- Rød Dame, Festspillene i Bergen, Familiedag May 2017
This was my fourth year performing in the Bergen International Festival! I returned to Siljustøl for the family day performance, joining tens of performers to bring the forest alive with theatre and music. This year i was asked to create a red angel with my harp, who would hide in her wings when children approached, before over-coming her shyness and promptly showing off with the harp and playing some angelic music.
- The Marionette Puppet, Festspillene i Bergen 2016, Familiedag 2016
This year the family day performance of the Bergen International Festival was puppet themed. Families wandered freely through Siljustøl woodland to find the interactive performers and musicians. My marionette puppet was surrounded by instruments which when played by the children and adults, I came alive and tap danced a rhyme to accompany them.
- Porth, Kate Lawernce Vertical Dance, Pontio, July 2015
Cherry Head was asked by Kate Lawrence to be the costume designer for Porth, a piece commissioned by Pontio to be performed on the front of Bangor University's new arts and innovation building as part of Gwledd Syrcas Feast.
Porth was a collaborated with Guild Hall's projection mapping team, creating the vertical backdrop for the three firebird performers - Kate Lawrence, Lindsey Butcher and Julia Taffe, all pioneering women working internationally with vertical dance.
Inspiration for the firebird costumes was teamed with the needs of vertical dance performers, who need access to their rope, harness, and to stay tangle-free from the costumes fabric. With this in mind the wings were still to be a visual prop for the performers, made to catch the wind as they flew through the air, attaching them along the spine and arms of the birds chest, a red suede jacket, giving the performers full range of movement and control over the wings. The feathers on the wings were free at the edges, and made of various colours and some reflective fabric, giving the overall feeling of the birds shimmering on the wall, in stillness and full stride. Each performer had a jumpsuit of scaled fabric, with orange tassel detail along the front and back of the legs, concealing their harness.
- I Spy A Spy, Project Spyhole Residency, Ruthin Craft Centre, June 2015
Last summer Cherry Head had a Costume into Performance residency at Ruthin Craft Centre, showing the companies process of making a costume and creating movement. This summer the Craft Centre wanted to further explore this process, working with the 10 Spyhole stories they have along the arts trail. This performance was the first of 4 small residencies, and it reflected on the spying theme of welsh subjects.
The promenade started with a peep hole into last summers Blodeuwedd performance (Welsh mythology), and then spied on traditional harp music which then got remixed into a hiphop version as I got changed into my modern Welsh Lady costume, and clog danced to the remix.
The final spy in the performance was a soundscape created by musician Rob Spaull who joined me on the residency. He recorded people reading the Spyhole stories, and layered it with music created with families from the open day of the residency, while others made spyholes for one of my costumes.
- Festspillene Familiedag på Siljustøl, Bergen, June 2015
Hvit Dame (White Lady) was invited back to the Norwegian forest for the International Festival: Family day. Through out the day children and parents would walk the forestry tracks, coming across various mythical creatures, including this shy harp playing angel, who they would startled by the families presence, but then only too happy to play celtic music for them.
- Prom Prix Parade, Llawn02 Festival, September 2014
: Llandudno's very own version of The Wacky Races!
Llawn is an annual arts festival curated by Marc Rees. The festival brings art, performances, interactions, events and happenings to unusual locations across the seaside town of Llandudno.
Cherry Head's brief for the Prom Prix event was to make over anything and everything with wheels. Working with the MOSTYN gallery youth group and a mile high pile of cardboard we fashioned an assortment of attachements for scooters, bikes, skate boards, prams and mobility scooters, from cutting, shaping and painting cardboard.
The Prom Prix Pit Stop was open for 3 hours ahead of the Parade, allowing locals, passers by, and tourists to come and choose from rainbows, shields, wings and skulls, to dolphins, horses, dinosaurs and bat mobiles to adorn their wheels for the big drag race along the prom.
- The Fabrication of Blodeuwedd, Making Insights Residency, Ruthin Craft Centre, June 2014
I used the Making Insights residency to explore my process of creating costumes first then making the performance.
During the time of my residency the exhibitions on display were by Kevin Coates and Claire Curneen. Their work, although very different, were based on Mythology, one using the human form closely while the other works with delicate jewels, largely portraying animals. Taking inspiration from both I decided to look at the pairing of creature and human form, and combining these aspects in costume.
I felt Blodeuwedd (a story from Welsh mythology) was the perfect choice: the beautiful queen Blodeuwedd was moulded into a woman by wizards using flowers of an oak forest to make a wife for the king; only to be turned into an owl when she betrayed her husband.
The costume therefore had three parts to represent: a flowery innocent Blodeuwedd freshly made from the oak forest; the arranged marriage to the king; and finally as an owl at the end of her journey.
Musician and colleague Henry Horrell was invited to run his residency Beyond Rubbish Band at the same time. For the past three years, alongside playing in jazz, folk and electronic bands, Henry has been creating music for performance. He enjoys making music for performance as it allows exploration in composing to the movement of the performers, instead writing music for movement to be created to, as is quite conventional in theatre.
Beyond Rubbish Band: From well-crafted musical instruments that have been perfected over centuries to the simplicity of a hand-clap and a rubber band – everything has music in it. The principles of sound and musical creation are the same throughout the instrument world. Percussive hits, tensioned strings, resonating chambers, scraped surfaces, wind blown through holes, shakers – all that varies is the materials used and the time and skill need to create an instrument. A vast array of sounds and melodies are easily accessible to everybody by combining items of scrap, waste, food, wood, recycled and gathered objects. Henry’s residency was to introduce participants to the principles of music making through exploration of materials. Using an array of recycled and collected materials, and some basic tools, he tensioned strings over bowed wood, built drums, made shakers from tin cans, built xylophones and twangy things, creating a set of instruments that are well made, visually interesting and which sounded good!
Henry and I shared the residency space, working on separate ideas but then sharing findings and influencing each other with new sounds, use of textiles and movement. This way of working not only gave visitors an insight into how two different artists go about creating their individual work, but also how collaboration can occur and provide great stimulus.
We held open sessions to not only see us at work but to also get involved. Henry held a Beyond Rubbish Band instrument making session, demonstrating the essential principles of sound creation. As they built and played, the different combinations of sound became the beginnings of group composition. My open sessions offered participants demonstrations on making flowers from material, and decorating petals to add to the costume. To have visitors helping adds a great deal of value and diversity to both the costume and instruments. We extended an offer to both visitors and participants who constructed parts of the costume or an instrument to join us on the arts trail, to either watch or take part in creating music for the movement.
Putting the costumes and instruments into use, demonstrating how Henry composes to movement, and how I find performance within a costume, we created a promenade performance along Ruthin's art trail. Beginning at the gallery with the emergence of Blodeuwedd from a flower bed, the mythical character then fluttered up through the town to the church, with the audience and Henry's Beyond Rubbish Band in procession. Once at the church she changed into a wedding dress at the alter while the audience took their seats, watching the playful, care free flowery lady become solemn and regimented in movement. Upon departing the church the audience were given confetti (made in the open workshop) to throw over Blodeuwedd, and Henry's band played louder and louder music until Blodeuwedd fled. The audience were led to Nant Clwyd Y Dre's gardens where Blodeuwedd awaited, already turned into an owl, and shying away from the audience, until Henry took to his final instrument, and Blodeuwedd, lead by her wings, danced a poignant dance, before cocooning herself away in her wings.
- Hvit Dame, Bergen International Festival, May 2014
I had been asked to create an angelic like theatrical performance with my small celtic harp, to be performed at two events. The first event was the opening of the festival which took place in the city centre, with a precession leading up to stage performances. I was perched in my white dress and wings on top of the Ole Bull fountain - a famous violinist whom also founded Norway's National Theatre. The specially made white flowing dress and wings attached to my arms beautifully, and was very effective while playing the harp, and useful in hiding from and playing games with hundreds of onlookers, creating a shy, and sometimes cheeky angel character! The sunny ceremony opening greeted the high council and the Prince of Norway.
The second performance was part of the festival's family day in Silijustol, the home of composer Harold Sæverud. It was a day full of various site specific performances happening throughout the composers forest, and it was up to the children had to find them all. I created a White Lady performance in a circle of trees with my harp, with material suspended from the trees surrounding me. I started cocooned in my white wings, awakening and stretching at the sound of people around me, only to be scared to find families staring at me! I used my wings, again, to hide behind and peer out over, and slowly make friends with the audience, getting the children to wave to me, and then, once over my shyness, I started to show off my harp, which I then would play to them, until I became tired once more, and the act would finish with me falling asleep over my harp, at which point parents would whisper to their children to leave quietly, and I would stay in my cocooned sleeping position until the next herd of children came along!
The Making of Hvit Dame:
I travel to Bergen two weeks before Festspillene begun, so that I could make my costume there after measuring the space. For the first performance I was a fallen angel on Ole Bull's fountain, which not only has a sculpture of the Violinist but also a harpist! The full costume used in the second performance is loosely based on the Welsh Mythology of Blodeuwedd, a woman made from the flowers of an oak forest, who is then turned into an owl. The theme at the family day event was owls, since the late Harold Sæverud who composed in the forest, had stated that he wished to return to this earth as an owl.
- The Hoop Coop, Rogue Galleries, Chester Performs 2013
As part of Rogues Galleries, Cherry Head Productions turned a disused shop in the centre of Chester into The Hoop Coop. The studio took a dress making slant on the Hooper trade, allowing creativity and invention in the making of hoop inspired costumes, with the promise of the end product being anything other than a mass produced high street outfit!
Working with the Hooper theme, 5 costumes were made from a range of material, including wire, hose pipe, paper plates, foam and wool. The studio was open to the public, who not only watched a heap of materials progress into wearable, structured costumes over 2 weeks, but helped in the making of the hoops. ‘The Community Wedding Dress’ was made by over 200 people who visited The Hoop Coop and decorated a paper plate using any of the materials I had in the studio.
The Hoop Coop finale was shoot in and around Chester by Charlotte Horn. Above, she captured Back to the Glittery Future on the snowy Bridge Street and in Cherry Head's Rogue Gallery studio window.
From right to left:
Mz Tutu: made from hosepipe and tutu material. The Cleaner: On Chester Rows, pipe cleaners alone made this 60's style dress. Wibbly Wool: Hoops of hosepipe suspended by wool. Dotty Chainmail: A mix of keyrings and thin metal strips made this day of the dead inspired costume, and photographed in Bank Gallery Antiques
The Community Wedding Dress
- Angel Apprentice Cherub Cherie, Clwb Cabaret
- Costume Characters for Chester Performs Summer Programme 2013
Dr Scarlett Fever called in for Giant Games day at the amphitheater and was in charge of the giant game of Operation.
The March Hare caused mayhem at The Afternoon Tea Party
- Speaker Peeps, Hantu Fashion Show, Sheffield Cathedral 2010
Cherry Head was approached by Hantu to produce walk-about characters for their Fashion at the Cathedral event, which included a catwalk of 6 companies, live music by bands and dj's, dance performances, and live art battle: graffiti vs fine art.
Geo Law, illustrator, is the Creative Director of Hantu Collective, with his drawings being transferred from paper to t-shirts, jumpers, and walk-about characters! Geo and I worked together to bring three of his characters (a cat, old man speaker, and young hip speaker) to life. Putting three Bboys inside the costumes we had ourselves some funky characters jumping around on the catwalk!
- Flower Girls, Refresh Theatre
Commissioned by Chester Performs as part of their outdoor summer programme Roam the Rows.
Working with Refresh Theatre we created a 6 foot flower, which was the focus of the walk-about act. It was the job of the two flower girls, dressed in higgaldy mix and match outfits with soil rubbed in, to look after the flower, by watering and pruning it. They got their audience to help with these tasks, and then showed off by doing acro-balance with / over / on the flower! They were also prone to falling asleep in inappropriate places around the rows.