#NOW15 Interview #13: Seke Chimutengwende

Get ready to discover the legend of King Arthur in a whole new way. Seke Chimutengwende (DV8 Physical Theatre and Lost Dog) & friends fuse dance, theatre & a little magic into their show next week at NOW ’15 from 2-6 June 2015.

Watch the trailer for sneak peek of the show and then use your scrolling finger to find out more about with our exclusive interview with Seke.




What’s your journey been getting to NOW’15, what brings you to The Yard?

I’ve been thinking about making a piece about King Arthur for about two years. I perform a lot of solo improvisations and he’s a figure that has come up a lot in them over the years. Something to do with the myth of Englishness and Britishness which I feel like I’ve been bombarded with especially recently. I’m thinking about The Jubiliee, The Olympics, royal births and weddings, UKIP, Scottish independence, Thatcher’s funeral etc etc. I was delighted when Jay invited me to make a piece at this festival as I think The Yard is the perfect location for a contemporary take on the King Arthur myth.

Tell us about your show. What makes it new and why should someone come and see it?

The show has seven performers and will be a combination of panel discussions, on-stage quests and danced interludes. It will be partly improvised so each show will be unique. It could be absurd, melancholic, life-affirming, hypnotic – depending on the night.

I don’t think there’s been any work about King Arthur that has dealt with the fact that there is no one definitive version of the story. Part of the concept is that there won’t be a definitive version even of this piece. From the first rehearsal through to the last performance, the performers will be engaged in collectively telling and re-telling the story through un-scripted group discussion – it will be an ongoing, daily practice for them. And it feels like King Arthur is a good story to do that with because most people who will see the show will have some sense of who he is/was. Through books, films, poetry, operas, paintings – the story of King Arthur is continuously being re-told anew and this gives us a kind of license or rationale to approach it however we want.

Describe your show in three words…

Different every time.

Who or what inspires you?

Recently I’ve been really inspired by Stacy Makishi’s work, Jeremy Deller’s exhibition English Magic and I’ve also been watching a lot of Eric Rohmer films.

What other shows in NOW’15 are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to seeing Dog Kennel Hill Project and Project O because they are my friends so I’m always curious to see what they will do. And of course I’m looking forward to seeing Melanie’s piece, which is on in the same double bill with me. But I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing all the shows. It looks like a really exciting festival!


INTERVIEW: WAH WAH 45s

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This Friday is what everyone has been waiting for… the spectacular Wah Wah 45s.

Featuring one of world’s finest DJs and taste-makers LEFTO and your Wah Wah 45’s favourite DJs; DOM SERVINI, SCRIMSHIRE and BOPPERSON.

We meet up with Dom Servini so he can tell us all about this explosive night.

  1. Where did the name Wah Wah 45s come from?

The label name came from the club night that originated in the early 90s courtesy of Chris and Simon Goss. The night was called Wah Wah, named after the “Cry Baby” Wah Wah pedal that was used by many a rhythm guitarist in the 1970s to help achieve that trademark funk sound. The night ran at The Jazz Cafe for a number of years (I joined in 1999) and the 45s part was added on for the record label as we originally only released on the 7-inch (or 45s) format. We now of course release music on all formats from heavyweight vinyl LPs to digital.

  1. Tell us about Wah Wah 45s night out?

 Any Wah Wah night out is primarily about quality music with soul, a fantastic, well presented show and a friendly atmosphere. This Friday we welcome one of the world’s finest DJs who understands that ethos – Lefto. He’s a man that can enthrall a dance floor with a jazz record, drive them insane with an Afrobeat cut, or move feet with some glorious downtempo electronica, and he does all of this seamlessly. It’s great to have him back again after last year’s road block, and he’ll be supported by the most excellent Unwanted Family, as well as Wah Wah 45s residents Scrimshire, Bopperson and little old me!

  1. How would you describe your taste in music?

I’m open-minded and definitely not a purist. I really don’t get purists. I love any kind of music that has soul and comes from the heart. That could be a jazz record from 1950s New York or a house record made in Peckham last week. It’s all the same to me. The label is a reflection of this ethos.

  1. What are the key ingredients for a great night out?

No attitude. A sense of humour. A quality sound system. DJs who just play the finest songs – no filler. You’ll find all of that this Friday night.

  1. What do you want people to know about Wah Wah 45s?

 I guess that we care about people hearing amazing songs, that we support live music and beautiful ways to listen to recorded music and that we have no intention of stopping this train! You can find out more at www.wahwah45s.com

 

Remember there is still time to get your tickets to this Friday’s Wah Wah 45s. Click HERE 

 

MUSIC THIS WEEK: WAH WAH 45s & WOT NOT

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Music this week

This Friday is what everyone has been waiting for… the spectacular Wah Wah 45s.

Featuring one of world’s finest DJs and taste-makers LEFTO and your Wah Wah 45’s favourite DJs; DOM SERVINI, SCRIMSHIRE and BOPPERSON.

This mighty bunch of DJs will bring you a set full of the very best in Boogie, Soul, Tropicalia, Dub and Electronica.

So why not come down and dance with Wah Wah 45s till the early hours of the morning.

Tickets available HERE

 

This Saturday we have Wot Not in the building, bringing you music for the open minded.

The infamous Wot Not DJs will be on rotation all night taking it new and old school for us. Playing all of your favourites in Funk, Soul, Boogie, House and Hip Hop.

This is truly a night you do not want to miss and don’t forget it’s FREE entry all night, so why not splash out on the bar.

 

#NOW15 Interview #12: Odd Comic

‘PETS! It’s all about pets: for pet-lovers, pet-lover-haters and ambiguous humans.’ Odd Comic

Get ready for a hilarious look into people’s obsessions with pets this week at NOW ’15 festival from 26-30 May.

We caught up with Holly & Dot aka Odd Comic to talk pets and their show…



What’s your journey been getting to NOW’15, what brings you to The Yard?

We approached The Yard to talk about an embryonic idea about people and their pets and some time later we were awarded Arts Council Grants for the Arts funding to develop the project. In 18 months we’ve been from talking to hospital patients about their pets, presenting an exhibition on a heath for dogs and their owners to broadcasting pet-related soundscapes on local radio and sharing a pond with a dog. This show is where our research has bought us to and The Yard is a perfect destination for the project as they’ve known about it from the outset.

Tell us about your show. What makes it new and why should someone come and see it?

It’s one strand of a multi-faceted art project and the culmination of our findings. It’s about some of the surprising undertones of pet-ownership that go beyond the predictable. It’s humorous and includes extracts of real conversation about pets.

The show features a lost animal, a special moment with a horse poster and somelight-hearted interpretations of the formal mechanisms of performance.

It’s a grotesque, nostalgic, teasing, playful, moving, humorous and frank interaction between audience, performer, animal and human.

Your feelings towards those little black bags of dog poo will be forever changed.

Describe your show in three words…

It’s about pets

Who or what inspires you?

People and their pets, strange objects, funny noises, physical theatre, deadpan delivery, bizarre but familiar sayings, visual puns, altered scale, attention to detail.

Tommy Cooper, Gillian Wearing, Julia Davidson, Reeves and Mortimer, Equus, New Art Club, Alan Partridge, John Coltrane, Smack the Pony, Other/other/other, Thalia Theatre Company, Dan Canham, Nigel Charnock, pound shops and pet shops.

We often work with people and their experiences. A personal account of an experience can provide excellent visual ideas and potential performance dialogue.

We make performance in an intuitive, sometimes improvisational way and this (in part) accounts for our mongrel, nonlinear style and occasional “sketch-show” delivery.

For ‘My Champion Heartache’ we have been especially inspired by conversations in a hospital wards with patients temporarily separated from their pets, interactions with dog walkers and their dogs in the park, wondering about and wandering about, all those lost owners and lost pets on missing posters and our own memories of pet ownership.

What other shows in NOW’15 are you most looking forward to?

There’s loads! We are really excited about ‘There they carved a space’ (by Emilia Weber and Claire Healy) and ‘Choreography of an Argument Round a Table’ by Dog Kennel Hill Project.

#NOW15 Interview #11: Emilia Weber & Claire Healy

Does your city give you enough space? Emilia Weber and Claire Healy’s There They Carved A Space next week at NOW ’15 festival is sure to provoke a lot of questions about the urban environment. We caught up with the pair and asked to find out more…

What’s your journey been getting to NOW ’15, what brings you to The Yard?

We made There They Carved a Space in 2014 and presented it in October at the Arches in Glasgow – but we didn’t feel we were finished with it and we felt that the piece would resonate in London (especially in this part of London) so we’re bringing it to The Yard.

Tell us about your show. What makes it new and why should someone come and see it?

The piece is an investigation into the politics of space. Broadly speaking we’ve been interested in exploring society’s relationship to land and common assets – from the land enclosures of the 17th century to the current privatisation of our cities, and their so-called ‘regeneration’.  We’ve been interested both in the stories of those who have protested, and do protest, against these developments and interested in exploring urban spaces which run counter to the official images cities like to present.

We’re using text, film and sound to build a live documentary of sorts – formally we’ve been trying to stretch the parameters of a presentation, or thinking about what potential there is in exploring innovative lecture styles.

There’s an overarching political/historical narrative to the work but there’s also been something really personal about the investigation – we’ve been journeying to all the places we’ve ever lived and reflecting on our own relationships to home and shelter and the urban environment. In walking and documenting we’ve been (re)inhabiting the landscape and retrieving facts and memories relating to these spaces.

It’s quite a dense subject but a hugely relevant one – it seems that with the current housing crisis, occupations on estates, the recent march for homes it’s entering the public consciousness.

Describe your show in three words…

Text, film, sound.

Who or what inspires you?

Stewart Laing and Untitled Projects, Annie Dorsen, Elevator Repair Service, Chris Goode and Company, lots of political theatre watched during childhood – tribunal plays at The Tricycle, learning about 7:84. Writers, filmmakers, academics investigating space and place: Laura Oldfield Ford, Owen Hatherley, Patrick Keiller, Emily Richardson, Jane Rendell, W.G. Sebald, Peter Greenaway, Jonathan Meades, Chris Marker. We were both really excited by The Blackburn Company’s work with Katherine Angel: Unmastered, Remastered programmed as part of a reading group organised by Emma Balkind and Laura Edbrook which introduced us to loads of other amazing authors: Chris Kraus, Lidia Yuknavitch, Kate Zambreno. We’ve also been inspired/influenced by: Deborah Light’s work, Eddie Ladd’s, Moyra Davey’s historical/autobiographical film piece Les Goddesses (recommended by the brilliant artist Ash Reid when we first started making the show), Francis Alÿ’s Guards, Clio Barnard’s films, Ariana Reines’ Mercury, Sam Walton’s Amaranth, Unstitched, the readings of Holly Pester, Lisa Jeschke and Lucy Benyon, Ashley Hunt’s Notes on the Emptying of a City (presented by Arika who facilitate great episodes and conversations) AND continually inspired by activists and organisers raising awareness about housing issues: the Glasgow Games Monitor, Southwark Notes, Focus E15 Mothers, Aylesbury Estate occupants and many more.

What other shows in NOW’15 are you most looking forward to?

Ponyboy Curtis, Sleepwalk Collective, Project O – but all of them actually.

Attention pet lovers, pet lover haters or ambivalent humans…

Photo credit: Holly Rumble

Photo credit: Holly Rumble

Come and meet Rosie the tortoise and explore the comfort, sorrow and absurdity that pet ownership can bring. Odd Comic present My Champion Heartache

Dot Howard and Holly Bodmer, who both have a history of visual and live art, tend to perform to intimate audiences in unusual spaces. They combine  this with observational, sometimes comic, experimental performance to create a lively sketch show feel.

My Champion Heartache, which first premiered in Odd Comic’s hometown of Norwich, is a playful interaction between pet, owner, performer and audience . They devised the show around  a series of oddball interactions with dog walkers, their personal memories of their pets, and conversations with hospital patients that are sadly separated from their beloved pets. The vibrant show has moments of real poignancy as Odd Comic unearth the heart-warming yet heart-breaking truth about the importance that pets play in many people’s lives.

Their last show Would Be Nice Though was an immersive show about job interviews that took place in many real working offices alongside people at work and was partly improvised, steered by the audience members.

Find out if you are a pet person, hide in horror, giggle in delight or ogle at some imaginary pets. Oh, and did I mention the live tortoise?

Odd Comic are part of a double bill with Emilia Weber & Clare Healy. Tickets are Just £10 for both shows.

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My Champion Heartache 26th – 30th May

Hip Hop Theatre comes to The Yard

Penny Lane

DJ Rattus Rattus, Dominic Garfield & Gerel Falconer during ‘Penny Lane’ rehearsals.

‘Do you remember Petey G?
Kids TV for the BBC?
He even did an ad for PG tea
And now he does blow off his DVD’s.’

There’s a murder in Penny Lane, but Hip Hop certainly isn’t dead. As Gerel Falconer, co-writer and co-star of the show, explains, ‘Hip Hop is not dead. Just listen to the lyrics and enjoy it, it’s still alive’. Come down to The Yard for a Hip Hop party as HighRise Theatre place you into a live double murder trial told through the eyes of two rappers, entirely in rhyme.

HighRise are a theatre collective with impressive beards and a keen ear for the communities they work in across London. A collection of actors, directors, facilitators, choreographers, writers, musicians and rappers, HighRise are excited by cutting-edge work that teaches young people how to be less like us. Previous work includes The Concrete Jungle Book that adapted Rudyard Kipling’s classic into a contemporary tale about a boy in foster care in an urban environment and Big Smother that plunges the public into government-enforced reality TV. As well as performing, HighRise run a youth theatre project at We Are Spotlight.

Penny Lane is the energetic version of Eastenders with, startlingly, more twists, more drugs and certainly bigger parties! Told entirely through the Hip Hop concept album brought to life, Gerel wants you to leave ‘with a good vibe, to feel like you are raving out for a bit’ as you will be left bouncing in your seats.

‘But the ultimate question is, who did it?’

Penny Lane will be joining Daniel Bye’s Going Viral to create the dynamic double-bill line up of The Yard’s Week 6 of NOW ’15 festival.

It is just £10 for both shows and you can get your tickets here.

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‘Penny Lane’ by HighRise Theatre is on Tuesday 19th – Saturday 23rd May.

MUSIC THIS WEEK: CONTACT & COMADISCO

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We’ve only gone and programmed the double C’s this weekend.

Friday will be kicking off with Contact bringing you a 4 man line up of Martin Lefteri, Paul McGann,  Kuba Wronski and Szymek Lawik playing the very best Italo, Disco, House, Techno, 80’s Synth and New Beat. 

Saturday night will be May’s edition of Comadisco with a very special twist… DJ and creator Fumix will be going solo! This is very special for those that have been following his journey. Fumix will be playing us a 5 hour earth-shaking set with Comadisco (un)classics.

Will we see you on the dance floor this weekend?

Here’s a taste of Contact

Orbit Mix by Szymek Lawik by Contact_London on Mixcloud

Here’s a taste of Comadisco

Say hello to Daniel Bye

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‘Going Viral’ showing at The Yard Tuesday 19th – Saturday 23rd May

Whether it’s cat videos, or the most recent disease, why are we so obsessed with how things go viral? Daniel Bye delves into the science of how things spread with his funny, troubling and playful new work-in-progress ‘Going Viral’.

After showing extracts in Mumbai in April, Daniel will be joining The Yard to perform, experiment with different forms and structures, and develop his material into a fascinating show that engages with the world we live in. He describes it as ‘an exciting way to work’ as the show will be evolving from performance to performance.

Daniel is a writer and member of the international network for playwrights The Fence, an associate artist for ARC Stockton-on-Tees, a performer and a director. Previous work of his includes The Price of Everything that aimed to explore value, from how much someone would pay for an air guitar on eBay, to the value of beauty. His work, that blends performance lecture with comedy and storytelling, tends to wrestle with the big questions for society, until they’re small enough for us all to swallow, so we can laugh, cry, gasp or change the world.

‘Going Viral’ will be joining HighRise Theatre’s hiphopera ‘Penny Lane’ to create the dynamic double-bill line up of The Yard’s Week 6 of NOW ’15 festival.

It is just £10 for both shows and you can get tickets here.

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A moment from Daniel Bye’s last show ‘The Price of Everything’

Chris Goode on the world of Ponyboy Curtis

Week 5 - Ponyboy Curtis

There’s a bit in Ponyboy Curtis: At The Yardwhich we refer to between ourselves as the ‘dream sequence’: but honestly, I feel like I’ve been in a dream sequence for much of the last six months, since the very beginning of assembling this new ensemble.

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been dreaming towards something like Ponyboy Curtis for the best part of a decade, but it always felt impossibly out of reach. It was only last year that I finally realised it was never going to get any easier, and I just needed to get on and make it happen. I got in touch with some performers I love, and put an open call out for more; I set up a crowdfunding campaign; and, crucially, I told Jay Miller of The Yard what I wanted to try and do. Six months later, here we are: and it’s already more than I ever dreamed it could be.

I think it’s been a bit infuriating for some people that we haven’t been able to say what At The Yard is ‘about’. Part of me wants to refuse the question. What was the last great party you went to ‘about’? What is sitting in Hyde Park in the sunshine ‘about’? Right? 😉 And I suppose part of that refusal in turn is that if you feel totally committed, as I do, to the idea that theatre is an essentially anticapitalist endeavour, then to treat it as a commodity and market it accordingly is at best an uncomfortable compromise, and Ponyboy is the one place I never want to have to compromise.

But of course parties are ‘about’ stuff and Hyde Park is ‘about’ something and just because it has no narrative it doesn’t mean At The Yard isn’t about anything. It’s about us, and it’s about now. It’s about the real relationships that Ponyboy is made up of: intimate, intrepid, romantic, exuberant, critical, passionate relationships. That’s mostly what we’ve spent the time since December making. We only properly started work on the show last week. The general election result has changed what it’s about.

And of course those relationships are political, and the form of the work is political too. It may not be clear from seeing any single performance but every night At The Yard is different: the six boys are constantly making fresh decisions about how to play this game, when to intervene, how to interact. Watch it knowing that if there’s a bit you really love, and you come back another night, the bit you really loved is likely to be quite different. Watch it knowing that the whole unrepeatable show is burning up before your eyes. You can imagine the bravery it takes for those six performers to go out on stage every night knowing only the structure of what lies ahead, but almost nothing about what they themselves will end up doing. Now imagine the bravery it takes to do that while you’re mostly naked.

Because there is a lot of nakedness in Ponyboyland. There is a protracted and cordial invitation to just look at some naked young men for an hour. One thread in my work over the past decade has been about trying to make it easier, more comfortable, to really look at bodies in the theatre and to really see what you’re looking at. Another thread has been about trying to make theatre less hopelessly bad at doing sex – and not just sex but romance, intimacy, all that good stuff. How often do you see theatre and even the way that people touch each other, look at each other, feels fake? Hopefully we’re getting somewhere better. That’s what building this ensemble has been about. It thrilled me that someone at one of our rehearsal venues said he could tell how tightly bonded the boys were just from the way they left the building together at lunchtime. It thrills me that despite all the hot boy-on-boy action in the show, I think your best guess as to the actual sexual orientation of each of these six performers would probably be wrong.

This morning, the media are full of stuff about domestic extremism: about the new Tory government attempting to define what extremism is, what it looks like, in order to shut it down. Under the terms on offer, I suspect almost all of the Ponyboys would identify as extremists, as would I. We come to this place to do something else. This show is all about how masculinity gets performed, and that’s partly because I’m a big old bender and I could happily watch boys getting dressed and undressed all day, and right now that’s what my job is so I’m all good thanks; but it’s also partly because patriarchy sucks so hard and I would like young men (including me, twenty years ago) to have something better, something less toxic, to grow up into. You only need look at the statistics on suicide rates among young males to know that patriarchy is a giant conspiracy of self-harm. Ponyboy’s opposition to that conspiracy is, yes, totally and proudly extreme. And yet one of the great joys of this work is that it’s no more extreme at its heart than love is extreme, or care is extreme, or hope is extreme. Despite all the brainbox queer theory simmering beneath this show, we keep finding inspiration at (or near) the centre of our culture: in the carefully staged homoerotics of boybands, the tribal fealties of skate teams, the whispered confessions of buddy movies.

This is just the beginning for Ponyboy. There’s lots more work ahead, e.g. decisively overthrowing capitalism, getting Jojen off of ‘Game of Thrones’ to join us, etc. Also we want to keep breaking the record for length of warning notice outside the theatre. (Currently: nudity, sexual content, strong language and an extremely bright light: but I’m sure we can do better.) Come and see us while we’re at the Yard. Even better, run away from home and join us. I won’t rest until we’re bigger than Blazin’ Squad. You’ve got to have a dream.