Since June last year I’ve been working on a solo performance project, This is not a riot. It was originally a response to the anticapitalist unrest in November 2010 and March 2011, exploring protest and violence through interactive theatre. I gave short and scratchy performances in Leicester and Edinburgh, and then I was invited to curate a day on the subject, including a full performance of the show, at the wonderful Yard Theatre in Hackney. Then, life imitating art imitating life, Hackney decided to riot in earnest two months before the show opened. I had to rethink everything, in the best possible way, and the version I gave was still more of an experiment than a finished piece.
But now the work is more or less completed, and I’ll be touring Scottish arts and social centres this Spring (see poster below). The core of the show is a series of playful interactions designed to expose audiences’ preconceptions about protest and violence, to question what violence is, why it happens, and when it might be useful. But the show will also be adapted to each new city it performs in, to respond directly to that city’s own history of urban unrest. (Every city has a history of urban unrest, raw or scabbed, popular or unknown.)
I’m delighted to launch the project at the Buzzcut Festival in Glasgow next week. You must come! Not just for me (though do come for me), but because this is going to be the most exciting new performance event that Scotland’s seen for quite a while. Tickets are free, but should be booked: you can book to see me right here, right now.
I’m hoping to be able to put This is not a riot. to bed by this summer — ideally, there’ll be enough civil unrest to topple globalised late capitalist in a couple of months, and I can start talking about something else. But until then, it’s very possible indeed that the project will return …