Performance Workshops at Raven Row

The Facebook page for the workshops I shall be running June-August at Raven Row can be found here

Introductory workshop to ‘Elements of Performance Art’

with Anthony Howell
Wednesday 7 June, 6.30–8.30pm
Book your place via Eventbrite: https://elements-of-performance-art-workshop-7june.eventbrite.co.uk/

‘In Case there’s a Reason: The Theatre of Mistakes’
30 June-6 August 2017
Workshops from ‘Elements of Performance Art’
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 2-5pm, 30 June–6 August

Raven Row is preparing the first exhibition to survey the ground-breaking practices of interdisciplinary performance art group The Theatre of Mistakes (1974–81). This will include live works as well as an archival presentation of scores, video material, notations and designs etc. A significant component of the exhibition includes the unique opportunity to participate in public workshops with Theatre of Mistakes founder Anthony Howell throughout the exhibition, on an ad hoc or regular basis.

Performance on village green2

During the early years of the Theatre of Mistakes (1974-6) such workshops were held in public and private spaces around London. They were open to all and attended by artists and students from different disciplines: writers and poets; dancers and choreographers; visual artists of all media and architects. Participants would develop instructions and games-based exercises under a basic rubric: that if you designed an exercise then you were in agreement to perform those by others. Over these two years the group noted and recorded hundreds of these exercises, which core members Anthony Howell and Fiona Templeton refined and distilled into their 1976 publication, Elements of Performance Art. Arguably, this publication is the first manifesto/manual for Performance Art in the UK. It will operate as a starting point for Howell’s workshops and ‘free sessions’ at Raven Row.

As an introduction and taster to the forthcoming workshops, Anthony Howell and Raven Row will be hosting an informal gathering, at Raven Row, on the evening of 7 June, as above. We look forward to welcoming those interested in the workshops but ask you to please register your attendance on Eventbrite (please see link above).

There will be further opportunities to enrol for these workshops during the course of the exhibition. Details will be available at the gallery and posted on Raven Row’s website.

To gain an impression of what these workshops may result in, and to hear Howell discuss this early phase of Theatre of Mistakes, please see http://parsejournal.com/article/towards-a-purposeful-accident-elements-of-performance-art-via-the-ting-the-theatre-of-mistakes/ which documents a session held at the University of Gothenburg in 2015, convened by Jason E. Bowman, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the university’s Valand Academy and curator of this exhibition.                  Amikam Toren Car Ballet

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During the exhibition there will also be performances of Going, directed by Fiona Templeton. This was a later performance by the core group of the company.  It evolved out of the company’s interest in “Being not acting.”  Instead of acting, could the company members “be each other?” Here is the structure of Going

 

 

AN A to Z of The Theatre of Mistakes

theatre-of-mistakes Going

For another view of the Theatre of Mistakes by Marie-Anne Mancio click here

And here is the link to her A to Z of The Theatre of Mistakes.

Mind you, there are several errors in her A to Z.  This “nameless” performer is in fact Deborah Howell, my mother, performing in full hunting-kit at the Artists Meeting Place in Covent Garden.  This was in 1974: The Ting at AMP – first performance by The Theatre of Mistakes, Artists Meeting Place, London. In those days we were known as The Ting: Theatre of Mistakes.

Deborah Howell

And under the heading Signe Lie Howell is a picture of Jane Clark chatting with me in a rehearsal for Birth Ballet Chorale. Here is a picture of my wife, Signe, who also performed in that first event at AMP:

 

 

Footage of Waterfall 12 at The Hayward

There is fleeting footage of Waterfall 12 in a BBC programme called Bricks

https://store.bbc.com/play/761126

The Theatre of Mistakes performed A Waterfall at the Hayward Gallery  during the first Hayward Annual in 1977.
Description:
There was a different performance for each day of this 48 day exhibition.  The piece was originally based on a timing device for another performance.  On day 1, a single performer sat cross-legged between two buckets with a cup in each hand.  She scooped water out of the first pail into one cup, poured it into the other cup, then poured it out of the second cup into the second pail.  Each action lasted for twenty counts – so transference of water took 60 seconds per cupful.  There were sixty cups of water in the first pail – so to empty it took an hour.  Her last action was to pour all the water in the second pail back into the first pail.  On the second day a second performer was added as well as a chair and the second performer held the second bucket between his legs – now the last action of the first performer was to pour water from the second cup into the first cup of the second performer.  Thus a pouring chain was established.  On the third day a table was added and a third performer.  By the twelth day there were twelve performers arranged vertically above each other on a structure made of tables balanced on chairs balanced on top of other tables.  The synchronisation of arm-movements was achieved by the recitation of chants – known as “Koans” – and all these chants were based on weather reports from off-shore regions of the British Isles.  Each day’s performance culminated in the pouring of the water in the top bucket into the lower bucket, so at every stage the lower bucket had to be within range of the upper pouring position – this dictated the nature of the structure.  After twelve days, the performer cross-legged on the ground was removed and the lower bucket raised onto the first chair – so by the twenty-fourth day there was again only one performer, this time sitting at the height of the completed structure with a bucket on either side of him.  For the next twenty-four days, the entire sequence of performance was reversed, and so the structure was dismantled and the last day was a reflection of the first day.

The Street

street

The Street was performed by The Theatre of Mistakes in July, 1975.  It was devised by members of the company nucleus – Anthony Howell, Fiona Templeton, Michael Greenall and Patricia Murphy.  Drawing from “The Gymnasium” – a comprehensive collection of performance exercises devised by the company – a performance was created which required some nine weeks of rehearsal on the same London street – Ascham Street in Kentish Town.  This performance featured a chorus of performers in the first floor windows, and any passerby walking up the pavement on the left would trigger closure of the windows – which in turn caused most the performers in the street to fall to the ground.  A passerby walking up the pavement on the right would trigger the opening of the windows and the continuation of the chorus which in turn triggered the continuation of the performance.  The chorus itself was created out of snippets of conversation overheard from the street below.  These were repeated additively in instant, repetitive sonnet forms.  The performance also featured the externalisation of residents’ living rooms (their furniture including televisions placed on the pavements), an interior decorated skip, and slow motion children who followed a slow motion ice-cream van into the deepening twilight.