Feature in Issue 16-1 | Spring 2004

Spring is sprung, and Total Theatre Magazine throws off the feather boas and fluffy mules of burlesque and cabaret to don our wellies and venture into the great outdoors, eyes blinking in the sunshine.

And what do we find? That British street theatre has grown up – literally, as bigger and brasher shows and events take to the streets. Edward Taylor reflects on the joys and challenges of moving up the scale. Meanwhile, it is the 30th anniversary of the Winchester Hat Fair, perhaps the UK’s oldest organised street festival. Director Sian Thomas and Winchester resident fool Jonathan Kay give us a taste of the history of this eclectic arts event and a hint of things to come. Looking the other way – back to a completed project – Anne Tucker reflects on the effect that French company PHUN had on the residents and workers of Manchester’s city centre, transformed overnight into a rural idyll.

Bridging the gap between indoors and outdoors come Welfare State International. I met up with John Fox on the significance of their One Rock project, an art/science collaborative crossover that also manages to take in local history, politics and spirituality. And talking of collaborations - Richard Cuming raises the thorny question of how best to create co-owned, co-devised theatre work without upsetting the balance of delicate egos, and without subjugating one strand of the work to the tyranny of another.

The theme of collaborations is one which will continue to pop up throughout this year in Total Theatre Magazine, as more and more work emerges that breaks the boundaries not only of different arts disciplines but also of the damaging rift between arts, sciences and humanities that has plagued our culture since the Enlightenment. Renaissance Man is here!

And Renaissance Woman too, of course… At our latest Total Theatre Talks event, held during the London International Mime Festival (January 2004), we invited a panel of distinguished female practitioners of physical and visual performance to come together to reflect on their work. Miriam King reports on the day – and reflects on the speakers’ presentations from her perspective as a ‘fellow’ female performer. Issues raised during the day included the notion of performing the feminine versus androgyny in performance, the ageing female body exposed on stage, and women as creators rather then interpreters of others’ creativity. All of which will, I’m sure, stay issues to be addressed throughout 2004… Watch this space!

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-1
p. 4