Feature in Issue 15-4 | Winter 2003

Feathers are flying in this issue of Total Theatre Magazine; no, not the gentle whisper of angels' wings, more the fluttering of a large number of feather boas as we investigate burlesque. From the carnivalesque performance art pieces of Marisa Carnesky to the Lost Vagueness total environments at Glastonbury festival and the launch of the London Academy of Burlesque at the International Workshop Festival, 2003 has been the year that burlesque went overboard – with the year culminating in the invasion of the Barbican by Total Theatre Award winners Duckie who continue on their quest to ‘bring the dosshouse to the arthouse'.

So what has happened? Are female performers now so assured in their liberation that they feel free to re-evaluate the forms of exotic dancing and self-display that feminism previously rejected? Perhaps this and other questions will be addressed in the latest Total Theatre Talks, presented as part of the London International Mime Festival, which offers female practitioners of physical and visual performance the opportunity to debate creating work that is specific to female performers. There will be a lot more on this in TT Magazine throughout 2004...

But I am, like Janus, looking ahead when I need to also keep an eye on what is done and dusted – so back to this issue!

Continuing professional development is a subject dear to the heart of Total Theatre. Although all artforms can claim a need for the provision of programmes for artistic development, circus has a particular claim, due to its long history of neglect as an artform, and lack of funding, training and development opportunities. In 2000 the first CircElation project (documented in Vol 13/1) was a trailblazing event that offered performers and directors a space to learn, play and evolve new collaborations. We herald the latest phase of CircElation with a feature on some of the recent successful circus CPD schemes, including the Jerwood Circus Award and the recent Circus Bites tour.

Another major event in 2003 has been the storming success of Jerry Springer - The Opera which has made the journey from scratch show at BAC to the National Theatre and West End, under the loving guidance of outgoing BAC director Tom Morris. Two different features reflect, in very different ways, on this event. The first is an interview with BAC's new artistic director, David Jubb. The second is a look at music theatre in general – and the wild and wonderful BAC Opera season in particular.

So there we have it – dancing girls, circus artists flying high, singing TV stars... what more could you want for a very Happy New Year!

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-4
p. 4