Dorothy Max Prior has over thirty years experience in the performing arts – from punk-rock drummer to performance artist; ballroom dance teacher to street arts choreographer and site-specific theatre-maker. She has an ongoing interest in social dance, vaudeville, puppetry, and popular theatre, and she endeavours to both honour and usurp those traditions in her performance work.
Her focus is on work that is placed outside of regular theatre and arts spaces; in work that blurs the boundaries between artist and audience; and in work that challenges restricted and outmoded expectations of ‘community and participatory arts’. Much of her work takes place in public spaces, or is created to be responsive to one particular site, or to a certain genre of sites (public buses, beaches or ballrooms, for example!)
Dorothy's Shoes likes best to create new work for new environments, and would love to hear from anyone with an interesting site/venue/festival seeking unusual interactive / immersive performances and installation works. These works can range from small-scale installation and promenade works/public space interventions, to large-scale whole-evening immersive performance events. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to start a conversation about possibilities.
Dorothy's Shoes can also re-work existing pieces for new places. Pre-existing works that can be commissioned for reworking in new environments include:
Behind the Moon, Beyond the Rain (originally commissioned by Anglo-Brazilian festival LIFT/BR-116 2011)
Audience (both those in the know, and those encountered along the way) are taken on a fairy-tale journey across a city. Taking its inspiration not only from The Wizard of Oz but also from a whole wealth of folk and fairy tales about ‘journeying’ and ‘migration' the piece is an interactive/participatory promenade performance through streets, public spaces, and on public transport.
It is inspired by the notion that all strangers are friends that you haven’t yet met, and that everything you need in life is here right in front of you, within grasp. It aims to distract passers-by momentarily from their daily lives, and to activate the environment around each small intervention. The piece is seen as a psychogeographic journey that gives homage in small ways to geographical/architectural landmarks along the chosen route, and engages passing members of the public (in streets, at bus stops, at stations, in parks, by canals or rivers) in gently surreal encounters and non-threatening interventions to daily life. Encounters can include: communal singing on a bus; dancing a waltz along tree-lined avenues; a picnic in the wilderness; joining a carnival procession along a station walkway. The piece is substantially reworked for each new environment and responds to architecture, landscape, history and community in the chosen site(s).
Flying Down to Rio, (co-commissioned by Sacred Festival at Chelsea Theatre in London, 2011, and Entre_Lugares at Sergio Porto in Rio 2012)
Experience Fred and Ginger ‘Doing the Carioca’, and indulge your secret love of samba-kitsch at the Copacabana with Barry Manilow. Come to a carnival in a closet, visit the Michael Jackson shrine, and explore your fantasy self at the pound-store fancy dress stall. Flying Down to Rio is an idiosyncratic response to a real and imagined Rio – an immersive installation and performance set in a specially-created dancehall environment, offering a reflection on cultural tourism. Audience members are guests in the 'dancehall' and experience a full two-hour programme of performance, film, installation/sculptures, and interactive activity – with plenty of opportunity to join the dance. Created in collaboration with Matthew Blacklock, with design/installations by Isobel Smith, sound by James Foz Foster, photography by Natasha Nixon, and film by Gabriel Foster Prior and Rosie Powell.
Dorothy's Shoes presents The Toytown Bordello (supported by the Basement Arts Centre, Brighton, where it was a regular monthly fixture under the name Basement Bordello for three seasons 2008–2010)
The Bordello is a an evening (up to three hours) of immersive and interactive performance and installation, set around a whole venue, with three or more distinct spaces: The Ballroom That Time Forgot, a dancehall where one can encounter extraordinary reworkings of classic ballroom/social dances; the Sideshow of Shadows film/installation room; the Badstock Bar Staad for music, table-top puppetry, games, and truly live art; and perhaps also a Secret Attic/Cupboard/Basement for small-scale and intimate installation work. Dorothy's Shoes works with the host venue to find the best use of the available spaces for each Bordello. Led and hosted by a core team of four artists (Dorothy Max Prior, Matthew Blacklock, Isobel Smith, and James Foz Foster), with other artists invited to contribute to each special evening. Previous regular collaborators have included Lillian Henley of 1927 theatre company, The Baron Gilvan, Paul Harrison of X-Piano, Ragroof Theatre members, Katie Etheridge, and Tom Adams of The Gentlemen Friends. There is an option of working with artists local to each venue hosting the Bordello, to include their work in the evening's programme.
A Doll's House – After Ibsen
A sound and vision sculpture of found objects/ sound installation, featuring a specially composed soundscape. The piece references Ibsen's classic text through visual images/artefacts placed in and around a modified doll's house, accompanied by a soundscape of deconstructed text, music and found sound. Originally created for Clockworks – Live Art in a Shop Window for Brighton Festival 2005, the piece was reworked/remounted in 2009 and is currently available. It can be placed in a variety of different environment, inside a small space of a gallery or venue, or as originally intended inside a shop window, the sculture viewed through glass and the soundscape heard through a grating or other outlet. Can run on a loop for as long as is required.
Kissing the Gunner's Daughter
A peep-show inspired by fairy tales, myths, legends and true-life stories about the sea – from the Little Mermaid to Moby Dick, the Titanic to the Costa Concordia – created in collaboration with visual artist/sculptor/ puppeteer Isobel Smith of Grist to the Mill and composer James Foz Foster, and commissioned by Dip Your Toe / Nightingale Theatre for Brighton Festival 2012. The show, set inside its own specially-constructed 'bathing machine', is available for a full day of installation and performance at street theatre events and other festivals. See http://dipyourtoe.electra-2.titaninternet.co.uk/