatre spaces with Tony Mills, commissioned by City Moves, performed at Glasgow's Merchant City Festival, Aberdeen's Dance Live and Macrobert Dance Festival

2013-14 R&D of Three's A Crowd, to tour in 2015

2014 *Sound to Sea, aerial choreography for the outdoor nautical extravaganza and musical spectacular at Glasgow Science Centre, produced by Cryptic as part of Commonwealth Games Festival

*Enchanted Forest, Faskally Woods, Pitlochry. An aerial harness duet that was performed 12 times a night, during the 25 day run and seen by over 45,000 people

Carlo Massari interview

From the website: 
A perfect day , a perfect world, then at some point all becomes twisted.
It seems a tragedy , it seems the inspiration for a prologue, it seems a true story, it seems the end of a world, in the world.
Everything for the hand of man ... for proclamation of freedom, achievement, interest, and beauty. Do you love me or kill me?
We report here on a dreamlike past, yet contemporary, disturbed and inappropriate.
It seems the excitement of the strong things, it seems unique, it seems the only goal, it seems flesh, blood...Then BANG!
Just a shot and it all ends... Of what has been, in the writings traces remain of desperate lovers, tortured feelings of immense sadness and tears. We have not changed that much. Everything still revolves around love and in its eternal contrast.
Let the work root into the why and how of something powerful, strong, huge!
We analyze the nature of the restraint and the pursuit of absolute freedom, the current one, our daily one. We are inspired by the true facts of the crime, true.
In one way or another we try to have our say and not to leave a reaction-relationship unfinished , we are also part of this time, in the end.
What is left of the myth?
A first study on the work of Wagner, a source of inspiration to investigate on.
A careful listening to the song and its majesty. The discovery of the modernity of the Opera, a similar picture, but far from the Middle Ages.
The Wagnerian Opera instigates not only to make tragedies; it is a fact, a divine melody.
Take a head, an incipit, an unforgettable sample, forever... and then weigh it ... What was it? What's this? What will remain?

My experience of your work so far has been that it is spiritual, longing for meaning, sexy and rough: am I just being weird or is this a fair assessment?

Maybe we are weird...!

No, really, you actually got it quite right. We aim at finding rather a crude and straightforward language so that people can be shaken by it while recognising and acknowledging themselves as part of a humanity that belongs to them and that they belong to.

This time, you talk of Wagner - are you an enthusiast?
Maybe we are more depressed than enthusiastic.

What drew you to him in particular?
It is maybe the need to deal with such a feeling of sadness and melancholy that pushed us to looking at Wagner. Wagner is very emotional and tragically ended. As usual, we want to ironically approach the universal dichotomy good and evil.

From what you know of manipulate, is it a good fit for your work?
Considering the quality of the programme we are honoured to be part of this festival.

How do you approach making a new work - do you have a particular dramaturgy?

Our dramaturgy stems from the body. It is based on physical relations and actions aimed at codifying feelings and stories of life and within our society. Our new works are engendered by intuitions, by the desire to speak about something in particular like visions of today’s world, hope, or future pessimisms.

What does remain at the end of a performance?


How do you understand the function of art? 

“Je suis liberté d'expression”. I am freedom of expression.