make-shift networked performance premiere to go online

make-shift live, online, interactive performance event that explores connectedness... and don't forget the plastic!

There couldn’t be a more appropriate time for the make-shift performance to hit the airwaves and the psyche. With the issue of remote working revisited after the bad weather, make-shift takes the idea one step further to provide a live and interactive performance straight onto your laptop on Sunday, December 5 at 3.30pm (GMT).

The performance will take place online and be led by Helen Varley Jamieson at the Magfest in Turin, and Paula Crutchlow in Beaford Arts Centre, Devon. Each venue will have a live audience and people can pop in to have a look and take part on the internet, too.

It’s billed as part recital, part discursive salon and the performance uses online audio-visual conferencing, chat and performance tools to connect two ordinary living-rooms and their audiences across geographical and cultural distance – ‘it’s about getting together with others and having a rant’.

The premise of the event is that each artist is hosted in a separate house or domestic-type space to perform for an audience gathered by the host. There will be audience participation and discussion ‘facilitated through provocations’ and suggestions from the performers and enabled through the technologies.

The actions of performers and audience in each house will be brought together in a third online space which will be visible and audible to the proximal audiences in each house but also available as a stand-alone work to be viewed by online audiences in Upstage.

Helen and Paula met in Wellington’s theatre scene in the mid-90s. After Paula returned to the UK in 1999 they remained in contact, and last year began to conceive of a collaborative work that they could develop within the realities of their lives.

Here’s part of Paula’s reflections from an early residency for make-shift. “In 1996 I went on a short course [Helen] was running on internet skills for women and I returned to England in 1999 with a brand new hotmail address (that I had to go to Streatham Public Library to access). I bought my first mobile phone, got gifted a reconditioned PC from my software designer cousin and found that I could maintain my friendships on the other side of the world with a speed I wasn’t used to. It made me miss people more somehow.”

For the performance, people have been asked to bring with them all the plastic they’ve used in the 24-hour period before the show.

“Our research has been broad and we’re now narrowing things down,” Helen said during the creation of make-shift.

“For example, I became completely obsessed about plastic, then that research has lead to the idea of disposability, and what that means in our consumerist lifestyle at the smallest domestic level as well as globally. At the same time we are exploring disposability from a more philosophical perspective.”

A key element to make-shift as a performance is that Paula and Helen can pick up, pack up and take with it with them when it’s time to move on again.

And as it can be taken away and reinstated at the drop of a hat, you could host a make-shift performance yourself. All you need is a broadband connection, space for 15 people and enough plugs (among other things).

But first, pop along to the premiere performance of make-shirt, which takes on Sunday, December 5 simultaneously at 3.30pm Beaford Arts Centre (Devon, UK) and 4.30pm Magfest Torino (Italy) and online (find the time it starts in your neck of the woods). There is information about the project on the make-shift page on the creative catalyst site, which is where online audiences will find a live link to the event at the time of the performance.

Online audiences are welcome to arrive from 3.20pm GMT for pre-show chat. There will be a discussion after the performance and the event will finish at around 5.30pm GMT

And don’t forget the plastic!