From the seminal What's in the Box? performances by proto-feminist magic act Debee McGee and Carolee Schneeman, (at the now infamous Double Action Windmill Theatre Revue), to the unique comedy stylings of Perrier Best Newcomer award winner Rudolf Schwarzkogler, the exhibition seeks to trace the complex web of connections between the two fields. Highlights include a live performance of early Les Dawson experimental piano works, (performed live on the opening night), transposed by composer Paul Clark from rare BBC archive footage of Theater Piece No 1, shown alongside the outre panto Dame Trott costume for the 1982 Christmas production of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Manchester Hippodrome, that was to propel Dawson from a life on the Working Men's Club circuit to international fame as a performance artist, model, fashion designer and promoter of wild polysexual disco club night 'Taboo'.
This is a unique presentation of previously unseen ephemera, artefacts and documentation relating to some of the most significant performance work of the last 50 years, framed by anecdotes and reminiscences from leading lights working within this vibrant field.
'... A celebration of transience, a paean to you-had-to-be-there, a deep and exhilarating bow to we-have-only-now'. Professor Emeritus Yaffle Chucklebutty, noted Operatic Tenor and Sausage Knotter
'Funny as fuck'. Peggy Phelan
At the preview a live performance of early Les Dawson experimental piano works was transcribed & performed by composer Paul Clark from rare BBC archive footage of Theater Piece No.1 and America on Wheels, followed by a performance of Clark's Dawsontronics composition.
Pianist: Paul Higgs
Paul Clark is the co-founder and artistic director of the Clod Ensemble. He has written original scores for all the company's productions to date. He is also a member of the Uninvited Guests theatre group. Elsewhere he has written chamber operas including The Weather Man (Opera North 2004/5), liebeslied/mysuicides (ICA/Genesis Foundation 2004), Clock Opera (WNO 2003), and has composed new scores for Beckett's Cascando and Words and Music (RTE Dublin 2006). He has composed many concert works, notable his three Guitar Trios, which have been performed several times across the country by the London Guitar Trio. He has written dozens of scores for theatre, from the fringe to the National Theatre, for directors including Katie Mitchell, David Farr, Jonathon Holloway and Uzma Hameed. He has also written for film and TV, for directors including Arnaud Desplechin and Emily Young. He worked with a huge range of other artists including Apples and Snakes Poets, DJ Dangermouse and the Fall. Awards include an Arts Foundation fellowship in 1999.
Paul Higgs has worked extensively as a musical director for the Royal National Theatre on productions including Blue Remembered Hills, Death of a Salesman, Closer, Chips with Everything, Betrayal, King Lear, March on Russia, Stages, Sweet Bird of Youth, Arcadia and The Blue Ball and as composer Look Back in Anger. He has also played for Sir Peter Maxwell Davis, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Lulu, Tony Hatch, John Williams, Vic Damone, Nancy Wilson, Brook Benton, Jackie Trent, Al Martino, Johnny Dankworth and Shorty Rodgers. He has worked as a composer, arranger and session musician on numerous film and television projects.