You Can Take Me Home Toni: exploring memory, meaning and metaphor through costume performance

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


You Can Take Me Home Toni (funded by Arts Council England and Dance City) is an autobiographical performance project led by personal stories that explore performance maker Smith'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 project involves unique wearable art costumes/set designed by Dutch designer Daphne Karstens. This flash talk will discuss the impact Karstens’ designs have had on the dramaturgical development of the work, including as sound score in the opening section. In particular, the use of costume to explore memories, both personal and cultural, to discover hidden meanings and metaphors will be discussed. The evolving relationship between spoken text, costume, and movement, as well as the role of costume to communicate and confront audiences with challenging themes (sexual assault, shame, identity, feminism, etc.), will also be examined.

Finally, the talk will reflect on the collaborative relationship between maker-performer and designer, and how connections were maintained and challenged due to COVID and international travel restrictions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2022
EventCritical Costume 2022: Connections - Online
Duration: 17 Nov 202220 Nov 2022


ConferenceCritical Costume 2022: Connections
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Critical Costume 2022 ( 17th - 20th November 2022) was an online conference and exhibition under the theme “Connections”. It was a partnership between Australia (Queensland University of Technology + National Institute Dramatic Arts), Finland (Aalto University) and Brazil (Grafias da Cena Brasil Association).

Critical Costume 2022 Convenors: Dr Rosane Muniz (Grafias da Cena Brasil), Dr Suzanne Osmond (National Institute Dramatic Art), Professor Sofia Pantouvaki (Aalto University), Dr Madeline Taylor (Queensland University of Technology)

Critical Costume is an international platform to promote research and practice on the interdisciplinary study of costume. The principal activity of Critical Costume is a biennial conference and exhibition, with the provision for smaller events where appropriate. The purpose of the organization is to support practitioners and researchers to debate the status of costume within contemporary and historical cultures.

Critical Costume (CC) was launched in 2013 by Dr. Rachel Hann and Sidsel Bech by convening CC2013 at Edge Hill University. CC was expanded internationally during the same year, after collaboration with Prof. Sofia Pantouvaki, who later hosted CC2015 at Aalto University. All three are recognized as Founding Convenors of Critical Costume.


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