This is a tourist tour with a difference. As in a conventional tourist experience I’ll tell you about the building were in, you’ll learn about its architecture and its history and see its spaces, but you’ll also hear and see many other things: strange objects, obscure photos, a slide show of family snap shots, personal stories, theoretical musings. Oh, and a film of my mother as an angel, dancing.
It began as a sequel to Aide-memoire, my first piece in the guided tour format. Aide-memoire was intimately bonded with its location at Somerset House. It could never have made sense anywhere else. Guided Tour, however, was loosened from its moorings, able to temporarily attach itself to any building, absorb its story and move beyond it into realms of association and imagination.
Although the content wasn’t always directly about the building in question, I found the mood or tone of the piece hugely informed by each location, its audience, and its context. In Bucharest it felt like a ghost story, in Singapore a melancholic sharing. In Arizona it somehow became hilarious. In each case I relished the change of colour and light, enjoying these shift in mood like the changing of the seasons over a familiar landscape.
Guided Tour is a promenade performance sited in an historic building. Guided Tour was premiered at McEwan Hall at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2005, in association with the Traverse Theatre as part of the British Council Showcase.
Pick of the week The Guardian
‘divertingly smart’ Financial Times
‘It’s a tourist outing for deconstructionists’ The Scotsman
‘takes us down a fascinating road of cultural discovery’
Steve Cramer The List ★★★★
McEwan Hall, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh 2005
(British Council Showcase)
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
National Museum of Singapore
Gammage Auditorium, Arizona
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
(in association with Warhol Museum and Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts 2008)
Teatro de la Laboral, Gijon, Spain
(as part of S.P.A.C.E. UK 2009)
Vancouver Art Gallery 2012