An Audience With... (2017)
Performance dates: Festival Theatre Edinburgh, Empire Rooms 21st, 26th, 28th October 2017
Film and publication launch date: 27th February 2018
Part of Luminate: Scotland’s Creative Ageing Festival
June Don Murray, Daisy Douglas, Marie Duthie, Doreen Leighton-Ward, Katie Miller, Janice Parker
Created by Janice Parker & Performers
Outside Eye Luke Pell
Film Martin Clark
Sound MJ McCarthy
Costume Advice Karen Tennent
Production Management & Lighting Fi Johnston
Stage Management Marisa Ferguson
Project Coordination Paul Hudson, Festival Theatre
"I have been interested in how these dancers can author their own work, and be named in a profession where they were part of a troupe and never individually named or credited for their performances. I have also become interested in how these dancers can create counter narratives that challenge the usual practice of academic historical writing, and present not only a personal and social history but also a present day viewpoint firmly rooted in the now. Much of the time I thought about ideas of history versus memory, and how we often treat these as different entities, but of course history is never simply history. It is always someone’s history." From A Note on the Text by Martin O'Connor
Janice Parker Projects and the Festival Theatre Edinburgh
In 2016 and 2017, choreographer and theatre maker Janice Parker worked with the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh and three professional dancers, aged 93, 90 and 85 as part of the Festival Theatre’s Forget Me Not programme to create new performance work.
Janice’s almost 2-year long residency culminated in a performance in October 2017, with a book (with writer Martin O'Connor) and a film (with Martin Clark), both to be launched and presented at the Festival Theatre in February 2018.
"Our live event features six women dancers, spanning three generations, sharing their practice and dancing together.
It all started last year when Janice Parker made a call out looking for dancers from the Variety era who had, at one time or another, performed on the stage of The Empire - now Festival - Theatre Edinburgh. Marie Duthie, June Don Murray and Doreen Leighton-Ward are three prolific Variety era dancers who have each performed at the Empire, and have never stopped dancing and sharing their love of the art form."
Marie says: “I’ve danced from the word go. My mother used to say whenever there was any music on I was twitching and moving, always dancing and doing my own version. I feel so at home the minute I put my tap shoes on.”
June says: “Oh, it’s a laugh a minute, we love it, but nobody knows what goes into making a show, the time it takes, how hard we work, the precision.”
Doreen says: ‘’Ours is a small piece of a large jigsaw from which other dance styles evolved. I’ve a renewed sense of worth in the work we did 65 years ago. This is exciting, heady stuff.”
An Audience With... the book is available upon request.