During the pandemic and lock down all our worlds drastically shrunk - to the four walls of our homes - so that the moment once a day when we could leave and go out for exercise, to move, to take air became vital. Forbidden from travelling people discovered new enclaves around them: communal gardens, parks, squares where they could escape briefly. Although we couldn’t mix with our neighbours many of us became more aware of the communities around us - our neighbours also accessing what space there existed between us. It was a stark reminder of how essential these pockets of public space are - the places where we can escape, breath and commune.
It is ironic that at the same time across the UK public space is being eroded. Our towns and cities have become increasingly colonised by corporations with malls, shopping centres and transport hubs owned, surveilled and policed by private interests. Security firms set the rules of what is acceptable and in this landscape there is less room for people, especially young people to do anything more than pass through. There is less space in the world for relaxation - skating, dancing, hanging out, ball games are seen as inherently antisocial.
This was the impetus that caused us to want to make PUBLIC : a piece of movement / dance / circus / parkour as protest. A joyful protest to look at the architecture of the world as an arena for expression. To push what is possible to do in the world and through this to transform our experience of it.
There is also, of course, a disparity in who is able to take up space - who can be open, vulnerable and at home in their neighbourhood. Who feels like they have a right to belong goes to heart of inequalities around class, disability, race, sexuality and gender - of entitlement and power. PUBLIC is in some ways a piece of utopia where we have created a glimpse of a world where by the end any member of the company can be at ease, vulnerable, playful, expressive and different from each other in abandon and safety.
This is at the heart of what a community is and it is through our communal, public spaces that we have the chance to meet our neighbours, to know each other and it is here we have a chance of building this utopia together. We have never needed it more.
Ockham's Razor Produced by Turtle Key Arts
in partnership with the National Centre for Circus Arts,
commissioned by NCCA and The Lowry, Salford Quays.
Alex Harvey & Charlotte Mooney - Ockham’s Razor
Alison King- Turtle Key Arts
DEVISED & CREATED BY
Ockham’s Razor & the company
WITH CHOREOGRAPHY FROM
Raf Ffinch Shah
COMPOSITION & SOUND DESIGN
COSTUME DESIGN ASSISTANT
Katie Taylor Strawn
COMPANY STAGE MANAGER
Kelly Codling Bray, Niamh Hanns, Carina Simoes- Turtle Key Arts
MARKETING, LEAFLET DESIGN AND PRESS
Shaun Dawson – Turtle Key Arts
REHEARSAL PHOTOGRAPHY AND ADDITIONAL DIGITAL CONTENT
PRESS AND PR
Chloe Nelkin Consultancy
Charlotte Mooney - DIRECTOR OCKHAM'S RAZOR
Charlotte is one of the Artistic Directors of Ockham’s Razor and has been devising, directing and performing their work since 2004. Alongside this she has also performed with Improbable & ENO, Theatre Rites, Oily Cart, Blue Eyed Soul, Roswitha Gerlitz & Metropolitan Opera.
She has worked as a director / movement director for numerous companies including Oddly Moving, Oily Cart, Proteus, Gossamer Thread, Charmaine Childs, HandsDown Circus, She Said Jump, Sadiq Ali , Anna Abrams, Poppy Plowman, Roundhouse Street Circus Collective and the National Centre for Circus Arts. She has taught devising and directing on the BA course at National Centre for Circus Arts and currently teaches on the MA in Directing Circus at Circomedia.
She also works as a storyteller and has performed at festivals, clubs and campfires across the UK including as part of The Moth GrandSlam and Radiohour.
Alex Harvey - DIRECTOR OCKHAM'S RAZOR
Alex studied singing and fine art at university before training at Circomedia, the academy of circus and physical theatre in Bristol. In 2004 he started Ockham’s Razor and has performed in, devised and co-directed their shows which have won awards, received critical acclaim and reached audiences around the world.
He has also performed with Improbable, the English National Opera, the Metropolitan Opera New York, the National Theatre, Rosemary Lee, Amici Dance Theatre, Oily Cart and Theatre Rites. Alex is also a consultant for equipment design and creative rigging and works with companies to help them develop and realise their ideas for new shows. He is a qualified circus instructor and has run circus theatre workshops worldwide.
Turtle Key Arts - PRODUCERS
Turtle Key Arts produces and devises original, inclusive art to entertain and inspire. They believe that access to the arts helps to improve the quality of life by bringing people together, offering creative opportunities, social inter-action, confidence and self-esteem.
They produce a number of innovative and original theatre, dance and circus companies and have a long track record of running excellent arts projects, free to all participants, for disabled, disadvantaged and socially excluded people.
National Centre for Circus Arts - COMMISSIONING PARTNERS
The National Centre for Circus Arts involves thousands of people in the creation and performance of circus arts every year. Its diverse range of work includes a BA Hons degree in Circus Arts, a structured progressive training programme for under 18s, and the opportunity for adults and young people to take part in a range of recreational classes. As one Europe’s leading providers of circus education, the National Centre also works to support its graduates as they develop in their professional careers. With this in mind, we are delighted to partner with Ockham’s Razor and see first-hand the opportunity for our graduates to be involved in such unique and ground-breaking work.
The Lowry, Salford - COMMISSIONING PARTNERS
The Lowry is an international arts centre based in Salford’s creative and cultural quarter at MediaCityUK - committed to celebrating the unique heritage of our location and to putting communities and people at the heart of all that we do.
With a year-round programme of 1000+ performances, exhibitions and participation events, it is the most visited cultural venue in Greater Manchester, one of the UK’s leading combined arts organisations and one of the most successful cultural regeneration projects in the world.
The Lowry has worked closely with Ockham's Razor over the last 14 years, bringing the most exciting contemporary circus productions to the North West and co-commissioning previous productions of This Time and Tipping Point. We are thrilled to be working together again and excited to premiere PUBLIC outside our home in MediaCityUK.
Alex Morton - PERFORMER
Alex spent his childhood climbing along the thinnest branches of trees, jumping down from the highest wall he could find, and throwing himself head first onto the sofa, trying to land on his feet. A few scratches and broken sofas later, he found out that other people do this too and they call it Parkour. He dedicated a few more years learning and practising parkour with communities all over the world, during which time he grew a passionate intrigue for communication, community and social influence. In 2018 Alex began an exploration into the world of physical theatre, clowning and circus, studying at Circomedia and NCCA and falling head over heels for the influence that performance and storytelling can have on the world around it. Inspired by hollowed out tree trunks, industrial lamps, blowing raspberries in the face of authority, Alex aims to tell stories that make people feel silly, but in a powerful way.
Andromeda Gervásio - PERFORMER
Andromeda (they/them) is a movement artist., and also a trans and non-binary person. They are both politically aware and socially driven in all of the work that they do. Movement is their tool for creating work but also the medium which allows them to navigate this world: it is a channel through which they can directly apply what they learn. Movement is a constant research, and for them that means to analyse dynamics of oppression and privilege in hopes to shift how they currently work in our world. Social disparities are at Andromeda's core and motivate them to keep expanding and growing. They are most inspired by nature in and outside our home planet, senses of community, interpersonal relationships and change.
Dylan Springer - PERFORMER
Dylan started dancing at his mother’s local dance school ‘Nichols school of Dance’. In 2020 he graduated from Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, where he worked with choreographers: Christopher Bruce, Paul Liburd, Darren Ellis and Arielle Smith, performing works at The Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre and Sadlers Wells Lilian Baylis. After his training he worked with companies including Setanztheater Nürnberg, Ballet Folk UK, Eliot Smith Dance and most recently Fabula Collective for an upcoming performance at Sadlers Wells Theatre. Dylan has also worked in the commercial side of dance and has appeared in various music videos, short films and advertisements. As well as dance, Dylan also has a strong understanding of acrobatics and has played with merging the two styles when in creation. Ockham’s Razor has been an eye opener and has proven the minimal limitations creativity has. He looks forward to performing with a lovely group of people.
Hugo Knowles - PERFORMER
Parkour came into Hugo’s life in 2014 after he saw a Pepsi advert featuring the sport, but it wasn't until 2019 that he started training properly, quickly becoming an assistant coach with Project Z Parkour and using the money he earned to travel across Europe to train with and learn from new communities. Since then, Hugo has carried out academic research on parkour’s relation to the increasing privatisation of public space, has worked with ParkourUK on a project involving the legal rights of parkour practitioners using public spaces, and has trained his sport as far away as Namibia. Hugo is currently working towards his level 2 parkour coaching qualification, as well as studying for a degree in Theatre and Performance at the University of Leeds. PUBLIC will be the first time he combines his love for parkour with his love of performance (and tries his hand at dancing!).
Jem Bentham - PERFORMER
Jem graduated from London Studio Centre in 2017 with a First Class BA Hons Degree in Theatre Dance performing works by Kerry Nicholls, James Cousins and Joseph Toonga. After graduating they joined TobyLikesMilk, a queer theatre, dance & activist company performing in both the UK and The Netherlands before joining Ace Dance & Music in 2018. They participated in the creation of two works choreographed by Vincent Mantsoe and Douglas Thorpe, alongside assisting and teaching for their youth company. Jem has since worked as a freelance artist performing works by Transcending Bodies x Draaimolen Festival, AURORA’s ‘A Touch of the Divine’ directed by Alexandra Green, Ali and The Stolen Boy’s ‘Errore del Sistema’ directed by Patrick Henry Clark, a solo work ‘Peach Flux’ at Inkling Room, Allora & Calzadilla’s ‘Balance of Power’ at Tate Modern and others. They look to continue their movement explorations and are excited for upcoming collaborations.
Josh Hoffman - PERFORMER
Hi, I’m Josh and I’m obsessed with moving and being a monkey. Always climbing, jumping, making, playing, dancing and wishing I could live like a squirrel.
I love being in the zone, that flow state where you forget about everything and become present in what you’re doing. I like to learn new things and find new and interesting ways to create.
I am inspired by all the elements of hip hop culture, circus, contemporary dance, art, music and the feelings of nature.
Melissa Bravo - PERFORMER
Melissa is a London based performing artist, choreographer, and dance teacher. Melissa trained in musical theatre and dance at The Brit School, and on a full scholarship at Bodywork Dance Studios Company. Melissa performs both in the UK and internationally in theatre, film, and tv.
Some of her credits include: Message in a Bottle - West End/Int Tour; Black Victorians - UK Tour; Sting ‘If It’s Love’ - Music Video; Aida - Barcelona’s Liecu Theatre; Some Like It Hip Hop - West End/Tour; Art on the Underground - TFL/The Vaults; East Wall - Hofesh/Tower of London; Beautiful Thing - Southpaw/GDIF; Louise Gray S/S - LFW/Stuart Shave Modern Art
Rafiq Ffinch Shah - PERFORMER
Hello, my name is Rafiq, I'm 26 years old, I was born and raised in Hackney, East London. I have been training in Circus Arts since I was 8 years old and turned professional in the year 2020. I specialised in Cyr Wheel and Acrobatics and also have a long history training in Dance and Theatre. It's been a lifelong dream of mine to be professional performance artist, the dream continues to grow and transform as my career as an artist progresses. I have already been lucky enough to work with companies that I idealised working with during my training and hope one day to start my own company bringing all the thing I have learned along the road together.
Seb Parker - PERFORMER
Hey, I'm Sebastian. I've come from a background of competitive cheerleading, musical theatre and contemporary dance. My style is very much driven by a combination of these things. I trained at the National Centre for Circus Arts where I honed my skills and realised that circus is the art form I want to pursue primarily. I thrive in creative spaces as I am an easily excitable person and I love to make new work. I am a conversationalist and love to meet new people. I have worked in many differing contexts within performing arts, from musicals such as West Side Story, to working in the big top circus, the Revel Pucks Society, and competing in the national cheerleading competition. I have been following Ockham’s Razor’s work for just over a year and feel privileged to have been selected for this project.
Shane Hampden - PERFORMER
I have been a keen dancer for a decade now focusing on street dance styles, breakin' and poppin. I am an acrobat who has experience in gymnastics and freerunning. This led me to specialise teeterboard at The National Centre for Circus Arts.
Joêl Daniel - CHOREOGRAPHY
Joêl’s movement roots stem from breaking, a pillar of the subversive culture of Hip Hop. He furthered his understanding of movement at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, which ignited a deeper curiosity for movement. This has led to an eclectic journey; from classic contemporary dance theatre; to shows for family audiences; to collaborations with interdisciplinary artists; young adults in training and most environments in between.
His love of movement has taken him to many creative spaces both nationally and internationally. It has also, created opportunities to work with companies such as: Travelling Light Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Surface Area Dance Theatre, Tobacco Factory Theatre, Attakalari (India) and A.S.K. (China).
Currently, he works at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School as their Movement tutor, delivering actor’s movement; choreographs and delivers movement direction on a project basis.
Max Reinhardt - COMPOSITION & SOUND DESIGN
In spite of everything the world has had to throw at us over the last year, Max’s musical curiosity has brought a vintage Fender Rhodes into his life and his living room, along with the mighty xylophone of Uganda, the Embaire. His recent work in the circus that is theatre includes This Time with Ockham’s Razor, The Bloody Chamber with Proteus Theatre , a new production of Stranden for Sweden’s Folkteatern Gävleborg, and The Cart with Oily Cart, the company of which he was co-founder and veteran musical director. His lockdown distant collaboration project Embaire House (PRS Foundation and Kampala’s Nyege Nyege Tapes), was recorded both in Nakibembe village without electricity and in European locations, where mains electricity is becoming a luxury.
Longtime presenter of Late Junction (BBC Radio 3), Max currently hosts the weekly Late Lunch Show @SohoRadio with its playlist for the musically curious. He’s an Associate Artist for Oxford Contemporary Music and also teaches actor-musicians at Rose Bruford College.
Sarathy Korwar - ADDITIONAL COMPOSITION
Sarathy Korwar is a US-born, Indian-raised, London-based drummer, producer, composer and bandleader. His music is predominantly based in jazz and Indian classical music but also incorporates elements of hip-hop and electronic music.
Having been mentored by the likes of Gilles Peterson and Fourtet, he has established himself as one of the most original and compelling voices in the UK jazz scene He has released music on the record labels Ninja Tune, The Leaf Label and Gearbox Records to critical reception and has collaborated/ toured with the likes of Anoushka Shankar, Shabaka Hutchings, Yussef Kamal and Moses Boyd. His latest studio album, ‘More Arriving’ was voted MOJO Magazines Jazz Album of the year and also went on to win the AIM Awards 2020 album of the year.
Tina Bicât - COSTUME DESIGN
Tina Bicât designs for dance, circus, physical theatre, opera, installation, scripted and devised drama, big outdoor community events, intimate naturalistic shows, transformations and tricks. She makes her designs herself, or collaborates with other makers to bring them to reality. She is an Associate Artist with Ockham’s Razor, won the Critics Circle award for her work with Punchdrunk and has written seven books on aspects of theatre practice. She also works with the students of Drama St. Mary’s and lectures on aspect of design and creative thinking.
Her most recent work involving different aspects and combinations of set, costume, puppets, props, installation, effects and visual invention has been with Ockham’s Razor (costume and visuals), The National Trust (interactive installation), NIE with the Young Vic and the Unicorn Theatre, (costume set and objects) Kew Gardens (installation) Brunskill &Grimes (puppets) South Bank Centre (costume and set), Dead Rabbits (Costume, set and objects),The Barbican Centre (interactive objects),Amici Integrated Dance company (costume, puppets and objects).and Turtles Model theatre.
Katie Taylor Strawn - COSTUME DESIGN ASSISTANT
Katie is originally from Sacramento, California, and she graduated from Wimbledon College of Arts (within the University of the Arts, London) with a Master's degree in Theatre Design in 2021. She has a background in architecture and has been creating art for as long as she can remember. She is so excited to be working with Ockham's Razor, Turtle Key Arts, and Tina Bicât on a show as unique as PUBLIC. Her previous experience includes designing for HOOLIGAN Theatre Company and City Lighthouse Theatre Company, along with some freelance music videos and short films. In her free time, Katie enjoys creating miniature clay sculptures, utilizing her local public library, and cooking elaborate meals.
We would like to thank the incredible company of performers who have created this show alongside us. We are continually staggered by their skill, commitment and compassion.
We have been joined for this show by friends old and new. Once again we are delighted to work with long time collaborator Max Rhinehart who, with Sarathy Korwar, has created this incredible, eclectic and powerful score to lead us through.
Thanks to Tina Bicât who with assistant Katie Strawm has done the impossible in designing costumes which simultaneously look utterly ordinary and yet completely beautiful.
We’ve been so incredibly lucky to have Joêl Daniel in our corner as we make this piece of circus dance. Thank you for your creativity, curiosity and calmness.
A huge thanks to our mentors Bim Mason, Matilda Leyser, Phelim McDermott and Rosemary Lee for your brilliant, insightful and inspiring thoughts, advice & wisdom.
Making work like this is all about collaboration and partnership. We are so grateful for the Lowry for supporting and commissioning us again with this work and allowing us to take over their Plaza and for the National Centre for Circus Arts with their support and commission and creating opportunities for graduating artists.
Finally last, and by no means least, we want to thank the Turtle Key Arts team - our powerhouse producer Ali King, alongside Niamh, Kelly, Shaun, Charlotte and Alan. You are the community who keep us going and enable us to be brave in the world. We could not do it without you.
To all of our funders and commissioning partners, Steve Cowton and Matt Eames and all the staff at the Lowry, Kate White and the team at National Centre for Circus, Arts Council England, Jonathan Priest and Circomedia, Nathan Johnston, Steve Ryan, Alan Bowyer, Paul Veer, Tam Osborn, Stacey Potter, Paddy Walters, all the team at Turtle Key Arts, all the performers who joined us through the R&D, Owen and the team at Circus House, Hanno and the team at the Church of The Holy Innocence, the Ockham’s Razor advisory board, to all the youth groups and individuals who joined us onstage, the audiences that took part in our dance finale and to all the people who emailed, tweeted, re-tweeted, instagrammed and facebooked about our work,
Finally, a very special thanks to our parents for all their love and support with Ida - because none of this is possible without you.