in the middle of intimacy, darkness and light
BOOTH is part dance, part exhibition, part concert designed to interrupt public spaces.
Made and performed by dancers Hayley Matthews and Teresa Manjua, photographer Al Simmons, Composer Jack Hurst, musician Hej Jones and David and Steven from our creation community at Finchams Farm. Supported by theatre practitioner Martin Gent with parts choreographed by internationally renowned dance artist Adam Benjamin.
Made in the grit of reality on a rural Norfolk recovery unit where residents are in recovery from substance abuse and homelessness it asks -
WHAT IF WE ACCEPTED ALL OF OUR DARKNESS AND ALL OF OUR LIGHT?
BOOTH unveils our vulnerability, our violence, our bliss, our talents, our presence, our distraction, our delights, our struggles and peace in solitude and togetherness; our human community in reality and equality.
It is intimate, direct, beautiful and at times unnerving. It is loud, bright, and vulnerable, it has volume and impact. Booth is the marriage of powerful visual, movement and audio with intimate human experience. Through projected large scale landscape photography and film the visuals track you through a full day from dawn back to dawn, peppered by intimate expressions of personal and community shadows and light.
BOOTH is made with community in community.
Though BOOTH is powerful – at its heart it is made with upmost care and gentleness, through a series of clear workshop investigations led by it's collaborating artists at the rural recovery community and a collective creation period with artists and community members; it’s from this gentleness and care that the power comes and honestly bares our darkness and light to the world.
BOOTH will premiere in Spring/Summer 2019 at St Marks, Islington, March 23, London and at The Festival of Light, June 22/23, Lowestoft.
BOOTH Maker/Performer Bios
Al Simmons - Filmmaker and Photographer. Simmons shoots landscape, documentary and portraiture. Over the last few years, he has worked with Matthews on video projects for Ensemble’s Still in the City as well as Ensemble HOME exhibition at Dove Street Studios in Norwich, which captured people and spaces and how they overlap, and was presented using large scale photographic prints. Alongside this, Simmons works as an assistant for commercial photographers.
Hej Jones – Multi-instrumentalist. Jones is a composer, guitarist, bass player and percussionist. He has worked extensively in Rio de Janeiro, performed at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games and is currently Musical Director with Norwich Samba and freelance musician/Composer. Jones has worked on Ensemble shows Still in the City and Home Solo.
Jack Anthony Hurst - pianist and composer. Hurst studied music at Goldsmiths, jazz performance at Birmingham Conservatoire and an MA in Composition for Screen at the Royal College of Music. He works as a performer, composer and teacher, based in London and worked on Ensemble show Still in the City.
Martin Gent - Theater Practitioner, Visual Artist, Designer and Director. Gent also works in process based leadership facilitation and conflict resolution, and in consultation for big business in empowering people to work creatively, has co-lead a BA Honours in Spatial Arts and was founder of dA dA dumb collaborative performance company. Gent joins Ensemble for the first time with Booth, as Rehearsal Director.
Teresa Manjua – Contemporary Dancer. Manjua comes from Portugal to work with Ensemble for the second time. We recruit her for her passionate and real performance style, her ability to relate to audiences in communities and to bring her embodied philosophical outlook on dancing.
Hayley Matthews - Contemporary Dancer, Choreographer, and Artistic Director of Ensemble. Matthews has worked as a Dance Artist since 2009, committed to high quality relatable dance performance & embodied performance research. Trained independently in dance with mentorships with Adam Benjamin (Candoco) & Frances Nii Yatey (Ghana) & with Cando2, she continued to train in the UK & Europe with P.A.R.Ts, Russell Maliphant, Ben Duke, Charles Linehan, Kirstie Simpson. Matthews has worked with Dance Umbrella, Creative Partnerships, East London Dance, Sadlers Wells, English National Ballet. She moved to Norwich & founded Ensemble in 2015. She is trained as a Rolfer (structural integration therapist) with practices in Norwich & London. Her practices in dance and Rolfing inform one another
Adam Benjamin - Dance Artist, Adam Benjamin is a choreographer and improviser. A founder member of ‘Five Men Dancing’, he has performed and taught with Kirstie Simson, Rick Nodine, Kim Itoh, Jordi Cortés and Russell Maliphant. He was joint founder/artistic director of CandoCo Dance Company (with Celeste Dandeker) and has made work for community groups and professional companies around the world including Vertigo Dance Company and Scottish Dance Theatre. In South Africa, shortly after the dismantling of apartheid, he founded Tshwaragano Dance Company and also choreographed for Remix Dance Project in Cape Town. In Ethiopia he developed the integrated strand for the Adugna Dance Theatre Company. Adam has been a Wingate Scholar, an Associate Artist at The Place and a Rayne Fellow (2006-8). In 2013 he was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship. Adam is working on some movement direction and choreography for BOOTH.
Feedback from audiences in work in progress preview
“Energy, change, movement, light and dark; life”
"Love how the elements provide comfort for each other; it all seems to have poignant layers of meaning in the current political climate"
'‘diverse, beautiful, full and insightful''
''The voices...all at once...oh God the voices!''
We are hugely grateful to Dove Street Studios and to Norwich Arts Center, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and Norfolk County Council who supported phase one development.
Booth is currently supported by Arts Council England, Awards for All, the Turn Around Stays Project and Norfolk Recovery Partnership