In the run up to the debut of his new project STELLA we have asked director, performer, writer and gay rights campaigner Neil Bartlett to pick a selection of Unbound Titles featuring artists that have inspired and influenced him over the years.
“When I am preparing myself to go into the room with colleagues to make a new piece - which is what I am currently doing, because I start rehearsals for my new theatre/performance/encounter piece STELLA in four weeks time - I try and make the time to remind myself that I have done this before. And this time, the particular "this" that I am doing is making a new, small-scale, self-produced, buy-the-props-in-a-boot-fair queer piece of the kind that I made with my company GLORIA back in the late eighties and early nineties.
The piece is of course being marketed under some well-established banners - LIFT, the Brighton Festival, the Holland Festival - but the scale of the piece - two performers, two chairs, some jewellery and some old lights - and the amount of self-employed spadework involved are both reminding me of the old days. So, with that in mind, I want to direct you to the published work of three artists who were very significant influences on me when I was thirty something years younger than I am now.
Their inspiration was vital to me:
The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: Performance Work of Lois Weaver,
Eds. Lois Weaver and Jen Harvie
Watching LOIS WEAVER perform her infamous reverse strip routine - in a pub - was it the RVT in London ? - blew my young performance socks off with its physical wit, its physical intelligence and its sheer bloody queer raunchiness.
Bobby Baker: 9 DVD Bumper Boxset
Watching BOBBY BAKER - who I met and saw while I was compere-ing the National Review of Live Art in its Glasgow manifestation in 1996 ( alongside Derek Jarman, R.I.P.) - taught me a great deal about how to creatively intertwine a persona with the personal. And how to handle props.
Abstract Vaudeville The Work of Rose English
Ed. Martha Fleming
Watching the incomparable ROSE ENGLISH, whose work I first saw in 1985 and who I have followed ever since, made me understand that physical scale and metaphysical - or emotional - or political - scale are only at best tangentially related, and that one can never be too ambitious , and that poetry is the only option. I salute these three great performers, who did much to set me on my way, and warmly recommend their works to your attention.” - Neil Bartlett
Neil Bartlett has been one of Britain’s most individual theatre-makers for over thirty years. STELLA is his first original theatre piece in London for over three years and will be on at the Brighton Festival (May 27-28), LIFT, London (June 1-18) and the Holland Festival, Amsterdam (June 20-21)
The entire Neil Bartlett collection is available to view for free at the Live Art Development Agency Study Room located in Hackney Wick, London.