Fierce Festival 2019 / Birmingham, UK / 15 – 20 October

Of Riders and Running Horses

Friday 25th & Saturday 26th September at 6:30pm. Fierce Festival and mac birmingham present, as a part of the Birmingham Weekender:

Of Riders and Running Horses

J:My name is Jóhann and I’m an Icelandic theatre & performance student on a placement with Fierce. I’m not familiar with Still House’s work, could you tell me a bit about the company and how it operates?

D: Still House is a company making a range of work across different performance platforms. It is made up of myself as artistic director, Laura Dannequin as associate director, MAYK as producers and a wide range of performers and creatives that join us for different projects. To date we have made 3 shows, touring throughout the globe: 30 Cecil Street, Ours Was the Fen Country and Of Riders & Running Horses. More information can be found on our website.

J: What inspired you to make this work?

D: I’ve been wanting to make a work like this for a number of years now. The inspiration originally came from a number of amazing customs, traditions and folk events I had discovered – the tar barrels of Ottery St. Mary in Devon, Old Glory and Pig Dyke Molly dancers and the Whittlesea straw bear festival in East Anglia among them. For me, the immediacy and the humanity of these events and the way in which they brought people together – in a joyful way – really appealed to me as a refreshing alternative to how dance is so often presented to an audience. I loved the close up nature of the performance, that there were no codes to decipher in order to ‘get’ it, the fact that the dancers brought their whole being to the performance. With Of Riders and Running Horses we’ve tried to tap into that spirit whilst using the expertise of everyone involved to make the kind of work that I don’t see so often.

J: What inspired the venue and the scene?

D: In thinking about where to stage this work, I wanted somewhere a little removed from the street, somewhere both public and private where an audience can make the space their own for a night, a place where dance and live music feel a little improbable. Car park rooftops tick all these boxes really nicely for me.

J: How was the creative process?

D: An absolute pleasure. I’ve been honoured to be able to work with an incredible group of performers, musicians and creatives. We had a lot of fun workshopping ideas in the studio – with everyone chipping in to add to the mix. We’d work backwards and forwards between music-led ideas and movement-led stuff – some of which was pre-prepared and some of which we made in the moment in the room from nothing.

J: Where does the name Of Riders and Running Horses come from?

D: It’s an original title – not from a quote or anything. To me it speaks of the relationship between movement and music in the piece and the connection between the two.

J: What made you decide on using live music?

D: The show is all about how we dance to music and the subtle exchange and dialogues between those two elements. To have recorded music would be way less pleasing for me and like we were only hearing half of a conversation.

Book tickets here!