Friday, 29 May 2009

Explaining (or trying to) in New York

Our most recent (completed that is - A Perfect Circle is almost signed off) short film, Technology, is screening at the Iron Mule Comedy Film Festival in New York on 6 June.  Full details here.

So far Technology has been shown at Third Angel screenings at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield and the National Review of Live Art in Glasgow, where it went down really well with audiences.  At each of those events I was able to demonstrate, after showing the film, that I had actually learnt something from the experience of making it, and was able to (almost) properly explain how the idea of light-clocks work (with a big debt to Dr Simon Goodwin at the University of Sheffield). As we won't be accompanying the film to New York (sadly), there will be no such second chance this time.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Table Manners origami paper

This is one of a couple of images I've just put up on our Flickr photostream from last week's performance project, Table Manners, devised with students of Contemporary Performance Practices at Leeds Met University.

The show was performed for 20 audience members at a time, all sat around a large U shaped work bench, and was structured as a series of one-to-one performance encounters across the table top, including etiquette instruction, drawing, dialogue scene, handwriting demonstrations and an origami lesson. The image above is the 'origami paper store', held in place by candles, positioned on a 'neat table' in the centre of the space. This centre table was partly inspired by the amazing Pile of Index Cards (PoIC) project/system, particularly this image.

The 20 solo performances happening at any one time began in sync, or as a group performance of a shared text, early on in the piece, but moved into individual responses to particular tasks and instructions, sometimes becoming completely different. So depending on where you sat, and which combination of performers you met, and in what order, you could get a very different show from someone sat 4 places away. The intention was to use the table not as a barrier, but as an intimate place to meet someone, talk, hear stories, make something.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

300 Dice

Without wanting to give too much away about it at this stage, we need a bit of help for Homo Ludens, the piece we're making with TiG7 in Mannheim, for Schillertage 2009.  Performances run 20 June - 4 July, often throughout the day; full details on the TiG7 site.

Responding to Schiller's ideas about the 'playful human',  the show is an intimate experience for 4 audience members at a time: part game, part conversation, part performance.  We'd like to give each audience member their own six-sided die to play with, and take away with them at the end of the show.  Which means we're going to need about 300 dice initially.  And, being us, we'd like every one of those dice to be different.  So we've started collecting, as you can see above.

If you can help, and would like to donate one or more dice that you might have lying around, we can promise to take them on an interesting journey.  Please send any dice-donations you have to:
Homo Ludens
Third Angel
3 Brookfield Yard
Sheffield S7 1 DY

If you want to tell us a bit about where the dice come from, any stories about them, where you got them, that would be nice - we'll try to pass on any such stories to their new owners.  Thank you.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Table Manners

As part of my part-time role (somewhere in between senior lecturer and artist-in-residence) at Leeds Met University, I've been making a show with the final-year BA Contemporary Performance Practices students.  This is the third year I've run this end-of-course module, and, being only slightly obsessed with the number 3, it does feel like this is the last installment of a trilogy of large-cast (for us at least) shows made in and for a particular space, Leeds Met's House 14 rehearsal room and performance studio.  The first two pieces were Compendium in 2007 and A History of Objects in 2008, and this year's is called Table Manners.  All three are theatre pieces that play with the performer/audience member relationship to a greater or lesser extent.  

Table Manners is for a limited number of audience members, but there are a few spaces left for this year's showings.  Full details below. 
A tasting menu of things that are right and wrong with the world, 
brought to you by the students of Contemporary Performance Practices, Leeds Met University
Directed by Alexander Kelly, Co-Artistic Director of Third Angel
We’ve been trying to understand etiquette.
We’ve been trying to remember what happened where.
We’ve been trying to work out why some things are good, and some are just rubbish.
We’ve been taking responsibility, we’ve been laying the blame.
We’ve been trying to make the world a slightly better place.
We’ve been sitting down to eat a meal together every day.
We’ve been trying to keep our elbows off the table.
It isn’t always easy. 
We invite you to come and help us.
Performance Times:
Tuesday 19, Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 May
Doors open 7.45pm, showtime 8pm
Matinee: Wednesday 20 May
Doors open 2pm, Showtime 2.15pm
House 14
14 Queen Square
Leeds LS2 8AJ
Free! But limited audience, so advance booking advised.
If you're interested in seeing the work, contact me on my Leeds Met email: a.kelly [at]

Friday, 8 May 2009

Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre

It has been announced this week that the building that houses Leeds Met Gallery and Studio Theatre is to be decommissioned this autumn.  We knew it was coming, but I, at least,  had understood the schedule to mean closure in 2011.

The Gallery & Studio Theatre team are about to begin a consultation process with the University to discuss the future of the organisation.  They are asking for letters and emails of support, to express the importance of the venues to their audience, partners and artists.  If you'd like to write something, the address is: gallerytheatre [at]

The Gallery and Studio Theatre has been massively important to Third Angel throughout our career.  As well as currently exhibiting in the Gallery with Christopher Hall, I have recently completed a book with Annie Lloyd, Director of the Gallery and Studio Theatre.  Entitled The Dust Archive, the book records some of the memories of the performances Annie and I have seen, programmed and presented inside, and beyond, the Studio Theatre space itself.  At Third Angel we're hoping that the consultation and development process will forge an exciting future for the Gallery and Studio Theatre, and it seems fitting, therefore, to post my introduction to The Dust Archive here, addressing, as it does, our relationship with the Studio Theatre itself:

It’s hard to quantify just how important this space has been to Third Angel.  We have presented every piece of work we’ve made for theatre spaces here.  We’ve made work uniquely for this space and its sister gallery.  We’ve had some of our best and one of our worst ever gigs here.  We’ve seen work here - work that has moved us, inspired us, entertained us, challenged us.   And we’ve talked about work here - work we’ve made and work we’ve seen.  This space has been a constant in our planning and thinking for over thirteen years.

It has been a bittersweet joy remembering moments of performance for this project.  This space won’t be here for much longer, and compiling this book with Annie has helped me understand its significance - both to myself as an artist and to the alternative theatre sector in the UK.  It’s not that big; in fact it is one of the smallest spaces we tour to.  But boy, does it punch above its weight.  Work shown and developed here has toured across the UK, across Europe, across the world. 

In autumn 2000 we were at Leeds Met Studio Theatre with Where From Here, in many ways a coming-of-age show for Third Angel.  Rachael, Jerry, Jim and I are in the dressing room, getting ready for the second performance.  Someone is reading the paper - a story about how British Theatre is ‘in crisis’.  Again.  Well, Jerry observes dryly, it wasn’t in crisis in here last night, was it?

Not here, not last night, nor any night that I recall.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Regular collaborators...

Regular Third Angel collaborators Lucy Ellinson, Jeremy Killick, Gillian Lees and Chris Thorpe all have other projects on at the moment.

Lucy and Jerry are appearing in  Monsters at the Arcola Theatre in London until 30 May.  More information on the Arcola website, and an interview with the writer, Niklas Rådström, on the Guardian website.

                 The Moon, The Moon

Chris is one of the writers on The Moon, The Moon, by our good friends Unlimited Theatre, which is on at West Yorkshire Playhouse next week, 13 - 16 May, and then at Southwark Playhouse in June. 
"As beautiful and as enigmatic as the moon itself."  The Guardian 
More information on the Unlimited site.

Gillian is touring two shows with Proto-Type Theater, the lovely Whisper and Virtuoso (working title), which I haven't seen yet.  Again, full details on the Proto-Type site.