Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter / Salty Sea Dogs Parade


Here are some pics of the St Lukes Salty Sea Dogs Parade, part of Grist to the Mill’s Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter commissioned for Dip your Toe.

A passing parent’s comment made my day: ‘Is that an original Edwardian bathing machine? Are you going to renovate it for the Brighton Festival?’
Ho ho! The machine was freshly back from a transformation in paint and barnacles from Paul Harrison, brief to make the machine look like it had just been dragged from the sea. Mission accomplished! Nice one Paul.

The sun shone, the children paraded beautifully and peeped magnificently. Its quite creepy inside the machine with all those little eyes spying in!

The children also made wonderful cardboard peep-boxes which will be on display in the back of the Fishing Museum during week-end in May.

More children’s work at Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter blog

More about Grist to the Mill

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In the Workshop

Here are some pictures of the first bathing machine mid-build, while it was still all bare in the workshop. From a working camera obscura to A Small Museum of Displaced Sea, each of the six bathing machines will be customised for a new performance.

If a bathing machine can be described as a beach hut on wheels, then this is the hut part…

And these are the wheel parts…

This beautiful specimen was unveiled at the launch of the Brighton Fringe programme, with a fresh coat of paint and a preview performance of Puppet Paramour from the inimitable Boogaloo Stu.

Now, just to make five more like this one…


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Small-Scale Venues For A Large-Scale Theatre Event

Dip Your Toe is a large-scale arts event, produced by the Nightingale with Brighton Fringe and The Marlborough Theatre, to take place in the streets of Brighton to celebrate the Maiden Voyage of Lone Twin’s The Boat Project. This spectacular event will see the creation of six bespoke Victorian-style bathing machines, which will act as intimate new Brighton Fringe venues, in prime locations across the city in May 2012.

Throughout May, all six bathing machines will appear at iconic Brighton landmarks from the West Pier to Madeira Drive. Each bathing machine will be the inspiration and the venue for a series of specially commissioned performances by South East artists. These fascinating replicas will be brought to life as beautifully customised, mobile mini-theatres to house performances every weekend during Brighton Fringe. In addition to their own performances, the artists involved in Dip Your Toe will be working closely with local community groups and schools in Brighton and Hove to develop new works in and around these unique theatre spaces.

The events in Dip Your Toe will form a multi-faceted, interactive performance trail. Audiences can step inside a working camera obscura, and view live performance in the streets outside, with Vivascope from Seth Kriebel and Zoe Bouras, or peep through the walls of a bathing machine to glimpse a mysterious world of shadows, dragged from the depths of the sea, with Kissing The Gunner’s Daughter from Grist To The Mill.

With Swimming in The Persian Gulf, Bandbazi will create an exotic antechamber where you can borrow a human book and learn about the freedom of swimming, as they explore the woman’s view from East and West. Karavan Ensemble’s roving installation A small museum of displaced sea will form a miniature museum of the remembered ocean as they work with older people from the South East to collect memories of the coast.

Boogaloo Stu gets up close and personal with his audience, in his Puppet Paramour and Sock-Puppet Side Show, inviting them into his bathing machine for a one-to-one craft session, where he will make each individual a sock puppet in the image of their real or ideal life-partner.

The sixth bathing machine will host a range of performances from various award winning artists and companies: Strandline – a giant kaleidoscope from Avis Cockbill and David Parker; Green and Pleasant Land – an epic adventure fusing live music and physical story-telling for children aged 10 and upwards from fanSHEN; the Department of Unreliable Memoires from Rachel Blackman and Emma Kilbey of Stillpoint; and a bewitching piece from Matt Rudkin of Inconvenient Spoof, The Terrible Shaman.

the Nightingale’s Artistic Director Steven Brett says: “These new bathing machines will be beautiful to look at, fun and stimulating to experience, all whilst resurrecting almost extinct structures that were once a staple of Brighton beach life. I believe in giving artists free rein and DYT is a perfect vehicle for artists to take the spark of an idea and create something truly unique inspired by these little venues and their remarkable history. 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 shaping up to do just that.”

the Nightingale

the Nightingale believes that theatre can happen anywhere. the Nightingale opens its entire premises to artists and audiences and is a treasured resource for development and residencies. The work of The Nightingale also extends beyond our walls, as we produce off-site projects that bring artists to the streets of Brighton in surprising and engaging ways.

Brighton Fringe

Brighton Fringe is the third largest open-access multi-art form fringe festival in the world, and what makes it exceptional is that it is set in a city with a unique heritage that has set the pace, diversity, creativity and innovative thinking in the city and beyond.

The Boat Project

Dip Your Toe is a large-scale arts event, produced by the Nightingale with Brighton Fringe and The Marlborough Theatre, to take place in the streets of Brighton to celebrate the Maiden Voyage of Lone Twin’s The Boat Project. The Boat Project is a living archive; an extraordinary 30ft sea‐faring yacht made out of wooden objects donated by British individuals and communities. The yacht will make its maiden voyage in May, as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and be met with celebratory arts events at every port where it rests. The first port of call for the Lone Twin Boat will be Brighton Marina between the 19th and the 27th of May.

What is a bathing machine?

A bathing machine can be described as a beach hut on wheels. An 18th Century invention to protect the modesty of bathers, the bathing machine became a familiar feature of the British seaside for almost two hundred years. The replica bathing machines have been designed with input from the UK’s leading expert on beach huts and bathing machines Kathryn Ferry, who is contributing her expertise to the project through talks with the artists and schools involved with Dip Your Toe.

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Artist Callout

The Nightingale, The Marlborough and Brighton Festival Fringe are delighted to offer the opportunity for six artists to work with us to create a truly unique performance adventure.  Dip Your Toe involves us building six Victorian bathing machines, based on a similar design, to be placed around Brighton to celebrate the maiden voyage of Lone Twin’s Boat Project and the Brighton Festival Fringe, May 2012. They will be highly visible, indeed prominent and so we anticipate will attract huge public interest.

Each commissioned artist will be allocated one bathing machine to create two works:

A piece of their own;

And a piece for a school or community group

Both to be performed as part of the Brighton Festival Fringe 2012

The community groups are yet to completely finalised but will likely include:

  • Primary school students aged 7-8, working across a year group with approximately 120 students over the spring term. The interaction with the group will focus on in class activity.
  • Secondary students studying performing arts
  • A Higher Education College working with performing arts students
  • LGBT youth group age range 16-25
  • A Dance Group for Older People 65+

Artists will be selected by a panel of partners from proposals submitted in response to this call out.  Submissions will be accepted from artists from the South East region of England only.  Dip Your Toe will be premiered on the first weekend of the Brighton Festival Fringe on Saturday May 5, 2012.  The work with the community groups will require varying time commitments in the lead up to that date.

Submissions close on Monday December 19

Successful shortlisted applicants must be available for interview on Friday January 6 and possibly Monday January 9

The six selected artists will be announced on Monday January 16

Download the full details of the commission here



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