Swanage theatre director brings extraordinary show to the Lighthouse

After a long 18 months, artistic director for the company Extraordinary Bodies and Swanage resident, Claire Hodgson says it’s incredible to be putting on a stage show in front of an audience again.

And it’s not any show from the Swanage-based theatre company, but an amazing production of circus acrobatics, dance, film and music that was created from real life stories that the actors told each other during lockdown.

Advertisement 

Circus-styled production

The circus-styled production called Human is at Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th September 2021. It’s part of a tour that started in Southampton and will include dates in Plymouth, London and Salford.

Claire Hodgson said:

“It’s amazing – it’s sort of like medicine. We’re finally back doing what we are trained to do and what brings us joy.”

Acrobat
Diverse City

Like medicine – back performing on stage

Antodote to anxiety

The show – a collaboration between Cirque Bijou and Diverse City – combines the visual spectacle of aerial circus, dance, film and a musical soundtrack. 

It’s intended to be an antidote to the anxiety that so many people, including performers, have felt during the Covid crisis. It features both disabled and non-disabled performers.

Human by Extraordinary Bodies
Diverse City

Performers are disabled and non-disabled

“Disproportionately affected”

Claire said:

“Disabled people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“This is a celebration of returning to live performance and creating theatres that are safe environments for audiences and performers.”

Claire Hodgson
Dom Moore

Claire Hodgson is the co-director of the production

“Really difficult”

Claire herself went from acting in a major production in Bristol and London, to being stuck at home during lockdown and going for walks on the beach with her dog.

She said:

“I was really grateful that I was here in Swanage. This has been a really difficult period for creative performers.”

Claire Hodgson
Claire Hodgson

Grateful to be living in Swanage

Shared memories during lockdown

The four artists on stage include a disabled performer. Also appearing via video link from his home in South London, is disabled songwriter John Kelly, whose lockdown journey is followed throughout the show.

The production evolved out of stories told in audio and video messages, and shared by company members during lockdown.

The team were inspired by recollections of childhood memories, their mums, falling in love, life-changing moments and a love of sweets!

Appearing on screen
Diverse City

One of the performers appears via videolink

“Gets to the heart”

The music is an original score by Ted Barnes incorporating live drumming and singing from on-stage performers with audio and music played through headphones, creating an intimate relationship between performer and audience.

One of the artists, Jonny Leitch, said:

“We explore storytelling in new ways through movement. Human gets to the heart of how we are all feeling right now and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

Humans Extraordinary Bodies
Diverse City

The performance combines circus acrobatics, dance, film and music

“Had to live in uncertainty.”

Six people who work for the theatre company live in Dorset, with four of them in Swanage. They were able to work together during lockdown using Zoom.

Claire explained the linking theme of the piece:

“It’s about how we live in uncertainty and in the last 18 months we have all had to live in uncertainty which is frightening but it’s also where we take chances and fall in love or have children, so it can be a place of excitement as well.”

Human Extraordinary Bodies
Diverse City

Performers love to share the experience with a live audience

“It’s incredible to be back”

The performance on Friday 17th September 2021 has socially distanced seating for the audience and the company encourages mask wearing for the audience members.

Claire said:

“This period has been difficult because we create live performance and it’s about experiencing that at the same time with an audience, so it’s incredible to be back doing it at the Lighthouse.”

Diverse City

Book tickets

Tickets for the performances at 7.30 pm on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th September 2021 can be bought from the Lighthouse website

Share this story

Contact us

Do you have anything to add to this story?

We like to keep everything up-to-date, so if you know more, please help us by getting in touch.

Advertisement 

Top stories

Swanage man and Corfe Castle woman jailed after drug gang bust A man from Swanage and a woman from Corfe Castle have been imprisoned for their part in an organised crime gang which trafficked cocaine and cannabis from Dorset into Wales. 2 months ago Group of teenagers assault and seriously injure man in Swanage 2 months ago Hundreds of acres in Purbeck to be flooded to save Poole property 2 weeks ago Swanage pub closes due to ‘financial difficulties’ as bills soar 1 month ago Rosy outlook for bold new Swanage venture 3 weeks ago

Most recent

Watch out for ‘floating terrors’ washing up on Purbeck beaches Walkers along the Purbeck Coast, especially those with dogs, are being warned to look out for a venomous sea creature washing up on shore. 12 hours ago Swanage woman jailed for stealing cash from Dorset Police 1 day ago New mystery object on Swanage Beach sparks intrigue 2 days ago Swanage Railway volunteer signals his retirement after 31 years 3 days ago Dog plunges 28 metres from top of Studland’s Old Harry Rocks 4 days ago