New characters for the Prometheus installation

Following a small hiatus with the tweaking and finessing planned for Prometheus’ Garden, I am now designing new machine follies to add to the installation. Much thought has been devoted to the future manifestation of this project,  how it mutates from the original performance showcase with its traditional narrative line, how the idea of an abstracted and textural approach will work with an audience and where to have the project seen

It is clear to me that, for the performance to work with an abstracted narrative and to avoid esoteric form, the project requires venues that will contextualise and augment the industrial dream garden. Parks and fields will not do, this show will need the factory court yard, industrial museum, derelict factory art gallery makeover, it is designed to be an intimate show on a grand scale, to impose itself on a town or city square and disrupt the normal flow of the space.

I will post another article shortly, with a fresh outline for the project. In the mean time here are a few drawings of the next set of machines.

I need a trusted producer! Anybody out there interested?


Prometheus evaluation

Overall, the projects development and performance execution went very well, raising some important questions and discoveries regarding collaboration and rehearsing schedules.

Several useful discoveries were made as to the blending of traditional theatre practice and the creation of outdoor spectacle and performance, in combination with heavy use of faux industrial machinery inspired by the 19th century, intricate and tentative digital controls and under rehearsed performers and production team.

The main lesson is to work with the correct budget and enable enough time to work the story, devise the sequences and get the cues nailed. Time and money and not work and talent frustrated the final process of realising the show to our most perfect vision. However, this showcase/tryout performance was always to be regarded as an experimental event and great effort by all involved also created a wonderful performance, enjoyed by 500 guests and public.

The support from ACE enabled the show to be manufactured and technically produced in its fullest form; the funding has enabled this project to continue to develop towards a touring production. This first phase of Prometheus’ Garden has pushed the company’s work in new and confident ways with technologies, atmospheres and storytelling.

To conclude; Prometheus’ Garden was a great success, being well attended, attracting interest from several cultural festivals (Halifax, Bestival, Glastonbury). The company introduced 4 individuals into our way of working, providing experience through team inclusion on the site setup and production of the performance. Future development for touring is certain, with more energy concentrated on technical and performance rehearsals.

I would like to thank all who gave their support and worked so hard, put up with me and accepted reduced remuneration for long days and short nights.

They are (in no particular order):

  • Delphine Sayre
  • Louis Nicholson
  • Alan Lane
  • Lucy Hind
  • Rob Hill
  • Luke Burgess
  • Mickey Bimble
  • Brett Ward
  • Andy Smith
  • Dave Mason
  • Brett Womersley
  • Sarah Jane Palmer
  • Al Orange
  • Raise The Roof
  • Elsecar Heritage Railway
  • 52nd Street
  • Barnsley Council
  • Arts Council England

The Prometheus setup and tryout show

Many thanks to all of you who attended the first Prometheus Garden performance. Despite a limited budget and rehearsal time and the help of fantastic weather the show was a great success with many aspects of the production identified for further development and tweaking. We have had enthusiastic expressions of interest for next years festival season and work will start early next year to improve, change and finesse the project.

Prometheus was an experiment in what could be achieved by combining the many activities of both myself, the company team and collaboration with Slung Low. A very worth while project was realized, with a great opportunity to go further and attract attention from festivals and event. A lot of thanks goes to the Ex Com team, Slung Low, Elsecar Heritage Railway , Barnsley Council, Raise the Roof, 52nd Street and the Arts Council for their dedication, hard work and belief in the original idea.

Attached are some site preparation and show shots. I will be posting further images and video of the show as soon as they are back to us and will produce a touring information package in December.

Prometheus’ Garden

Homunculus complete

Prometheus’ Garden is a performance/installation project, which uses as inspiration and metaphor, the myth of Prometheus. In Greek mythology the best understood story is that Zeus punished Prometheus for stealing fire from the Gods and giving it to mankind; for this he was chained to a rock for 1000 years to have his liver pecked out each day by an eagle.

By taking the fire element from the myth as a metaphor for technology and the garden as a symbol of the world and mindset we now inhabit, we intend to produce an installation piece that will operate as a mechanical sculpture garden during daylight and then morph into a full blown, multi media performance after dark.

The show does not aim to retell the Prometheus myth in a modern form, but more importantly provide an allegory for our modern times, offering a mirror to the spectator and articulating ideas of change both social and environmental. We live in a unique period of human history, where mass consumption is both encouraged to maintain economic and social stability and discouraged to protect our habitat. The show will both create wonder and beauty and offer poetic, dark and playful narrative to modern issues of mankind’s relationship to technology and dependency on energy, without inculcation or dogma.

The showcase will be produced on the 13th October 2012 at Elsecar Industrial Heritage Centre, we expect to invest the show with the companies technical resources and generous quantities of pyrotechnic and combustible consumables to create the most fully realised performance possible for our audience.

The Homunculus is finished! This machine is one of two main characters that combine to become the flame and fire section of the performance. Work is now underway on the ‘Chariot’ build, this machine is complex in its movements and houses part of the video projection equipment.

Chariot gear box detail

Design  and maquette making has started on all the other  main elements for the installation and show. We have plans to build a giant Orrery, Flame Engine, Oracle platform for the performer and an hydraulic Telescope, more on these later, along with news on our funding bids for the project.