One performance you can’t miss next month is About Us at the Bluecoat. Choregraphed and directed by Jacky Lansley, with music by composer Sylvia Hallett, this mixed-media performance brings together an incredible group of international artists from dance, visual art, experimental music and theatre. We got together with Jacky Lansley to find out more about the piece and why audiences will love it.
A choreographer, writer and performance artist, Jacky has been practising her craft for four decades, so she knows exactly how to create a performance that will resonate with people, and About Us is no different. “We started researching the piece in 2016, so the political climate of the time definitely influenced our work,” explains Jacky. “More recent research has focused on conservation and endangered species. The piece itself brings together six different personal stories which reflect experiences of identity, gender, grief, joy, the environment, caring and homelesness – overall, it’s about sharing stories that reflect extraordinary and everyday experiences.”
These issues are explored through soundscapes, live action and film, a fantastic blend that will have audience members captivated. The music itself is done by experimental composer Sylvia Hallett, a dear friend of Jacky’s and one who has also worked on many exciting productions. Another element that will keep audience members engaged is the staging. Performed in the round, the audience are actively involved in the piece and can even change seats in order to change perspective – one of the key points of the show. “I wanted this piece to not only appeal to dancers, but to those in theatre and beyond,” says Jacky. “I want the audience to be inspired and energised after our performance and go away and think about their own stories.”
About Us will be on tour around the country, starting at De Montfort University on 2 March, before coming to the Bluecoat on 8 March and finishing at Oxford House Theatre on 21 March. Jacky is especially excited about her return to the Bluecoat. “The Bluecoat has a long tradition of supporting innovative dance, which is why I’m so happy to be performing there,” exclaims Jacky. The support Jacky is referring to is Inhabit, the Bluecoat’s three-year programme of New Dance which explores new pathways for inclusive engagement with dance including workshops, performances and other events.
As well as the performance, Jacky will also be hosting a workshop with Sylvia. The workshop itself will draw on strategies and themes in About Us and is open to dancers, actors, musicians, visual and performance artists, including recent graduates. Presented in partnership with Dance Research Studio, it will take place at the Bluecoat on 6 March 6pm – 9pm and is a fantastic opportunity to develop as a performer. “We’ll be looking at emotional embodiment and how to work with autobiographical material, we want people to bring personal items to the session and use them to develop material,” explains Jacky.
We can’t wait to see About Us. Get your ticket now here and if you want to attend the workshop, click here!