East London arts organisation Certain Blacks in association with Without Walls, the national network for outdoor arts, will be organising the day-long Ensemble Festival at Victoria Docks, Newham on Saturday July 23 from midday to 7pm.
This free programme includes an array of non-stop innovative performance including dance, aerial work, drag (on a bike), acrobatics inside a giant hourglass and poignant storytelling in a heartfelt tribute to lives lost during the pandemic.
Lives of Clay comes courtesy of Vidya Thirunarayan, who works under the artist name The Clay Connection. In Lives of Clay, stories of women from mythology and modern life are brought to life via a potent mix of classical Indian dance, music and half a ton of clay. With text by Vayu Naidu and score by Barry Ganberg, Lives of Clay is full of heart and made of mud. Vidya has over 25 years of experience as both dance artist and ceramicist and combines the Bharatanatyam dance form with the art of pottery as movement, storytelling and throwing pots are combined.
Vidya Thirunarayan says, “A vivid and visceral piece of theatre with Bharata Natyam dance, expressive ceramics and original music. It promises to be a rich sensory treat for all family with a spectacular living set, wonderful original music with a range of instruments from around the world and of course, the joy of seeing clay pots being made on the potter’s wheel! It will be a powerful emotional journey that tells the story of the Indian goddess Parvati and Meena, a brick kiln worker from southern India. A generous portion of messy clay and cheeky humour thrown in too!”
“I hugely look forward to presenting Lives of Clay at the Ensemble festival. This festival is a vibrant celebration of a refreshing notion of diversity in all its dimensions. To be honest I am torn between performing and attending every show in this mouth-watering line up of performances on offer!”
Also at Ensemble festival, Tara Theatre’s Final Farewell offers audiences an audio experience written by Sudha Bhuchar. After listening to authentic accounts of loved ones lost during Covid-19, Sudha wrote Final Farewell under the direction of Abdul Shayek, artistic director and CEO of Tara Theatre. On July 23 there will be multiple opportunities to wander around the Royal Docks with headphones listening to voices and stories of characters Shahin, Baby Han, Ann and Oberon. At the end, audiences and performers are set to gather at a tree installation to reflect on memories of loved ones and commemorate their lives.
“This piece brought together 3 personal covid/ pandemic experiences: Grief, as I had lost my mother during the 3rd wave, and we were unable to celebrate her life or grieve for her in the way that we normally would have done. Also, I listened to a lot of podcasts. The third thing was taking long walks especially during the first lockdown. This piece was about bringing these 3 things together and finding a way to celebrate those lost to us during the pandemic.” says Abdul Shayek on Final Farewell.
Certain Blacks supports the work of diverse artists from different cultural, socio economic and ethnic backgrounds, life experiences and life choices. Operating across a range of art forms including live art, music, dance, circus theatre and digital, July’s Ensemble Festival is the latest Certain Blacks programme on their home turf of Newham.
Saturday July 23, 12-7pm. Western Gateway, Victoria Docks, London E16