Pushing The Boundaries Of Performance

PUBLISHED: 15:45 17 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:22 20 February 2013

Pushing The Boundaries Of Performance

Pushing The Boundaries Of Performance

The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre in Taunton is pushing the boundaries for presenting art and performance with their festival Inna Space which runs from Monday 23 – Saturday 28 May.

The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre in Taunton is pushing the boundaries for presenting art and performance with their festival Inna Space which runs from Monday 23 Saturday 28 May.

With events happening inside, outside and around The Brewhouse, the festival aims to give audiences the opportunity to explore performance and art in unusual spaces, thus broadening peoples view about how art should be presented and experienced.

Six months in the planning, the festival presents a series of six headlining performances; The Bench (Sun 1 May Sat 30 July) an experience for two people who dont know each other, but should, to follow instructions given to them through an ipod and headphones whilst sitting on a park bench; Wondermart (Mon 23 Sat 28 May) an experience for one person at a time taking place in a local supermarket, in which the participant must respond to instructions given to them through a headset; Running On Air (Mon 23 Wed 25 May) an experience for five audience members inside a VW Campervan where the audience become the characters of a story; Poland 3 Iran 2 (Fri 27 May) staged in The Brewhouse Caf Bar reminiscing on the famous football match of 1976, and finally the gripping Lecture Notes On A Death Scene (Fri 27 Sat 28 May), which uses mirrors and lighting to place one person at a time in the driving seat of someone elses life, as well as a number of smaller events and installations which are scheduled to occur throughout the week and on the festivals focal day on Saturday 28 May.

We realised that when people come to The Brewhouse, whether to see a performance in the Main House or to see an exhibition in the Gallery, our audiences always used the building in the same way. They enter through the main doors and then enjoy their experience in a very predictable fashion. We wanted to play with this predictability to see what happens when there is a blank canvas, explains Katie Hawker, the co-ordinator of the festival.

Over the past two months, local and national artists have been invited to attend a series of play days and artist tours at The Brewhouse, where no area of the building public, backstage or administration was left unexplored. The artists were asked to create a piece of art, be it visual, performance, multimedia or a fusion of them all, which was illustrative of their interpretation and reaction to the space.

The result has been fascinating. Approximately twenty proposals from artists have been submitted, all of which are poles apart in style to the others. The only thing they have in common is that they do not fulfil what you might expect.

Proposals include a Kitsch Garden installation set in a toilet cubicle by Jenny Graham; an improvised saxophone soundscape by Tim Hill created in response to his experience in the generator room; Katie Hawker proposes to create a physical mapping of crowd congregation, depicting how the audience move around the building on busy show nights; and Sue Palmer proposes to create an experience for one audience member at a time in the laundry room, where together, she and they will work to create costumes to suit a character in advance of presenting their creations to a larger crowd in the neighbouring location of Somerset Square.

Other work includes theatrical experiences for small groups at a time, where under the main stage, the scene is set for a hide out. The protagonist ushers the group into the space, explaining that they must keep quiet for fear of being heard, and consequently found. As time goes on, the tension mounts as the group try to occupy themselves with card games and story telling, doing their utmost to put the fear of being found out of their minds.

Throughout the week long festival, audiences will be able to come and experience a number of completed pieces of work, as well as having the opportunity to watch artists create their pieces in preparation for Saturdays celebration showcase.

Opening the doors of The Brewhouse like this not only enables the general public to explore spaces they have never seen before, but provides the opportunity for them to see how work is created. In allowing the public to watch as artists put together their pieces, the publics pre-conception of how art should be, will be stretched; continues Katie Hawker.

In keeping in tune with the ethos of Inna Space, a festival website has been created at http://www.innaspace.net/ which details further information on the festival and the creative processes behind it, as well as blogs and where you can have your say and get involved. Choosing to promote the festival solely online, rather than using print to raise its awareness is just another way to create and discuss work on an alternative platform.

The majority of the events within Inna Space are free of charge (a deposit will be required for certain events some have a suggested voluntary donation of 2) making sure that there are no finamcial barriers between the art and the audience.

Inna Space follows a number if recent festivals that have taken place at The Brewhouse over the past six months, including Outset, Somersets first festival of performance art for LGBT audiences, and England My England, which took place over the Easter and May Bank Holiday weekends to explore the notion of Englishness.

To book tickets for any of the headlining events please telephone The Brewhouse Box Office on 01823 283244 or visit http://www.thebrewhouse.net/. For more information on the festival visit http://www.innaspace.net/

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