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New Adventures in Performance – Issue 4 – December 2019

This month’s magazine has the usual eclectic mix of work, although from artists who would probably think of themselves as working more within a fine art rather than theatre based performance tradition.

The theatre/performance binary has been one that’s been argued over for at least half a century. What used to be called performance art later became known as live art. What was once called experimental theatre metamorphosed into post dramatic theatre.  Whether these definitions are useful is debatable. At imitating the dog we are definitely working in a theatre tradition but are open and influenced by developments in other artforms, film obviously, but also fine art. Boundaries are there to be crossed.


Rosie Gibbens is a British artist who has recently graduated from The Royal College of Art. Her performance work grows out of her interest in making objects and is very much in the tradition of a particular kind of English surrealism. The extract here is from a performance called Carrot and Stick which took place earlier this year at The Chalton Gallery for Art Night.


Mette Sterre is based in Rotterdam and works on projects worldwide.

She works across disciplines with a particular interest in costume and the extract shown here is fairly representative of her approach to performance: it is playful, ironic and surreal, frequently offering an ironic take on the idea of the post-human.


Dorothy Melander Dayton is from New Mexico but travels widely and has a particular interest in Anthropology and Ethnography. The two pieces here, one documentation, the other a short video film based on the same project, came about as a result of a 3-month residency in Tokyo. 


Zoo Indigo is an Anglo-German contemporary performance company based in Nottingham, co-founded by Ildiko Rippel and Rosie Garton. Rosie is Programme Leader of Performing Arts at De Montfort University, Leicester.  Ildiko is a Senior lecturer of Performance at the University of Worcester. Together they have co-authored a range of articles and chapters regarding their processes of making performance from embodied experiences.

In 1945, as WWII came to an end, Lucia Rippel was expelled from her place of birth, Brzeznica, Silesia. After being raped by a group of soldiers, she walked 220 miles to Pulspforde in Germany with two small children and all her belongings dragged behind her in a cart. In 2015, Ildikó and Rosie retraced her footsteps, crossing borders, climbing fences, bleeding and blistering, and carrying flat-pack versions of their own children. This short film documentary entwines the historical story of Lucia and many other walking women at the end of WWII with Rosie and Ildiko’s experiences of their 220mile walk, and ultimately referencing current plights of many refugees.

The 2015 walk, as a form of embodied research, was also the starting point for the devising process of the No Woman’s Land performance and the staging of a theatre of maternal migration.  During the performance, performers (and spectators), walked on treadmills through projections of archival and recent footage of migration. Through viscerally representing migration, the performance and documentary aimed to produce a kinesthetic empathy with the physical demands of escape and provide an ontological ground for disseminating historical and political knowledge of forced maternal migration.