Elizabeth and The Three Sisters

Lorraine Smith, Annie O’Donnell, Peter Heselton

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


    EATTS is a research project delivered through practice that questions conventional choreographic approaches by exploring costume as starting point. This research led to the creation of a site-specific live performance that combined movement, sound and wearable sculpture made from unconventional man-made materials. Project collaborators include sculptor Annie O’Donnell and sound artist Peter Heselton, with documentation by Bethany Brownless and David Griffiths.

    In this project Smith uses her expertise of creating costume performance in collaboration with students on the MA Costume Design for Performance (London College of Fashion) to interrogate costume performance from the perspective of the performer/choreographer. Smith practically builds on Barbieri’s innovative pedagogical methods of a costume-based approach to methods of devising performance (2012), and the LEM approach of a rehearsal-room-based process of ‘openness, curiosity, intuition and learning by doing, undoing and redoing’ (Barbieri 2007: 6). Using material / wearable sculpture as starting point, instead of imagery, character, narrative, etc., Smith re-experiences her (performing) body and engages in the process of viewing costume as an additional partner offering sensations that can be listened and responded to (Gravestock 2013), leading to enrichment of movement vocabulary and transformation into a haptic performer (Trimingham and Barbieri 2016; Monks 2010).

    This research through practice evidences the concept of ‘costume as choreographer’ (Mann and Summerlin 2016) and assimilates costume as a dynamic sculptural and expressive form that can stimulate and be integrated with the moving body in performance (informing Smith’s ongoing costume research). The project also advocates costume as an important choreographic and somatic tool in dance performance.

    The performance output EATTS was commissioned by Stellar Projects and premiered in Middlesbrough as part of Nightfall (14/10/16), reaching marginalised local audiences. The project also included Teesside University student trainee positions in which the trainees developed new skills through cross disciplinary mentoring from the lead artists.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2016

    Bibliographical note

    Originally commissioned by Stellar Projects, EATTS was performed in and around the Middlesbrough’s Centre Square fountain during the family event Nightfall (Best Event Teesside 2016 category finalist for the Journal Culture Awards 2017), as part of the Discover Middlesbrough festival celebrating the town’s history, heritage, art and culture. The event represents the thriving contemporary arts of the Tees Valley, an area often under-represented in the wider art scene.

    Nightfall estimated audience reached: 3500

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