Every working day millions of us get up still half asleep, look in the bathroom mirror and start the daily task of putting on a public face: we try to work out what on earth we are doing – with our lives, with the lives of others, our lovers, children, friends, or just the must-dos of the day ahead. As we commute to work, this daily day-to-day construction of self continues through a strange overlaying of both public and private spaces: what happens on the streetwith what happens in our heads. Only when we get to the workplace are we finally ready to play “ourselves”.
Our original aim had been to take our method of investigating the everyday out onto the streets, to join and mingle amongst commuters as they went to work. Collaborating again with Spell#7, we took on the role of ex-pat worker, as Spell#7 played the local going back home. We moved that ex-pat back to the UK to Nottingham and Bristol, to disappear into the commuting crowds, and then suddenly through song and dance to appear amongst them as performer. With each new edition, as we made the work, people would come up to us on the streets and share stories of their towns: these approaches changed the direction of the project. Over seven years and seven editions, it morphed from being about the experience of commuting to explore place and identity through these memories of local inhabitants, from the global city of Singapore to the British seaside of Skegness, from the miners’ strike of 1984/5 to recollections of circus animals on the streets of Bristol.
DREAM ➝ WALK SKEGNESS
Off to Skeggy! Freed from the daily grind for a day, a week or a fortnight in caravan or B&B! Fun in the sun, sea and sand!
Commissioned by Dance4 as part of Big Dance 2012, Bodies in Flight make a welcome return to SO. Their seaside walk celebrates the Great British Seaside Holiday. Accessible for any age group, the walk will take you from the station, along the Grand Parade, to the sea, exploring through a sensory mix of soundscape, movement and performance the funny, intimate and sometimes profound experiences we all have when we holiday by the seaside.
The walk lasts 35 minutes. You will be provided with a headset to experience the specially composed soundscape and guided by the performers along this dream walk.
This is an outdoor walking commission, please dress accordingly.
In each place, the work was made anew, inhabitants were interviewed, about their memories of place to their hopes for the future. We began to work in closer partnerships with festivals and funders – who variously wanted to draw attention to the architectural history of a town, the 30-year commemoration of the miners’ strike, the life of West St in Bedminster (Bristol). We interviewed the young and the very old, from a diverse mix of communities: these interviewees became our collaborators.
TIM ATACK musician, POLLY FRAME performer, SARA GIDDENS choreography/co-direction, SAM HALMARACK music/soundscore, NEIL JOHNSON music/soundscore, SIMON JONES original text/co-direction, GRAEME ROSE performer, TOM WAINWRIGHT performer
With: TONY JUDGE video documentation, DUNCAN SPEAKMAN audio consultant
DREAM ➝ WALK WIRKSWORTH
One Sunday afternoon two walkers arrive in town in search of a rest and a well earned pint. They soon realize something is up: things look different – cars, shop-fronts, people’s clothes. Neil and Tom set out to walk the High Peak Trail on the 19th September 1973 and now find they may have taken a wrong turning off the old railway track. So, begins a time-travelling performance-walk that takes you through the streets of Wirksworth. Following the performers and listening to a specially written text and soundscore through earpieces, the audience explored the many layers of history under their feet and etched in the buildings around them.
Bodies in Flight have performed their audio-walk in Nottingham, Bristol and Singapore to great acclaim, and now bring to Wirksworth their unique focus – inviting us to see the everyday afresh:
The entire city was a stage and unexpected beauty lurked in its malls, shophouses and graffiti. (Straits Times, Singapore)
I don’t think I will ever walk through the city in the same way again. (Nott Dance blog, Nottingham)
DREAM ➝ WALK BEDMINSTER, WEST STREET
This free-to-download 30-minute audio-guide takes you on a journey through time along West St, from its thriving past to dreams of its future, weaving together the voices of old and young residents with an original soundtrack, that conjures up the busy commercial artery that was West St, before stepping on into the future to the hopes and dreams of the younger residents of West St.
Start: corner of West St and Palmyra Rd.
When you arrive at the start, press play on your player and follow the narrator’s instructions.
Duration: 30 minutes. Distance: 0.5 mile. Commissioned by Know Your Bristol On The Move.
Made by Bodies in Flight: Sara Giddens (direction), Neil Johnson (sound artist & music), Simon Jones (direction & narration).Narrator: Tom Wainwright.
Thanks to Stef Brammar and Alan May of West St Stories and the residents of Bedminster who shared their memories.Thanks to the students of Luckwell Primary School who shared their ambitions and reflections.