Tetrad’s Us and Them#4

Sunday 22nd November 2015

Us and Them

Us and Them is a series of shows that take place at the Attenborough centre, produced by the Tetrad Company.

Tonight’s show was Us and Them #4.

tetrad image

As the invitation notice stated: ‘Us and Them brings together people who are excited and inspired by innovative, bold and thought-provoking experiences of performance. Watch performances by Tetrad collective members, alongside developing work from guest artists within the fields of comedy, dance, theatre, live art and multimedia performance. This event will engage people in dialogue about contemporary performance, providing opportunities to network and foster prospective performance makers.’

Performance Line-Up:

Robert Hardaker, ‘CHANT (cleanse)’
Sam Metz, ‘Got something to say – but no joy’
Katherine Hall, ‘Buoy Up’
Sophie Swoffer, ‘Take the Shot’

Tetrad is a collective of De Montfort University MA Performance Graduates who are dedicated to building upon the network of young performance makers in Leicester by offering performance and professional development opportunities. Founded in 2014, Tetrad has brought together local artists, thinkers and citizens. In partnership with Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester Tetrad have designed Us and Them, a platform of new performance work by local young artists which creates a great opportunity to experience the exciting innovative performance work by the next generation of East Midlands based artists.

Tonight’s performances

Robert Hardaker is a contemporary performance maker and live artist, based in Leicester, England. Hardaker’s practice aims to recollect a supposed co-existing consciousness and memory aided by the curation of a space and the highlighting of the senses. Through bodily action he forms his own likeness, memories and emotions around himself; the audience is a malleable entity who can choose to become part of this dialogue. They are not forced into experiencing a set of emotions, yet are guided by the artist into singular, fleeting moments of involvement. The body becomes a vessel for intimacy and reaction, works are impossible but necessary tasks, full of supposed contradictions.

Hardaker graduated from De Montfort University in 2012 with a first class Ba (Hons) degree in Fine art. In the same year he was awarded the Embrace Arts Award for dedication to arts practice and worked with Leeds art gallery to produce work for Grassington Festival Art Trail in response to Richard Hamilton’s Kent State – this work is now part of Leeds Art Gallery’s permanent collection and lending library. In 2013 he performed as part of Roger Horns’ “Youth” at the Hepworth Gallery (Wakefield). Hardaker co-ran the Attic Arts Collective and Studios (Leicester) curating various exhibitions and organising the art at Handmade festival 2013-2014. Since 2012 he has been a studio holder at Two Queens (Leicester).

Hardaker’s performance took place in one of the upstairs studios. I dropped in during the interval. The artist was completely naked and squatted on a mound of material in the middle of the room; the mound resembled the nest of a bird; his wordless activity involved tending the nesting material, digging a hole in the middle of it into he vomited. The impact of the performance was to evoke something that felt primeval, was enigmatic and at times disturbing. In the later Q&A session we learned that this was a shortened version of a long piece. Someone said it was about vulnerability and power. As he said “I put myself in this situation.”

(Cleanse) is a coming of age, it is the ridding of youth, It is a love letter to the past and an embrace of the future. Performed as a nocturne, it happens in the background, It is messy and uninvited. The performer forms his likeness around himself, before washing; the audience is a malleable entity, the programme notes explained.

Sophie Swoffer, ‘Take the Shot’

In Sophie Swoffer’s performance, Take the Shot, the audience stood in a marked square in the middle of the hall. Around them, she performed her haunting journey along the rain-stained pavements of film noir, against a backcloth of rain sound effects. Video cameras and screen and projects stood at various positions around the room, displaying Sophie’s image and performance when she in the vicinity of the camera. Scenes in her performance conjured up images we would associate with film noir, evoking feelings of danger and grotesqueness whilst playing the role of a femme fatale.

Katherine Hall, ‘Buoy Up’

Katherine Hall’s, ‘Buoy Up’, saw her enter the stage carrying the kind of buoy that small boats would tie up to. Part dance, part mime, the performance she created images through her movements against a sound background of water splashing.

The cast put on a game show in which they placed a variety of objects in the performance area and asked members of the audience what each of the actors should do with specific items. Whilst the actor was out of the room, suggestions were decided and the audience could encourage or discourage only by applauding, as the actor got ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ when near to or handling an object. It was amusing and entertaining.

Sam Metz,Got something to say – but no joy‘ Used the irregular and awkward shapes created by the elongated limbs of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, as a trigger to give a sense of celebrity, disenchantment, ritual, gender and conformity.

After the performance the artists gathered in the main hall for a question and answer session. The gave the audience a chance to explore aspects of the various performances and ask question about what inspired them. Because several of the acts involved interaction with members of the audience, the question was posed ‘what is the role of the audience?’ In the cafe area outside a board invited people to comment on another question: ‘Are we here to perform or entertain.’

That question reminded of what I had written in my forthcoming novel The Trench, a story about a live music venue and the bands that play there. I wrote:

Jennifer, said: “Making music… is a performance. You have to get up and entertain people who you have not met, in a room you have never been in before.”

“Yes. You have hit the nail right on the head”, David said. “It’s a performance. Music is about entertaining people. It’s not that different from acting in a play, or being part of a dance troupe. It’s all about the art of performance – whether you do it alone or as part of a group. People go to see bands, singers, dance groups because they want to listen to music and be entertained.”

Some of the students looked confused when they heard this. They could relate to the word ‘performance’ but ‘entertained’ – that was not a word they had associated with music before. One young man put his hand in the air and said: “Why is music about entertainment? Surely music offers much more than that? There is much more to music than just being entertained!”

The next Tetrad Us and Them show is scheduled for 13th March.

see also:

Our article about the Us and Them that took place on 3rd May 2015

Visit the Tetrad website.

Leicester Pride 2015

Saturday 5th September 2015

It is with great pride

This page forms part of our archives

that hundreds of people took to the streets today to celebrate Leicester’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. And what a marvellous event it was.

Leicester Pride parade 2015
Leicester Pride parade 2015

The parade started at Orton Square and made its way to Victoria Park.

The rainbow flag, Leicester Pride 2015.
The rainbow flag, Leicester Pride 2015.

As with all Pride parades there was the huge rainbow flag, the international symbol of gay pride, carried by a team of people, happy to show the world what being out and proud is all about.

Festival goers at Pride 2015. Photo: Trevor Sewell.
Festival goers at Pride 2015.
Photo: Trevor Sewell.

The crowd gathered at Victoria Park to enjoy a day of live music from the main stage and from the DJ tent for a show that lasted from 12 noon to 8pm.

The DJ Tent, Leicester Pride 2015.
The DJ Tent, Leicester Pride 2015.

On the main stage Councillor Rory Palmer, the deputy Mayor of Leicester, welcomed everyone on behalf of the city’s authorities.

Leicester Pride 2015. Photo: Trevor Sewell.
Leicester Pride 2015.
Photo: Trevor Sewell.

The stage brought a host of singers and dancers and entertainers.

Leicester Pride 2015. Photo: Trevor Sewell.
Leicester Pride 2015.
Photo: Trevor Sewell.

Artists from Leicester and around the UK came on stage to entertain the crowd.

Leicester Pride 2015. Photo: Trevor Sewell.
Leicester Pride 2015.
Photo: Trevor Sewell.

Two artists in particular were of international standing.  Sam Bailey, from Leicestershire and a winner of the TV series X Factor, was one of the star attractions of the day.

Leicester Pride 2015. Photo: Trevor Sewell.
Leicester Pride 2015.
Photo: Trevor Sewell.

Sam sang many of the songs for which she is known and remembered.

Leicester Pride 2015.
Leicester Pride 2015.

Another artist who is famous throughout the world is Lisa Lashes.

Leicester Pride 2015. Photo: Trevor Sewell.
Leicester Pride 2015.
Photo: Trevor Sewell.

During her appearance pyrotecnic artists put on some dazzling displays.

Leicester Pride 2015. Photo: Trevor Sewell.
Leicester Pride 2015.
Photo: Trevor Sewell.

The stage provided a whole day of entertainment free of charge for everybody who wanted to be there.

Leicester Pride 2015. Photo: Trevor Sewell.
Leicester Pride 2015.
Photo: Trevor Sewell.

The weather was kind giving festival-goers sunny periods and dry conditions throughout the day.

Artists on the programme included:

Lisa Lashes (DJ) , Robbie Lewis, (DJ), Gareth Hazard (DJ), Alex Dewinter (DJ), Bimbo Jones (DJ), Andy Smith (DJ), Rob Lambeth (DJ), Sparki Trowell (DJ). Stephen Bailey, Miss Marty, Miss Penny, Diva Fever, Brenda Edwards, Chris Shaulders, Lee Bennett, Lea Martin.

In an article about A History of Pride and Why We Need It, in the programme, is said

Influenced by the Stonewall Rebellion in the USA that started on 28th June 1969, The first UK Pride rally was hel in London in 1972 with 1,000 people marching from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park, only five years after relations between two males had been decriminalised. The people who marched in this rally would have been subject to barrage of abuse and misconceptions somewhat similar to that seen only last year at a Gay Pride festival in Russia.

Nothing like this happened in Leicester in 2015. It was a day that many will remember with happiness and joy.

See also:

Our report on Leicester Pride 2014

 

arts and disability

Tuesday 17th November 2015

The Attenborough Arts Centre

Art, Life, Activism

The exhibition runs from 18th November to 17th January 2016

Tony Heaton. Great Britain from a wheelchair. 1994. Photograph courtesy of Tony Heaton.
Tony Heaton. Great Britain from a wheelchair. 1994. Photograph courtesy of Tony Heaton.

A series of galleries exhibiting the art reflecting disability politics. Disability activism has seen a revival in recent years, caught up in controvertial issues such as the Bedroom Tax, Work Capability Assessments and the measures flowing from the Government’s insistence on austerity as an economic measure. All these have hit hard people struggling to cope with disadvantage. These policies came after the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 which was meant to give people equal treatment and access on a par with the rest of society.

Tony Heaton. Gold Lamé. 2014. Photograph by John Barraclough
Tony Heaton. Gold Lamé. 2014. Photograph by John Barraclough

Today’s launch brought together acclaimed artists whose work reflects and is inspired by the politics of disability; through sculpture, performance, film, drawing and photography. The day featured a visit by Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of the Arts Council of England and Michael Attenborough CBE, son of the late Richard Attenborough whose name is given to the centre.

Sir Peter Bazalgette in 2013, being interviewed by Trevor Locke (left) and Tim Parker of Radio Leicester. Photo © Kieran Pattni
Sir Peter Bazalgette in 2013, being interviewed by Trevor Locke (left) and Tim Parker of Radio Leicester.
Photo © Kieran Pattni

Sir Peter Bazalgette has been in Leicester before; he visited Leicester on 8th November 2013 to see some of the exciting projects of the city’s arts and culture scene. He told Arts in Leicester during his previous visit “I have had a really inspiring morning and early afternoon. I have been to Curve, Phoenix, a presentation from The Mighty Creatives, I am now here at Soft Touch, and what I have seen is a city gearing up for its City of Culture bid – for which I wish it the very best of luck. The results will be available very soon. It’s all about ambition and it’s all about what arts and culture can do for a city – in terms of its pride, it’s sense of place, it’s tourist offer, it’s institutions and it’s education.”

Bobby Baker. Day444. 1997 - 2008. Photograph by Daily Life Ltd
Bobby Baker. Day444. 1997 – 2008. Photograph by Daily Life Ltd

The exhibition brings together the work of many artists who have contributed to the politics of disability. There are many names but a few of them include Tony Heaton, Noëmi Lakmaier, Bobby Baker, Simon Raven, Aaron Williamson, Adam Reynolds, Liz Crow, Ann Whitehurst, David Heney and others.

Aaron Williamson. Gold Hearing Trumpet. 2010. Photograph by Joe Maxwell
Aaron Williamson. Gold Hearing Trumpet. 2010. Photograph by Joe Maxwell

The Attenborough Arts centre is looking forward to the official opening of its new £1.5 million gallery in January 2016. The new gallery has been constructed next door to the existing building.

Aaron Williamson. Decorated Skull. 2010. Photograph by Joe Maxwell
Aaron Williamson. Decorated Skull. 2010. Photograph by Joe Maxwell

Opened in 1997 by the Late Princess Diana as The Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts, the centre bears the name of its patron. Tony Heaton, artist, curator and Chief Executive of Shape Arts, said “Art, Life and Activism raises questions about the relationship between art and politics and invites us to consider the complex, social, economic and cultural forces characterising disability and its representation in mainstream culture.” Shape Arts is a disability-led arts organisation, established, 40 years ago, on the principle that all disabled people should have the opportunity to participate fully in arts and culture and work with the vision of creating an inspiring and inclusive arts sector.

Visit the Attenborough Arts Centre website

See also:

Our review of A Streetcar Named Desire

Our feature article on Arts Education in Leicester