Working with Children III (2020)

Working with Children is a choreographic essay that looks at the ethics of working with children in contemporary performance and at shame, the most mercurial emotion. Against a projected text that sits behind and above the children´s heads, 7 children create choreography live in front of the audience. The movement will at times correspond – quite by accident, by suggestion, or by association – with the projected text, so the work of the children constantly slides in and out of focus.

The essay follows a fictional complaint made by one of the parents about some presumably inappropriate content that came up during rehearsal. The subject of the content is never revealed. Perhaps what I said is nothing, or maybe it is actually so inappropriate I couldn’t possibly disclose it.

This final piece in the Working with Children “trilogy” is the culmination of 3 years and 2 previous attempts. This is the one that works the way I originally intended or hoped it would. Curiously I persisted with the show after its initial 2018 premiere because I was determined to work out what went wrong (how could I go so wrong?) and how could I fix it, as if it were something broken. Inevitably woven into reflections on working with children, safe spaces and advisory warnings, is a very real study of shame. I didn’t set out to make a piece about failure, but there’s a bit of that in there too. Failure, insistence, an imploding text, whirlwinds of thought all caught up in each other: what can we say, what can’t we say, who can say it, and who can not?

Written & Directed by NICOLA GUNN
Performance & Choreography NICOLA GUNN and 7 CHILDREN
Sound Design DUANE MORRISON and CRAIG WELLS
Lighting Design NICOLA GUNN and HANS SKOGEN
Costume Design NATALIE SEIFERT ELIASSEN
Production Management & Lighting Re-Draw GWEN GILCHRIST

This production was generously supported by Norsk Kulturrådet, Bit Teatergarasjen, Carte Blanche and Bergen Dansesenter.