Little English

Little English: Another British Museum | Version 1

Gallery 4: British Culture 2002

An installational theatre event in which six performers were exhibited in a ‘museum’, Little English Version 1 was an exploration of nation, culture and the space that ‘belonging’ occupies in our individual and collective sense of identity. It was devised intensively from the stories and experiences of six diverse performers, all residing in London.

The ‘museum’ housed the selection of six contrasting and connecting voices: performance styles were various, and shaped by content and personality. Sensorial memories, dystopian fantasies, facts and football chants played against one another, as the performers negotiated communication despite constraints.

For the audience it was a polyphonic event in which they negotiated individual journeys through the piece, caught in the gaps between performances, intrigued by the detail of the stories, frustrated by the control of the museum and discovering the impossibility of absorbing the whole.

There are too many more stories to be told.

Credits

  • EDevised by the Company
  • EDirector: Sarah Levinsky
  • EDramaturg: Wendy Hubbard
  • EDesigner: Mamoru Iriguchi
  • ELighting Designer: Katherine Williams
  • EPerformers: Abi Abdelhak, Anthony White , Elise Hockley, Loan Tran, Lucy Ellinson, Peter O'Shea

Venue: Camden People’s Theatre

Little English: Another British Museum | Version 2

Gallery 5: The individual and Society, Britain 2002

Version 2 was born out of a desire to take Little English deeper, to gauge out the innards of what ‘national identity’ really meant to us and develop our devising techniques in the process, based on the experience of Version 1.

Another six performers came on board, this time with less obvious cultural differences and apparently more work to find the stories. This time, imagination fused with memory, and individual perspectives eeked out a warm, entertaining and unexpected encounter with the human reality behind the political concept of nation. When cacophony exploded, and no-one could be heard, the performers gambled for the right to tell their story alone.

A different ending every night, unfolding amid the sharing of belongings and wine with a bemused, disorientated and challenged audience, gathering together in a new community, whilst Camden leaked in through the doors and turned the museum inside out.

Credits

  • EDevised by the Company
  • EDirector: Sarah Levinsky
  • EDramaturg: Wendy Hubbard
  • EDesigner: Mamoru Iriguchi
  • ELighting Designer: Katherine Williams
  • EPerformers: Hilda Eusebio, Tara Gadomski, Roger Dunn, Jeremy Hardingham, Maggie Gordon-Walker, Greg McLaren

Venue: Camden People’s Theatre

[Little English was a] fascinating encounter between behaving as a gallery audience, and as a theatre audience [in which] performances were surprising, spiky, idiosyncratic.

Ben Harrison

Theatre Director, Grid Iron Theatre