You Can Take Me Home Toni

Lorraine Smith (Other), Daphne Karstens (Designer), Peter Heselton (Composer), Alyssa Lisle (Performer), David Griffiths (Photographer), Jennifer Essex (Other)

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


This project continues Lorraine’s research into costume performance (the impact of costume on live dance performance), audience interaction and autobiographical explorations into the themes of Identity and Feminism. This project has been commissioned by Dance City (Early-Stage Commission) and funded/supported by Arts Council England, Teesside University, Curious Arts, Middlesbrough Town Hall, Pineapple Black Gallery and London Drawing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Main collaborators include performer Alyssa Lyle, costume designer Daphne Karstens, sound/visual artist Peter Heselton, dramaturg Jennifer Essex (Fully Booked Theatre), dance producing company Moving Art Management, and mentors David Tufnell (Less is MORE) and Kate Craddock (GIFT Festival).

Performances/activities: Dance Edits - Dance City (16/10/2021), Live Art performances - Pineapple Black Gallery (19/11/2021), Open Pitch – Dance City (23/11/2021), Costumed Life Drawing - Pineapple Black Gallery (24/11/2021), Pro Artist workshop & talk - Dance City (11/02/2022), Costumed Life Drawing - Base Camp Boro (23/02/2022), We The Queers – ARC Stockton (04/03/2022)

Performance description:
YCTMHT is an autobiographical performance project led by personal stories that explore Lorraine's connection to 80s pop icon Toni Basil and her Word-of-Mouth video album. At the heart of the work is the concept of shame and how those we idolise can empower us to embrace our past transgressions and embarrassing moments, explore our identities and achieve self-acceptance.

The work fuses physical theatre, spoken word, live art, lip synching, and audience interaction, and each section (connected to Basil's music videos) has its own unique wearable art costumes/set. Audiences will be equally entertained and challenged by outrageously honest (at times taboo breaking) personal stories relating to vaginas, sexual assault, queer experiences, self-exploration, transformation, and acceptance.

This piece is fun, at times shocking and confronting, comedic and visually dynamic, and reflects the audience’s own bodies and experiences, visually and physically, in the performance through identification in a shared humanity. Overall, the piece is an impactful and visually dynamic performance that will entertain audiences and give them a unique live theatre experience.


“Brave, bold, uncompromising, daring, innovative, Avant Garde.” Angeline Lucas FRSA (Founder/Director of North East Dance Co-operative, Member of the Board of Trustees Queen's Hall Arts)

"Highly visual & personally powerful yet playful interactive performance.” Phil Douglas (Dance City - Director of Artistic Programmes & Artist Development)

"You Can Take Me Home Toni is a brilliant whirlwind of a performance. The audience is at first charmed by the raucous dance performance of ‘Hey Mickey’ by Toni Basil and the fabulous hand crafted costumes, only to be quickly pulled back to earth by an intimate monologue that discusses sexuality, femininity and personal trauma. The piece was a wonderful fit at our queer cabaret and alt-drag show 'We The Queers' due to its fantastic and unique blend of high energy dance and lip sync performance and thought provoking dramatic monologue." Andy Newcombe (Creative Producer, Bordello Collective)


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  • YCTMHT: You Can Take Me Home Toni

    Smith, L., Karstens, D., Heselton, P., Suarez, P., Bailey, E., Lisle, A., Griffiths, D., Deakins, R., Poremba, D. & Essex, J.


    Project: Other


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