Welfare State International Processional Theatre

Audio extract from Unfinished Histories interview with Sue Gill and John Fox in 2013 talking about their Processional Theatre work

Audio Transcription:

John Fox: We did a lot of experiments on the road really, we did Processional Theatre which was based on a very romantic interpretation of English mummers, seasonal festivals and seasonal celebrations, and then the processions got bigger with large puppets, we’d do something simple like the marriage of the sun and the moon at a particular seasonal point.

Sue Gill: But we would learn within a procession about how you would have a live band playing, you’d have be in costume, then you’d have a pause, and you’d have be carrying something, things were made specifically to be up high and to carry, and within that they’d be a transformation so they’d be some short dramatic intervention, then it would kind of pick up and reprieve and move on. So people could either just be static or people could enjoy it as it would move past or people would grow and grow, until you’d move to a spot for a finale or something like that. And we’d wear a lot of face make-up, black and white make-up, which was very, very off intimidating to people. You could see photographs of people going ‘oo eer what’s this’, we looked quite terrifying really, big black and white stripes down our faces, and after a while we decided that was a really bad decision and we abandoned it altogether didn’t we.

John Fox: I suppose a lot of it was a kind of bonding of a tribe of people who were kind of hidden in this kind of skin of extremism really. There was a point where we were doing much more overt, didactic, political theatre. That came a bit later. Then we moved back into a mythological, fairy-tale, nursery rhyme, Pantomime style. I keep going back to the Pantomime’s from Hull, the transformations and the very simple story telling with the kind of mythic possibilities.

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