Grimethorpe dial up powerful connection with Locked down performance

Grimethorpe Colliery Band's link to a dance collaboration project makes a powerful melodramatic impact with arts critics.

  The project was described as vastly entertaining

Grimethorpe Colliery Band's involvement in the imaginative arts project, 'Locked down. Locked in. But living', has created a favourable impression with arts critics.

Writing in The Guardian, Lyndsey Winhap said that it made "a powerful connection…as a response to the pandemic."

Dial H for Hitchcock

The project saw the band's recorded performance of composer Nigel Clarke's 'Dial H for Hitchcock' form part of a series of multi-genre artistic collaborations given world premieres at the award winning Lawrence Batley Theatre Huddersfield.

'Locked down. Locked in. But living' saw a trio of critically-acclaimed UK dance companies give on-line world premiere performance within the theatre reflecting on the current situation facing individuals, ensembles and venues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The triptych comprised a brace of contemporary dance solos and a short ballet, and was produced by Studio Wayne McGregor, Northern Ballet and the Gary Clarke Company respectively.

Alice in Wonderland

Grimethorpe was involved in the third, 'But Living' — a contemporary solo feature work performed by dancer Gavin Coward. It was directed by the acclaimed British choreographer Gary Clarke, and was inspired by a recently restored 1903 short film of 'Alice in Wonderland'.

Clarke is no stranger to the brass band world, having been born and raised in Grimethorpe, and having created and directed the 2017 award winning production 'Coal' which featured a small brass ensemble in its performance.

Psychological states

As he told 4BR in a previous interview: "'But living' flips the tale on its head and can be seen as a metaphor for the alarming situation people find themselves in today.

Alice is no longer trapped in Wonderland, but instead animates the unseen labyrinth of the whole architecture of the amazing Lawrence Batley Theatre — not just the stage.

I wanted dancer Gavin Coward to embody all of the different psychological states experienced during lockdown; capturing elements of entrapment, isolation, loneliness and escapism which in many ways are similar to the emotions experienced by Alice as she tries to navigate her way through Wonderland."

With the style of a silent movie and a richly melodramatic soundtrack in Nigel Clarke's 'Dial H for Hitchcock', played by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, the camera catches, and creates claustrophobiaThe Guardian

Great fun

The Guardian review said Clarke had "great fun with the concept, taking an Alice in Wonderland approach.

With the style of a silent movie and a richly melodramatic soundtrack in Nigel Clarke's 'Dial H for Hitchcock', played by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, the camera catches, and creates claustrophobia.

Coward cycles through lethargy, restless energy and febrile frustration, eating and drinking stuff he shouldn't and endlessly fiddling with the remote control.

Clarke is always good at connecting with the audience, and despite the depths of fantasy, you can't help but empathise."

Meanwhile the British Theatre Guide called it "vastly entertaining".

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