Double Bill: 30 Cecil Street and Badlands

A blog written by University of Northampton Dance student Becca Jermy of her experience of the Double Bill, whilst on placement at Dance4.

I arrived at The Century Theatre in Snibston, Coalville at 3:30pm to dancers twined around each other, and the Dance4 team watching and discussing the upcoming event. I’ve been taking placement with Dance4 for a few weeks and haven’t so far had a chance to have a chat with Kirsten about her role here at Dance4 and, while things were quiet, it seemed like a perfect time.

 After we set up a table for our box office and flyers, to promote upcoming events at Dance4 and The Century Theatre, the audience arrived. The tone of the waiting area remained calm and chatty throughout the duration of the whole night. 

Waiting to watch Dan Canham’s piece, 30 Cecil Street, I didn’t really know what to expect. Whilst speaking to him earlier he informed me about his degree in Drama, and although he had an interest in dance from an early age, he didn’t seem to have years of rigid training behind him, which made me question how “dancy” his piece would be. I could see the influence of his acting background in 30 Cecil Street and I felt as though the dancing aspect didn’t appear until a while into the piece. I felt I could appreciate the way dance was incorporated into the work to support the idea behind it. He used dance and drama to create shifts in different characters which represented and separated the different time periods, many people commented how effective they found this.

I considered the way he mapped the space with masking tape to be very successful; along with Dan acting around the space, I felt as though I’d been transformed to the Theatre in Limerick, that he was trying to portray.

After the interval, Jake Ingram-Dodd and Victoria Hoyland performed in Robert Clark’s piece Badlands. The main thing I liked about this piece was the subtle comedy value that was added by the way the characters delivered lines and reacted to the audience. By the characters communicating directly to the audience and breaking the 4th wall, it made me feel involved in the process and story they seemed to be undergoing. Each of the performers seemed to have a clear grasp on their character, and the relationship that was building between the two onstage, I felt, was shaped, moulded and changed throughout the performance.

The next day had a different feel to it, for me. The two artists were separated between two venues, Isham Studios at The University of Northampton and The Picturedrome. I was with Robert Clark and his performers at The University of Northampton, which had a busy and full atmosphere. At this venue I prepared the area by cleaning the floor, helping adjust the lights, arrange the box office area etc.

Along with The University of Northampton’s company management team, I walked audience members over the racecourse to the Picturedrome where 30 Cecil Street would take place.

Dan’s performance definitely had a different atmosphere and feel for me in The Picturedrome. I felt as though The Century Theatre was an empty space where my imagination was allowed to explore and create the stories and history for myself. In contrast, The Picturedrome had a cabaret feel to it which I felt influenced my thoughts and concepts on the piece as it didn’t start from a blank canvas. Despite this, both venues were successful and held great performances. 

 The two performances, I think, gave me a deeper insight into what it is to push the boundaries of dance and how that can be achieved in different ways.

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