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!