Community Engagement Tour @ the Thackray

17 Nov 2023

Saturday 11 November 2023 was a special day for us – not only was it our 42nd birthday (and looking great on it!) but it was our first public performance as part of our very first Community Engagement Tour.

Our dancers delivered special pop-up performances in some very unusual spaces at the wonderful Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds.

On the dank and dingy, but incredibly atmospheric, Disease Street (complete with added Victorian smells!) Dorna Ashory and Carina Howard emerged on hands and knees from the Black Dog Pub to the sounds of David Preston’s newly commissioned music. They performed an exclusive excerpt from Miguel Altunaga’s new work in creation for Phoenix. Cloudburst will receive its world premiere next February as part of our BELONGING: Loss. Legacy. Love. tour.

Next up was a performance in a very different theatre setting – a Victorian operating theatre! The operating table was replaced by Yasmina Patel performing her heartbreaking ‘Lacrimosa’ solo from Dane Hurst’s Requiem.

Visitors then moved upstairs to the In Focus exhibition space for the tender ‘Recodore‘ section of Requiem, movingly danced by Hannah McGlashon, Teige Bisnought and Dylan Springer.

Thank you to everyone who came. We loved being there, and the audience reaction from children and adults alike was fantastic – it was very special to offer many of the visitors their first experience of live dance. Here’s some of the feedback!

“The dancers were really good. It was really nice”

“I love how movement and dancing connected with people, and how people connected with each other in social, historic and medical contextual setting.  It brought the museum alive! I hope Phoenix Theatre do more performances at the Thackray Museum in the future.”

“It was fantastic – thank you!”

“it was very dramatic … it was like the choreographer was trying to convey a message of people struggling. In the first dance it was like people were trying to fight each other to get something”

“the fact the dancers were interactive with the children in the operating theatre really got the parents’ attention. And the children were engaged, my son even said to me, “I wish she comes to me again!” – that was so positive”

“there was so much harmony between them, flowing like a wave and a tide, like an ebb and flow, like life, like a relationship, and I really enjoyed that”

“Exciting, dramatic & random at times (but good)!”

“immersive, engaging, fun”

“intense and unknown”

“It was very dramatic and enthusiastic … The first one was a bit crazy but the second one you could kind of tell the meaning. I would like to see the next show!”

Experience for yourself and watch excerpts of the performances below!

Photos & video Rachel Poole

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