The Clod Ensemble Red Ladies

Opened 19 Jul 2014
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The Clod Ensemble makes compelling work through the alchemy of theatre, music and physical comedy.

Performances will take place in and around Southbank Centre London (15/16 July) as part of their Festival of Love, Malvern Theatres (19 July), Margate Theatre Royal (25/26 July), and they will infiltrate Margate (23/24 July), embarking on a series of mysterious, visually arresting missions as part of a collaboration with Turner Contemporary for their unique community festival Summer of Colour. Red Ladies features 18 women, identically dressed in red headscarves red stilettos, black trench coats and sunglasses. The piece has two elements: the outside 'missions' in public spaces (streets, rooftops, riverbanks, public gardens, beaches) and the indoor 'theatrical demonstration'. An investigation into how human beings behave in groups, Red Ladies is a metaphor for complex, emergent systems in the natural world. It is at once about difference (dancers, actors, musicians of different ages, sizes, nationalities) but also about networks and community. Inspired by the chorus in Greek Tragedy, the Amazons, the Suffragettes, the Women's Institute, the Arab Spring, the domestic and the political, Red Ladies is a sensual anthem to human beings' capacity for transformation. The Red Ladies move through the landscape with great love, incredible style and devastating integrity. They sit, they wait, they play the harmonica, they observe, they lament, they change, they remember. A recipe for onion tart becomes a political manifesto, a drum solo becomes a call to arms, a knitting pattern becomes a lament. They listen carefully to the dozens of voices including David Attenborough, Margaret Thatcher, Orson Welles, Amelia Earhart and Mao Zedong that come through the loudspeakers. Their movements echo a flock of birds, a herd of bison, a swarm of bees. Red Ladies are an international phenomenon - there are millions them all over the world - sometimes groups of them manifest in a town or city a bit like a swarm of ladybirds. Each time Red Ladies come together they draw people's attention to different things - in 2005 as a response to 'the war on terror' they drew attention to issues around national security and civil liberties - in 2014 they will focus on our natural habitat - drawing attention to the continuum between human beings and their environment.

Forum Theatre

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