I Live Here
With The Showroom, University of Chichester
To take a roomful of young/youngish artists through the process of devising an (auto)biographical performance – from start to finish – in the space of two days.
The impulse behind this project could not be more personal, or more site-specific. Neil Bartlett grew up in Chichester, less than a quarter of a mile from The Showroom. He cycled past where the building now stands, daily from 1970 to 1976. The starting point of this DIY will be a consideration of the sheer cultural impossibility of a spotty, queer, illegal, frustrated teenager cycling home from school past a building in 1973, and then returning to the exact same spot exactly forty years later as a professional artist with a thirty-page CV.
Neil wants to go back and have a conversation with the place that scarred him for life. Neil wants to give something back to the place that gave him so much. Neil wants to share his forty years of experience. Neil believes that the future of the nation lies in its youth.
This DIY project hopes to open and sharpen some younger minds through an in-depth, intensive and very practical encounter with a rigorous, adventurous, experienced and dissatisfied artist.
Through a series of simple but challenging exercises, the group will write, devise, construct and rehearse a short performance which they will present at the end of the two-day devising process. The form of this performance will be that old chestnut, a confessional monologue. This monologue will be delivered by somebody called “Neil Bartlett” and it will be entitled I Live Here. Neil Bartlett, however, will not be performing the world premiere of this piece. The young artists will: they will be using the word I on his behalf – and on behalf of all untold stories….
Physicalising this conundrum in the form of a short performance will necessarily involve considering how one person – or a group of people – can “speak” another person’s life. It will thus necessarily both complicate and celebrate the contribution of autobiography to performance. It will neccessarily involve digging into Neil’s history, and by doing that, will aim to give people the tools to dig into their own. The group will be responsible for not only making and performing I Live Here, but also for attracting an audience for the performance that will close the DIY weekend.
Dates, times and location(s):
Saturday 2 November to Sunday 3 November. The Showroom, University of Chichester.
10am to 8pm Saturday and 10am to 10pm Sunday.
Please attach a short (1-2 page) CV, a brief artist’s statement about the ideas that inform your current practice, and 200 words (max) about why you’d like to take part in this DIY project, and what you think you might get from the experience. Supporting materials (images, video, links etc.) are welcome but not essential. You must be available for the whole weekend.
Neil Bartlett is a (queer) performance and theatre maker whose processes have included devising with (amongst others) Handspring, Improbable, Complicite and his own company GLORIA (1988-1998); running a theatre; directing for the Abbey, the National and the Aldeburgh, Brighton and Manchester International Festivals; and performing his own solo work in venues as diverse as the Vauxhall Tavern, The London Hospital, Southwark Cathedral and a derelict warehouse in a backstreet near the rear end of London Bridge. www.neil-bartlett.com
Neil Bartlett on [email protected]
This DIY Project is supported by The Showroom, University of Chichester
Unusual professional development projects conceived and run BY artists FOR artists