Sampling the sounds at Shirley’s Temple

Feature in Issue 8-1 | Spring 1996

Performing in nightclubs gives the performer a unique creative buzz. Sarah-Jean Couzens is a trapeze artist who also coordinates the live performance at Shirley’s Temple nightclub in Glasgow, here she explains her programming policy.

Shirley’s Temple is a new nightclub recently opened in the centre of Glasgow. It is a large split level space, designed in the post-industrial style. The circular dance floor lies under a beautiful 30 foot high dome and is surrounded by wide balconies running all around where people dance or watch as they choose.

I am a trapeze artist and performed at Shirley’s Temple on its opening night in October 1995. It was the best gig of my life. There is nothing quite like the buzz of swinging over the heads of dancing people, really enjoying themselves, loving you being there, you loving them being there, so close. The barriers between audience and performer are broken down, so much so, that if their hands reached up that little bit further they could actually touch you.

The club DJ, a man in drag, plays up-tempo popular dance music. The acts emerge out of the music and back into it again. There is no stopping the flow. But there is a clearing of space. If the performers need it, stewards are on hand to ensure safety. The club holds 1500 people and takes place on a Sunday night. Since the new year I have been programming the performances, where diversity and interaction are key to the choices made. Aerial performance, stilt walkers, jugglers, acrobats, mimes, usually in-character walkabout, and ‘interactive performance art installations’ all take place. Wherever possible the nature of the performance is interactive so that people can participate if they choose. The club-goers dress-up for the night, as looking good is as important as dancing and enjoying the live performances that make Shirley’s Temple.

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This article in the magazine

Issue 8-1
p. 7