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Experimental Sound and Movement Theatre
Performance and Community Opportunities
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(Idée Fixe) is a performing arts company which draws from a collaboration of like-minded artists possessing a range of different backgrounds to create performances where sound, movement, image and drama are imaginatively conjoined using relevant technologies. Each work the company makes is based on a theme from daily life: a day in anyone’s life, the rooms of a block of flats, the fun and perils of travel. Objects (sound, visual) from everyday life are combined in an experimental performance context. This is done to make works particularly tangible and user-friendly. Stage designs not only act as décor, but also as sound installations triggered by movement in entertaining and challenging performances. One of the company’s key aims is to set an example and facilitate active participation in art-making on as wide a scale as possible. It stands for an artistic process based on working with people, not at or on them. This process is founded on developing devising as a working practice where individuals all contribute to and can be identified in collaborative creative work. The company encourages and facilitates a range of community-based activities, all of which are custom-made for each host taking into account group and individual needs. It seeks convergence between the arts and amongst professional and community arts contexts.
Artistic director: Leigh Landy
Choreographic director: Evelyn Jamieson
The company and its devising practice are fully introduced in the booklet/video publication, Devising Dance and Music: Idée Fixe Experimental Sound and Movement Theatre (2000, Sunderland University Press). In the booklet "flexible framework for devising" is proposed for anyone’s use. Furthermore, the company's 'tools' are introduced. These include:
• A theme from everyday life
• Found objects and found sounds / Recycling
• The What?! factor (a viewer’s reaction to something totally unexpected)
• The something new factor (this means that there is something new, ideally quite new, for all performers and the public – these things need not be the same for all)
• The '1% tilt' (one way to achieve newness is to take something existent, tilt it ever so slightly and present it in a performance)
• The flexible art work (which takes performer's and expected members of the public's experiences into account)
A Day in the Life (1995)
"A Day in the Life" takes its audience on a dynamic journey through a diverse range of experimental music. The music has been placed into a structure based on the typical day in the life of an artist. The performance includes sound and visual collages based on found objects and sounds known to all. This is the only company work with signed movements. The composers are Leigh Landy, Tony Myatt, Jos Zwaanenburg, Tom Constanten, Richard Orton and Remko Scha.
(Y)our House (1996)
(Y)our House is fully devised work which is influenced by Georges Perec’s unusual text La vie – mode d’emploi, translated as "Life – A User’s Guide". This large book does nothing but describe an apartment building in Paris in enormous detail. How anyone could turn that brief into interesting reading is beyond us. Perec not only succeeds; his book invites the reader to return to it again and again.
The piece does not deal with anything specific from the book other than the notion of, in the company’s terms, treating spaces representing one or more flats. They are not only treated as "movements" of the work, but also acting as décor, sound installation and perhaps "orchestration" at the same time. The rooms are "to be played", not only "to be played in". Audio: what one plays, triggers and hears from tape, and visual: the live performance including movement as well as the décor, meet in a work which is intended to be fast-moving, challenging, humorous and accessible.
Fish Design (1996)
This site-specific piece was created for Hull's Hooked Festival and was performed on the huge (redundant) Victoria Pier. Four dancers and a narrator using a megaphone celebrate the site as well as Hull's rather delicate relationship with the fishing trade. One rehearsal that took place as the tall ships arrived surprised the hundreds of spectators who became part of the set of this highly charged movement piece.
Bon voyage? (1997)
"Bon voyage?" deals with the quirks of travel in a dynamic sound and movement work which takes the viewer from many a queue at the beginning of a voyage to air and bus travel to activities at the tourist destination and back. As with all company works, this half-hour piece is one in which discovery, humour and access to experimental sound and movement theatre all play a part. The dance is highly inventive playing with extremes of dynamic and idiosyncratic movement material. The sound, some of which is triggered by the dancers during the piece, is taken from the soundscapes of train stations, airports, planes, buses, cafés and wherever one stops during trips where most everything seems to go wrong.
a devised piece in which the spirit of games and competition
initially inspired by the social icon known as the Lottery
merged with the hard work of an Opus
the ordinary, the extraordinary, discovery, enjoyment and humour
(variable length – integrated performance).
In Transit (2003)
This is the first Idée Fixe work using the Music via Motion system developed by Kia Ng. The performers therefore conduct much of the sound. Its theme is our cluttered life style and involves three dancers working through their daily routine in an office in which most demands seem to come from a digital voice.
Performance and Community Opportunities
What we offer:
Workshops with or without Shared Outcomes
Training and Consultancies
Idée Fixe’s view is that there is no difference in approach between what the company itself creates and what takes place with non-company members. What differs in any two contexts is based on what those involved have to offer and how that influences the devising process.
Our main objective is to create and contribute to participative arts contexts employing our devising approach and applying our own key elements. The objects chosen from daily life obviously differ enormously with different groups. For example, a selection by a youth group may include icons of youth culture who would perhaps partially overlap (or not) with that of a group of adults from various cultural backgrounds, which might again overlap with that of a group of people with particular disabilities. As we work with groups as diverse as those mentioned here, we apply flexibility to discover ways of facilitating choice and employment of appropriate material for those with whom we work. This not only concerns flexibility, but also introduces the concept of the opportunity for all involved in a given project to learn from each other. During any project we will all be learning, both company members and the members of the community with whom we are working.
Many of our residencies, courses and training sessions are host-driven. They are based on a local request and not necessarily chosen from a set menu of what we offer. We look for long-term partnerships where we can build up expertise locally during our stay so that work can be carried on once our project period has ended. Again local desires and needs are often the ‘driver’ of what takes place with our partners.
Short Courses - Our current list of short courses ranges from: "Dance and Music Collaborations" to "Music (or dance) Technology" to "Devising: an Exciting Form of Dance (or music) Composition" to "Music (or dance) and Disability". There are courses aimed at particular groups. There are also short courses with more enticing titles including "Sounds Great: Have fun whilst composing with sounds" and "Making an Exciting Performing Arts Work on a Shoestring Budget". However, we gladly put together short courses within our expertise based on the desires or needs of a host organisation.
For further information, you can email the company.