Pink Fringe Picnic, Brighton Pride 2012

The Dip Your Toe bathing machines came out at the Pink Fringe Picnic for Brighton pride 2012. The six machines hosted and gave a backdrop to performances and activities taking place in New Steine Gardens on the Sunday of Pride. This super fun day out was part of a series of queer cultural events programmed by Pink Fringe alongside the Pride celebrations across the city.

The legendary Bette Bourne performed extracts from Tim Fountain’s play Resident Alien,  based on the life and writings of Quentin Crisp, which Bette starred in at the Bush Theatre and in the play’s subsequent sell-out tours. 

Artist and life-model Kate Shields gave picnic attenders the chance to draw (fully-clothed) models in her Regency Life Drawing class.

The Terrible Shaman, brainchild of Inconvenient Spoof roamed freely around their bathing machine home, and made friends with audiences and (fairly surprised) passers by.

Boogaloo Stu brought back his wonderful interactive craft performance, Puppet Paramour. Once again audiences had the chance to create their real or ideal life-partner in sock puppet form.

And with songs from Lorraine Bowen, Mariana Harlotta’s Perfect Pop-Opera, Timberlina’s Drag Up Your Molly Spoon and chances to get involved  in interactive performances all afternoon, everybody had a grand old time!

 

 

 

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Dip Your Toe Wins Latest Awards

Dip Your Toe Producer Faith Dodkins and Production Manager Greg Mickelborough

Last night’s Latest Awards ceremony saw Dip Your Toe pick up the awards for Most Groundbreaking Act and Star of The Festival. It’s been a fantastic month at Brighton Fringe and the Dip Your Toe bathing machines have clearly made a great impact.

The Nightingale, The Marlborough Theatre and Brighton Fringe were thrilled to receive the Latest Awards, and also to hear that Dip Your Toe has been given an Argus Angel Critics’ Choice Award.

the Nightingale Artistic Director Steven Brett would like to thank the team himself…

In no particular order – it takes a special person to have the idea, the mad idea…and then suggest it as not only feasible but uniquely apt for the ‘other’ project we were looking to respond to.  David Sheppeard of The Marlborough Theatre was that visionary.  The man who had the audacity to say ‘This is what we should do’.  Thank you David for starting us off on such an adventure.

Then the team assembled.  Trusted professionals who also saw the potential to create some real landmarks for Brighton – Firstly, and most closely Kate Gowar, my friend and mind reader, as the ever positive and practical mind who saw precisely how to make it happen and who else we needed; Janine Fletcher who jumped up and dived in; our partners at Brighton Fringe who stepped out of a tradition and supported a single project (mind you, who wouldn’t!); Faith Dodkins who has been a picture of efficiency and calm in a storm of activity; Greg Mickelborough who has already erected 14 bathing machines in eight different sites before we have properly started and is still enthusiastic; Liberty Martin who has lead, with a tireless smile and enthusiasm, on keeping us all informed of what has been happening where and how (and got me to blog!); Paul Farringdon who gave us a memorable logo and web; Alice Booth, Craig Mathewson and Lesley Wood who have strived to find our extra funding; and Eddie Crowther and his team who built our precious babies with vigour and no little bemusement.  And that is just the producing team!

Audiences enjoy Boogaloo Stu’s bathing machine on Madeira Drive

The real accolades, though, will, and should, go to all the artists and their creative teams who have had the vision to take an off the wall idea and make something really special to inhabit each bathing machine.  To make it truly their own.  To live with their own ideas.  To battle with those ideas, because performing art is not always a stroll through the theatrical park, and come out the other end with works which have become part of their machines.

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So far in the Dip Your Toe journey

Over the past few weeks, you may have spotted around Brighton centre and along the shore, the resurrection of several Victorian-style bathing machines. No, your eyes have not deceived you; these six replica bathing machines are the creation of the Nightingale, working with The Malborough Theatre and Brighton Fringe, to celebrate the maiden voyage of Lone Twin’s The Boat Project

Positioned in key spots around the city, including Brighton train station, the West Pier, and Churchill Square, these spectacular machines have been the platform from which a variety of South East artists have been commissioned to develop new ideas. Performances happen both within the bathing machines, and around them, ensuring a different experience with each encounter. Each weekend in May will see the bathing machines come alive, buzzing with creative activities, from a piece worked around a working camera obscura, to the revealing of memories you may (or may not!) have had, each bathing machine has been interpreted and utilised in such different ways. Dip Your Toe has already had two very successful weekends of street performance, and still have another two to come.

Reviewed by Alice Jones of The Independent as “by far the most exciting commission of the festival” (read the four star Independent review here), the Dip Your Toe programme has so far been met by glowing responses.

Puppet maestro Boogaloo Stu’s whimsical piece, which involves describing your ideal lover, was given a **** rating by Latest7

A Small Museum of Displaced Sea, reviewed as “a particular gem” of the Dip Your Toe programme is a miniature musuem with collected memories of the coast inside.

Based on the concept that theatre can happen anywhere, Dip Your Toe takes full advantage of this and provides a treat for the audience. With a mix of free and ticketed events, Dip Your Toe is a must-see for any budget.

Having acted a steward for several of the bathing machines, I’ve seen the reactions of the visitors to the machines. Vivascope is consistently well received and delights the intimate audience of 5 with each reveal of the camera obscura. 

Located outside Brighton Station, Swimming in the Persian Sea is a piece based around the stories of local Iranian women, and artist Philippa Vafadari tells tales from bathing in burkinis to exile in Brighton, and is quoted to be “well worth dipping in to”.

Artistic director of the Nightingale, Steven Brett, said: “It’s a producer’s dream when a project becomes so much more than you imagined it could be when you first embarked on the journey, and with all the fantastic people involved, Dip Your Toe is doing just that.”

All six of the beautiful machines will be out and about this weekend, and will all meet together on Madeira Drive to wave goodbye the the Lone Twin Boat on the last weekend of May. The weather is due to be clear and dry this weekend (fingers crossed!), so no excuse not to pay the bathing machines a visit!

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witnesstoexperience

Continuing my thought process from the other day regarding how the space of the fringe is defined, I’m now thinking what happens when this space is home? How does the fringe setting up camp alter the way you perceive – or exist in – the place you live? Does it have any effect at all, or can the fringe just pass you by?

I’ve lived in the same city as Brighton Fringe for four years and yet it wasn’t until this year that I’ve really gotten stuck into it. And yes obviously this has a lot to do with the fact that I’m putting on a show this year, but does it also mean you need some sort of special participant’s key to truly unlock the world of the festival?

It’s true that this year I’ve certainly felt the buzz of excitement a lot more, and I also think this…

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Vivascope is on the beach!

Vivascope arrives at the West Pier

We’ve written a bit about our experiences of getting it this far on the Vivascope blog
– Seth & Zoe

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Dip Your Toe -what a journey

I can hardly  believe that in just 10 days there will be six beautiful bathing machines dotted around Brighton bringing to life a dream, an idea, an ideal started just over a year ago.  There will be time to digest how the whole project works, but for the moment I would like to gasp deeply and acknowledge the journey so far and especially those who have contributed so, so much.

For my part, it is one thing to have an idea – it is quite another to harness the talents of so many in order to make that a reality.  There are so many talented people working tirelessly and generously, to make six wooden sheds on wheels splendidly magical experiences.

In no particular order – it takes a special person to have the idea, the mad idea…and then suggest it as not only feasible but uniquely apt for the ‘other’ project we were looking to respond to.  David Sheppeard was that visionary.  The man who had the audacity to say ‘This is what we should do’.  Thank you David for starting us off on such an adventure.

Then the team assembled.  Trusted professionals who also saw the potential to create some real landmarks for Brighton – Firstly, and most closely Kate Gowar, my friend and mind reader, as the ever positive and practical mind who saw precisely how to make it happen and who else we needed; Janine Fletcher who jumped up and dived in; our partners at Brighton Fringe who stepped out of a tradition and supported a singel project (mind you, who wouldn’t!); Faith Dodkins who has been a picture of efficiency and calm when all around her…well you know how it goes!; Greg Mickelborough who has already erected 14 bathing machines in eight different sites before we have properly started and is still enthusiastic; Liberty Martin who has lead, with a tireless smile and enthusiasm, on keeping us all informed of what has been happening where and how (and got me to blog!); Paul Farringdon who gave us a memorable logo and web; Alice Booth, Craig Mathewson and Lesley Wood who have strived to find our extra funding; and Eddie Crowther and his team who built our precious babies with vigour and no little bemusement.  And that is just the producing team!

The real accolades, though, will, and should, go to all the artists and their creative teams who have had the vision to take an off the wall idea and make something really special to inhabit each bathing machine.  To make it truly their own.  To live with their own ideas.  To battle with those ideas, because performing art is not always a stroll through the theatrical park, and come out the other end with works which have become part of their machines.

I am so excited to see them all adorning the streets of Brighton.  Each a world to discover be that for five, ten, 20 or 60 minutes.  I am so proud, too, of all the above and so many more who have boldly gone where angels feared to tread and create (and indeed recreate) a little bit of Brighton history.

From the sea – an inspiration and beautiful small world reality.

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Strandline – the giant kaleidoscope cometh

We have been beavering away and now am in the final stages of putting our giant kaleidoscope together.

Although its been pretty cold in St Marks church we worked up a sweat putting the kaleidoscope together over 3m squared of glass and wood. That’s a lot of bad luck and a lot of swearing if they smashed but less speed more haste was the name of the game for its construction. Fingers crossed that it will be ok in the real set up for the 5th May.

Set up and ready to go, the kaleidoscope looks the business and we were squealing with joy on how beautiful it all looks.

So, final edit to be done, soundtrack to be added, blacks to be sewn and attached, then breathe!!

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