rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
Trashing Performance


Trashing Performance included a series of ongoing and programmed creative research exchanges between artists, academics, and other social and cultural practitioners. Each dialogue experiments with the possibilities of discourse around the question of performance value. The outcomes of such exchanges ranged from performed and screened public interviews, to performance and installation work and creatively realised text publications. The dialogue was a transformative departure for its participants, pressing their artistic/critical skills and knowledges into uncharted territories. See descriptions of the projects below including links:

Cheap Flicks

Gavin Butt, Ben Walters and other collaborators

Cheap Flicks is a project that explores the public reach of low-budget performance when mediated through the moving-image. Taking its cue from film and video work made by contemporary club and cabaret artists, and screened to small audiences at events like BURN in London’s East End, Cheap Flicks explores broader histories of DIY aesthetics and trash performance in order to explore the possibilities of work in and around the contemporary neoliberal mediascape. Reflecting on performance artists’ use of film, television, and cyberspace, the project explores the camera as a generative technology of performance production, and considers how artists have been involved in reshaping publics and audiences alike through strategies of mainstream intervention and more culturally marginalized forms of play, excess and provocation.
Cheap Flicks brings an academic and a journalist together in making a film which explores these issues, alongside interviews with selected artists about media publics and performance. See dialogue


Lois Weaver with Bird la Bird, Amy Lamé and Carmelita Tropicana

FeMUSEum is a dialogue project that aims to bring four generations of ultra femmes together to talk about the lineage and legacy of performed femininity. Appropriating and exploiting the stereotypical ways in which women gather and share – ‘monthly’ meetings, ladies lunches, swap meets, even haul videos- Lois Weaver, Carmelita Tropicana, Amy Lamé and Bird la Bird will compile an archive of feminine and feminist performance. They will construct exhibits that pay tribute to each of their own individual femme muses and imagine the place and performance of a museum of feminine influence. They have already started their own YouTube channel FeMUSEem. Tune in for the hauls. See dialogue

This Is Performance Art: Part Two – Experimental Theatre and Cabaret

Mel Brimfield and Various Collaborators

Brimfield’s research project is based on production of the film This Is Performance Art: Part Two – Experimental Theatre and Cabaret. An accompanying live work will reconstruct and describe aspects of an extraordinary fictional live art cabaret. Within the narrative of the piece, it will be revealed that only fragments of archival material survive – these may include a number of isolated photographic documents, portions of a musical score, partial audio or film recordings, costume, prop and set elements, and interviews with artists and critics discussing the seminal nature of the work. These fragments will be produced in association with actors and performers over the course of the research project, and will be activated in various ways throughout the live work. The narrative trajectory and staging will be developed in parallel to this process. Stylistically, the piece will ape the style of ‘An Audience With…’ TV specials, such as ITV’s Kenneth Williams 1980s programmes. A monologist adopting the style of a fading performance art star accompanied by a pianist will deliver an evening of reminiscences and anecdotes about the cabaret interspersed with various live and filmed interventions, including song and dance numbers.
Early stages of production will be structured around contriving staged archival material with comedy actress Joanna Neary and students of the National Youth Theatre, dance theatre company New Art Club (Tom Roden and Pete Shenton), artist Bruce McLean, and the Beaux Belles dance troupe. The cast will expand and contract as the piece takes shape. See dialogue

Filth is just the beginning battle in the war on taste

John Waters