Author Archives: Rachael Clerke


About Rachael Clerke

Rachael Clerke is an Edinburgh-born Bristol-based maker working both collaboratively and independently to create performance, websites, drawings, writing and film. Her work has been described as 'humorous, fearless, political and challenging.' She also once received a ‘review’ that read simply – 'Performance Art? Either learn to paint or sculpt or fuck off.' She is currently making a show called How to achieve redemption as a Scot through the medium of Braveheart. Rachael is one half of Clerke and Joy, an ongoing collaboration with Josephine Joy, and is a member of Interval, an artist-led support network based at The Exchange, Bristol.

Cuncrete Poetry in Motion

About two years ago I started looking up and thinking about home. Or rather, thinking about houses. Perhaps it was the planned demolition spectacle of the Red Road flats for the opening of the Commonwealth games in Glasgow, or the increasing level of disdain David Cameron was heaping on 60s and 70s social housing projects, or just the realisation that my front room smells like farts because of an irreparable damp problem rather than my own flatulence. For the first time I actually began to look at these physical structures: walls, textures, bricks, angles and concrete. I looked at a lot of concrete. I joined the brutalism appreciation society on Facebook and watched strangers fight over architectural definitions. I started to read books about new towns, post-war utopias and democratic building revolutions across Europe. I started talking to an architect and a town planner. And raw concrete merged with government policy, speeches, and men – so many men – talking about the future. Designing it, shaping it, dictating it. Sometimes with good intentions, but often with more sinister ones. I enlisted the help of researcher Elin Jones who writes about the relationship between masculinity and the built environment. And I started to make a show.

From the mess, this research and obsessive amounts of looking up at the built environment, came Cuncrete, a drag king punk gig about housing that the Great White Males – my anti-virtuoso punk band – will perform at Summerhall at the Edinburgh fringe. And I became Archie – Archibald Tactful, an all-powerful architect – permanently middle aged, permanently peddling the future. Somewhere between Anthony Royal – the architect/god in JG Ballard’s in High Rise – and David Byrne.

This is not the first time I’ve made a show about politic and policy, or dressed up as a bloke. My 2014 solo show How to achieve redemption as a Scot through the medium of Braveheart discussed the independence referendum debate through the (imagined) voices of Alex Salmond, Donald Trump and William Wallace (as portrayed by Mel Gibson in Braveheart). There’s something powerful about taking these ‘authority figures’ and speaking through them. Because if I am Donald Trump – I can make him say whatever I want.

For Cuncrete we wanted to go a bit further – to create a gang of men with such broad brush strokes that they could stand in for an entire social group. The men that, if you boiled down the current housing crisis, back through layers of policy, building contracts and idealistic chat, would be left at the bottom; untouched by it all, immune from criticism, poverty or morals. The Great White Males.

I’m interested in the untouchability of extreme privilege. In the fact that, even though it was a GREAT day on Twitter (possibly my favourite ever), fucking a dead pig didn’t actually touch Cameron.

In our society, the most normal thing you can be is a white man in a suit; it’s our point zero. But not that many of us actually are. Statistics show that only about 10% of the UK population falls into the ‘straight, middle-aged, white, middle-class men’ bracket. By performing in drag we have the opportunity to take a perceived norm and make it weird. To queer the perspective. By knocking something off-centre you can ask questions, make people think, make people notice. With drag nothing is ever totally certain and I love that instability.

The Great White Males are Archibald Tactful, johnsmith, Johnnie Jove and Little Keith – an architect, a banker, a politician and a housing developer. They are all very real and very fake at the same time – we don’t pretend to be skilled actors, we can’t play instruments, and we’ve never written songs before. We are a group of weirdo girls in suits, hair-gel and a lot of eyeliner that missed our eyes and hit our upper lips instead.

There is something curious about imitating something you know so well, but don’t know how to do. The whole show comes from a kind of crude, honest level of observation. In terms of making music – we’ve decided we can do it because we’ve all heard music before, so we know what it sounds like. Likewise – the men in charge, the influence – we all live with that all the time, so in a way it’s very easy to do. Making the show has been an exercise in saying – we can do this, we will do this. It feels ballsy and empowering, like we’re getting to be teenage boys, finally.

We should be angry about what is happening in our cities. Council houses are being sold off and luxury housing developers like Lend Lease (Elephant & Castle redevelopment) and the Berkley Group (Woodberry Down) are building flats explicitly for millionaires to buy and leave empty. And all the while homelessness is rising, and our government is hammering home the idea that the best thing you can possibly do is own a home. ‘We’re going to turn generation rent into generation buy’, declared Cameron last year in a terrifying Thatcherite echo, despite Shelter’s assertion that 58% of new ‘affordable housing’ will be unaffordable for families on average incomes in 2020. Cuncrete is about tracing these lines back – through 60s idealism to right to buy to rampant capitalism. I’m not interested in giving people a history lesson, or telling them what to think, but I’d like to think that we offer up some questions on how we got here, and why it’s a problem.

Cuncrete is a show about uneasy feelings in the pit of my stomach. About things I can’t quite bring myself to accept. About grey spaces and the impenetrable fortress of our political system. It’s designed to be a salve – a space to be angry and also a space to celebrate, to laugh at, the absurdity of the world. Because, the thing is, Archie thinks it’s all ok. And that basically means we’re fucked.


Featured photo by Paul Samuel White

 Cuncrete, by Rachael Clerke & The Great White Males, is at Summerhall, Edinburgh Fringe, 3-26 August 2016. See

Tickets can be booked at


Rachael Clerke: The Big Idea

Rachael Clerke dives in to defend Dartington’s living legacy in the BA Theatre at Falmouth University, which is threatened with closure 

I have a vivid memory of sitting in a tutor’s office during my first semester as a student on the BA Theatre course at Dartington College of Arts, completely lost. ‘You mean we’re not going to do any acting?’ I moaned. ‘But I really like plays!’

I remember being so outraged that, at the age of eighteen, with little-to-no devising experience, I had been put into a studio with a group of five other students and asked to make a show.

How could they let us struggle like this? Where was the adult to direct us? It wasn’t fair!

I had come to Dartington almost by mistake, on the recommendation of a London drama school who pointed out (not gently) that it didn’t sound like I really wanted to be ‘told what to do’, and then sent me a rejection letter on fancy headed paper. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. Because, over the following three years – two at Dartington and one in Falmouth following the 2010 merger – that initial brief was repeated again and again, backed up by classes, workshops, weekly praxis lecture sessions and a public programme that any London venue would be proud of.

Karen Christopher and Gerard Bell so-below-20web

Karen Christopher and Gerard Bell: So Below at Sacred Chelsea Theatre

Make something. There were variations: Make something outside. Make something on a theme. Make something with Karen Christopher (Goat Island). Make something off-campus. But always, make something. We’ll be here when you need us. We’ll give you the tools. But make it yourselves. And use each other.

And we did. We made large-scale studio performances and installations and one-on-ones in cupboards. We made site-specific pieces in forests, train stations and on buses. We collaborated with our peers: the musicians, writers, choreographers and visual artists on parallel courses. We made good shows and we made awful shows. And no one stopped us from doing any of it.

Dartington was always a Big Idea. The art college opened in 1961 as part of Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst’s ‘Dartington Experiment’, which sought to bring about social and economic change through education in the arts, farming and rural industries, and scientific research. That this course is founded in such amorphous Big Ideas, and always operated in response to ever-changing social and political environments, is important and has allowed it to constantly push boundaries, beating a path for new ways of thinking about, and making, theatre.

Of course, the rise of theatre by ‘makers’ is in no way exclusively the product of Dartington and Falmouth. The pool of artists operating in this field is now considerable, and more and more venues and festivals are recognising theatre that is devised, DIY, collaborative and experimental over a more traditional programme. Performance work made by artists and actors who author their own work has never been more fashionable. However, this in no way means that there is an abundance of institutions where one can train in this kind of work, and BA Theatre at Falmouth continues to be a pioneering space for young artists.

Martin O'Brien Green

Martin O’Brien – live art performer and Dartington/Falmouth graduate turned tutor

It is therefore unsurprising that when, on 6 November 2014 – in the same week that education secretary Nicky Morgan asserted that ‘arts subjects limit career choices’ – Falmouth University informed students and staff that they had suspended recruitment to this innovative and experimental course, the decision was met with shock, anger and extreme concern by students, staff, alumni and the wider arts community.

This is not an isolated case; rather it is symptomatic of a worrying trend across arts education. Whilst the demand for experimental theatre and live art increases, the courses that teach it are being cut. University of Brighton’s Visual Performance BA has recently gone, and in Glasgow the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Contemporary Performance Practice course – a close cousin of Falmouth’s BA Theatre – is routinely under threat. The ground is shaky.

Degrees where students make art by trial and error, allowing for fabulous mistakes in a supportive environment, should not be considered a radical approach – because art is made by trial and error and fabulous mistakes. Most of us have to make bad art, and art that we’re not happy with, and difficult art, before we make anything that anyone might want to pay to see. But the courses that offer this kind of training appear to be diminishing at an alarming rate.

Wrights & Sites. Photo Jamie Woodley

Wrights & Sites. Photo Jamie Woodley

It seems that many current undergraduate students of contemporary theatre in the UK will not graduate with a performance that they own; instead they will perform in a tutor-directed production. Perhaps it is because universities, with increasing pressures to deliver tangible, obvious ‘results’ for their £9k a year fees, yearn for something that is uniformly impressive and coherent, rather than the messy, hit-and-miss collection of shows that my peers and I graduated with. But, whilst this may make the institution look good, what does it do for the students? Performing in a big show may be a great experience, but I doubt it gives many further clues as to what that ominous phrase your practice might mean.

Developing a practice is not an easy thing to get one’s head around, but it is key to the importance of this course. The Practice in Context (formerly the CEP) third year module, where final year students leave the campus for the autumn term to pursue a proposed project of their own is groundbreaking in that it gives students a valuable opportunity run at (and often screw up) a big project before the worries of paying rent-and-bills come into the equation. I attempted to tackle the whole concept of Scottish Nationalism in ten weeks from a cold flat in Glasgow whilst peers built a cabaret performance collective in Istanbul; staged new-town interventions in Hemel Hempstead; and traced their Grandmother’s journey from Romania to England, backwards. I wonder how many graduates from my course and those similar to it have kept making work because that first project post-graduation didn’t come as quite so much of a shock.


Clerke and Joy: Volcano

I formed my company, Clerke and Joy, whilst a student at Falmouth. We’re small and we’re young and we’ve still got a lot to learn. We still begin each rehearsal process with a feeling of ‘I don’t know how to do this’ (does this ever go away?), and every new opportunity, new piece of work, new piece of writing, feels like a massive step. We’ve also almost fallen apart more times than I can count. But we are kept going by the foundations of training that we learnt on this degree. By the tutors that we can still get in touch with to ask for help. By the artists – from Dartington, Falmouth and elsewhere – who form our community in Bristol. For young companies to survive and continue to produce work we need this community, and the courses that create it. There is very little gain in exclusivity: contrary to what some might believe, we do not make ‘weird’ theatre to be ‘different’. We make it because it is the work that we think needs to be made to respond to the world we live in. It is the work that speaks for, and to us, and we want it to exist within a thriving eco-system.

When we perform at festivals, the most common response we get to telling people where we studied is ‘not another Dartington/Falmouth graduate!’ often quickly followed by ‘I wish I’d done that course’. Whilst other degrees have come and gone, this one has been a constant incubator, and a safe space, for experimental performance, and its impact is clear.

jo_hellier 96 Years

Jo Hellier: 96 Years at SPILL National Showcase

A quick glance at the line-up of any British Live Art festival will demonstrate the sheer quantity of BA Theatre graduates who are currently making high quality work in the UK. To name just three: Martin O’Brien (whose dissertation I read four times whilst writing my own) makes work that is programmed in festivals across the country, and is regularly featured in Live Art Development Agency publications; Ira Brand makes performances that tour internationally and is a core member of Forest Fringe; and 2009 graduate Jo Hellier’s performance installation 97 Years was recently shown as part of SPILL’s National Showcase. Additionally, Falmouth’s high number of international and Erasmus exchange students ensure that this influence is worldwide. This is not because there are loads of people who study on this course; my year had twenty graduates. It is because these are graduates who are not afraid to make. These are people who have come out of university with 6–10 pieces of work under their belts, and the corresponding ups and downs and creative frustrations that go with that.


Ira Brand and Andy Field: Put Your Sweet Hand in Mine at Forest Fringe. Photo Ludovic des Cognets

I am not particularly interested in talking about the ‘Dartington Legacy’. I want to be able to celebrate that place and continue what it did, but also appreciate its new location and changes. Dartington offered a space that embraced new ways of thinking in a rural location – it paved the way for a culture of making that has had an immeasurable influence on the way we think about contemporary performance, art and music practices across Europe. That space was very special, and the legacy of the Elmhirsts lives on; there is no doubt about that. I feel very lucky to have been one of the last people to study there. But to suggest that the Dartington courses were simply unsustainable within a larger institution is missing the point, and ignores all that Falmouth has going for it. Simply, I refuse to believe in Falmouth’s inferior ability to deliver BA Theatre.

The move to Falmouth, although difficult, had the ability to give this course greater authority, legitimising it as a ‘real degree’ and allowing further opportunity for academic learning alongside vocational practice. Falmouth is a respected art school with a history – much like Dartington – of pushing boundaries and embracing forward-thinking, radical arts practices across its many courses. The studios in Falmouth’s Performance Centre, built to house the students who migrated from Dartington and their successors, are high-tech, light and a pleasure to make work in. The teaching staff – all practicing artists with a wealth of experience – are second-to-none and include artists from Exeter-based Wrights and Sites, solo makers Katie Etheridge and Misri Dey, Lone Twin’s Gary Winters, and ‘walking’ practitioner Misha Myers. The course also continues to welcome an incredible array of guest lecturers and visiting companies. During my degree I had the opportunity to watch, learn from and work with artists such as Gob Squad, Mike Pearson, Tim Etchells, Cuppola Bobber, and Zierle and Carter. This tradition of bringing in exciting outside practitioners has continued in Falmouth. In short, we need to be sure that we are looking forwards, not back.

Katie Etheridge Porous City

Katie Etheridge: Porous City

The university has stated that it will continue to run, and expand, its one year-old BA Acting course. Whilst this sounds, for an acting course, radical in its own right, I fear hugely for what it means to move away from a culture of making. An acting degree will never be able to implant the independence and DIY attitude of the Theatre course. Besides this, there is the semantic problem: very few of my peers would have applied for BA Acting, no matter how alternative it claimed to be.

We need a degree for re-thinking theatre. A space for young people who want to make, backed up by lectures that address the urgency of responding to the world we live in and demonstrated by people who are doing it. We need a space to create so that when we emerge into a harsh and unstable world we have the know-how, confidence and desire to keep making.

BA Theatre offers an urgent, daring and innovative degree with a rich history and has a huge impact on the performance eco-system in the UK and across the world. It deserves to have the space at Falmouth to continue and grow.

Falmouth University’s website states that it is ‘a specialist creative multi-arts institution for rethinking convention and outthinking challenges’. I honestly can’t think of a course that more fully echoes these assertions.

Anyone wishing to sign the petition to save BA Theatre at Falmouth can do so here

Featured image (top of the page): Clerke and Joy with early work, an act called The Gogglettes set in Dartington’s disused swimming pool. Photo by Paul Samuel White.

For more about Clerke and Joy, see the website.

Clerke and Joy 2 lo res

Clerke and Joy: Volcano. Photo by Martin Aryoglo


Laura Dannequin: Hardy Animal

Laura Dannequin - Hardy AnimalHardy Animal is a new performance by Bristol-based dance artist Laura Dannequin. Described as ‘A tender solo that looks at chronic pain and human resilience,’ Dannequin takes us on a journey through her experiences of chronic back pain and its effects on her life as a dancer.

We begin in the dark as Laura tells us about the show she wanted to make, the dances she wanted to perform for us tonight. She speaks into a microphone and though we can’t see her, we know she is there, occupying the stage. Letting us picture all the dances, all the possibilities. We begin with an understanding that we will not see these dances tonight; we feel loss before we’ve even got going.

It’s a challenging way to start, especially once we see Laura stand, centre stage. This is a piece where the performer is going to do all the work – there is no set, no projection. A dancer, still, with all the potential energy and the learned ability honed over years; but she’s not going to do the sadly beautiful dance, or the beautifully sad dance. She’s going to stand here. She’s going to talk to us.

The text is considered and often witty, the choices bold. She is exposed. She is staring us down, standing her ground. There is a feeling of taking control throughout the piece – of a decision to own one’s limitations.

A long list of attempts – of possible cures, of promises from doctors, chiropractors, masseuses, of self-help books and failed tactics – dominates the show, and at points I struggle with this. While I understand the necessity of communicating the scale and determination to solve this, my mind wanders during this list and I am relieved when we arrive at other material. Dannequin’s performance is strong enough that I understand the frustration and rage of her condition without needing this proof.

She asks us to try to understand chronic pain as its own problem, separate from pain that occurs from injury. The psychological connections between what we do with our body, and the chemical release of pain. We learn about an experiment where the fingers of a group of violinists and a group of people who don’t rely on their hands so much are pricked with a pin; of the violinists feeling much more pain, of the pain lasting for longer. As someone who also relies on their body to make performance it’s difficult and it’s confusing. It gets me in the gut.

Dannequin’s small choreographies throughout are mesmerising and communicate to us with the smallest of movements. The flexing of her bare back: the seat of her pain, strikes me particularly, likewise a hand gesture that slowly takes control of her arm, eventually attacking her face. There is something powerful about her control in the face of this pain – her skill as a dancer vs the disablement of her tool.

The piece closes with an extraordinary dance. A trained body, measured and powerful, but struggling. The movement feels like all of the dances proposed at the beginning and yet it is none of them. It is a specific dance, a fitting dance, a dance of loss and a dance of ownership.

It would have been easy not to dance, it would have been an obvious decision: to make a piece exploring the loss of this, and to lose it, within the show. But this isn’t just about loss – it’s about wanting to carry on and trying to find a way to win. We have to consider what it means to give over control, and to take it back.


Forthcoming performances of Hardy Animal:
29 July at The Place, London
13–17 August at Forest Fringe: Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Edinburgh

Action Hero - Slap Talk

Action Hero: Slap Talk

Action Hero - Slap TalkSlap Talk is a six-hour sparring match: a constantly changing stream of aggression and one-upmanship, quiet digs and impressive bravado. At its centre is a game; a challenge to follow the rules, to keep going, to throw these words back and forth without break, without breaking.

Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse, the two artists who make up Bristol-based live art duo Action Hero, stand and sit opposite each other, divided by the cameras that show their faces on two cube-like screens at the front, and the autocue, which delivers their script. It’s a thoughtfully constructed set up.  I try to follow the text: autocue to Action Hero, Action Hero to camera, camera to screen, screen to audience.  The idea of the audience as ‘collaborators’ is central to the company’s ethos and here, though they throw their insults at one another, we experience how it feels to receive them directed at us, albeit one step removed by the archaic screens.

Starting with fight preamble which feels like there might actually be a fight, Slap Talk moves through its arenas of play with the audience barely noticing its shifts. One moment I am expecting a boxing match only to realise that I am now witnessing a declaration of war. A lovers’ argument. A shopping channel. And I think for the first time about how similar these are. About the obvious or underlying aggression of these words and our use of them in daily life.

Sometimes they are explicit: ‘I’m gonna fuck you up,’ ‘I’m gonna set you on fire,’ ‘I’m gonna kill you and feed you to dogs.’ Sometimes they are subtler: a patronising appraisal of someone’s lack of material wealth was the one that hit me hardest, ‘You’re lucky, really, having nothing. I’d swap places with you in a flash, if I could. You know, metaphorically.’ I haven’t been in a fight since primary school but this one-upmanship I understand, I’ve seen, I’ve had directed at me and I wanted to stop them and say, ‘You can’t say that – it’s too close to home.’  There is something here for everyone to identify with.

We hear language that only comes out in anger – that stupid, useless language of trying to find words – and it feels comical yet real. We hear the tender rough language of lovers; I remember ‘I’m gonna break your heart’ thrown into the melee of other physical things we can break in other people, and I soften for a moment before the diatribe continues. Action Hero never let us wallow in one thing for too long, never satisfy our want to hold onto these moments.

The fact that Slap Talk keeps going, keeps rolling, is what makes the piece remarkable. It peaks and troughs, brutal and subtle. It morphs, changing drastically yet never climaxing, never looking different. It invites us to watch this sparring side by side, to consider each as the same thing.

The writing is great and sharp and is peppered with one-liners that I try furiously to retain. I have scrawled on the back of my ticket ‘This is horsepower and it’s cantering.’ My programme is marked with ‘four in one bluetooth bird hotel’ – the shopping channel advert that tipped me over the edge into hopeless giggling.

It’s poetic and playful and tough and unsentimental, this game we’re party to, and I can’t leave. I have to pull myself away to do the other things I’d planned within these six hours. I miss an appointment; I watch almost half of the show throughout the afternoon. This doesn’t feel durational, or at least, not for the sake of it. It’s structured and considered: perhaps it is just a show that is six hours long. In contrast to many one hour shows I’ve seen, I’d be reluctant to give back any of those I spent in the Arnolfini auditorium watching Slap Talk.

Kaleider: The Money

Kaleider - The MoneyThe concept of The Money is simple. Very, very simple. Absurdly, gloriously, deliciously, terrifyingly simple. Some of the things it did to my head were more complicated.

This is how it works: a representative from Exeter-based Kaleider – a company who ‘produce and promote live experiences’ – places The Money on the table. The Money comes from the ten benefactors, who sit around the table, and from benefactors at previous shows. They have two hours to decide what to spend it on, watched by twenty-odd Silent Witnesses, who can only observe, unless they pay in £10 to join the conversation. If a consensus can be reached by the end of the two hours, the money can be spent. No agreement? It rolls over to the next show.

There is £783 on the table – a triple rollover. It’s more cash than I’ve ever seen.

The conversation begins. One woman, full of earnest nods, wants the money to be spent on benefitting one person: a deprived child, perhaps. Someone else suggests putting the money back into Mayfest, commissioning a new public art piece from a young artist, and this idea seems to have some mileage for a while. There is the do-gooder, the make people smile-r; let’s put money in envelopes with cute messages and put them through people’s doors. There’s the obvious ‘give it to charity’ camp, but which one? And there is the occasional voice from the corner that suggests spending it all on pizza, which we all giggle at, and dismiss it as a joke, though even early on this break from altruism is a relief.

One hour in and I’m squirming in my silent witness seat; hand firmly shoved in mouth in an attempt to keep quiet. I leave the room and walk around M-Shed for ten minutes because I just can’t take it. I return. It’s painfully circular and I’m not good at not being involved in a conversation. I feel myself age. I am cripplingly frustrated and mind-numbingly bored. I hate everyone. I hate everything. I wonder why no one has suggested burning the money yet. I wonder if they will accept me as a human sacrifice to go with it if they do.

I feel guilty for being bored of altruism. I feel guilty for having no particular desire to commission a public artwork that will ‘make people smile’. But I am at a piece of theatre and I want to be engaged, entertained. And then, slowly, it dawns on me. Kaleider aren’t going to do anything just because it’s boring. They provide the concept, the ceremony – bells and gongs and the rulebook. They will oversee, but that’s it. We have to make the show. This is the deal. If I’m bored, I can change it. It will only cost me a tenner to stop being bored, and I will be able take my hand out of my mouth, which seems like a good idea by this point as I am starting to drool. I am reaching for my purse. Pulling out a note. And walking forward to ring the bell that makes me a benefactor. £793 cash, and a chance to change things.

I suggest we do something flippant. Daft. Fun. When does anyone ever put you in charge of £800 and tell you you don’t have to be noble? Surely this is what is exciting about this set-up: that we don’t care about the money. Really. Really, I’ll have forgotten about my tiny stake by tomorrow, and be remembering the experience instead, hopefully. I join in because I want to remember the experience.

Somehow – I’m not quite sure exactly how – I manage to talk the group around. I’m sure fatigue had something to do with it, or relief at a change of track, or the fact that (not very) deep down we’re all a bit selfish, and a bit skint, and at twenty minutes before the deadline we are all writing our names on small bits of paper ripped out of the back of a notebook and putting them into a hat. Whoever’s name is drawn out will get The Money. All of it. No strings attached.

It’s thrilling, and feels BAD and GOOD at the same time. And I am having so much fun. Fuck you charity! Fuck you art! Let’s spend it all down the pub! Let’s throw it in the harbour! Anything could happen. It’s a fantastic rush. What’s happened to me?

The Bristol rumour mill works fast, and inaccurately. By midday the next day I have received three texts from people who had heard that I was now £800 richer. I would like to take this opportunity to let you all know that I am not. That my name wasn’t pulled out of the hat, that someone else’s was and what she will do with the money – I don’t know. I also don’t care. I think she might do something nice; she was very nice. She also didn’t want it. She seemed bothered to be leaving with it, worried about the responsibility that comes with that. But if the money is strings-free – if we give and take and barter flippantly – does a responsibility still exist?

The Money takes a big risk. It is perhaps the best and worst thing I have been to at Mayfest. By Kaleider refusing to intervene, there is a huge risk that it will not work. That it will be boring. They leave us to think, to be corrupted and negotiate that, to make the decision. It’s very brave, but even if there are interesting debates, two hours risks being too long for a silent witness to be out with that conversation. I was not, when bored, curious enough to stay to see what the money would be spent on. The fact that I don’t, as an audience member, care that much about the money is both what makes the show exciting, and is its potential weakness.

Eventually, I couldn’t help myself. I wonder how much this piece relies on provocateurs: I don’t often put myself forward as one in participatory shows. I wonder if it sometimes totally doesn’t work, or if it’s a fool-proof formula. I’d certainly be intrigued to go again.

This is a clever, thought provoking experience unlike any I’ve witnessed before. Money is corrupting and to use it flippantly is thrilling and unusual. The Money forces us to face up to ourselves in a very real way, in a very public way. I left with the knowledge that I’d been an instrumental part of ensuring that, probably, an artist didn’t get a commission / a child wasn’t bought an instrument / no one received money through their letter box. That feels like far more responsibility than winning £800 would have done.