Monday, 25 October 2010

Interview with Roger Ely

We met with Roger Ely this week at his home in London.  Roger studied at Leeds College of Art and was a contemporary of Dave Stephens.  His tutors included John Darling and Jeff Nuttall, and Roger went on to become a key figure in the performance art scene as a writer, artist and programmer.   

In 1977, along with Neil Butler, Roger put on the first Brighton Festival of Contemporary Arts, featuring the likes of Shirley Cameron, Roland Miller, Throbbing Gristle, IOU and many, many others.  Then, in  1979 he was one of the founders of Primary Source magazine which sadly ended after 8 issues but is still a great read if you have the opportunity.  Roger has also toured as an artist, including with Dave Stephens and Ian Hinchliffe as Matchbox Purveyors.

We hope to meet with Roger again before the end of the project, but would like to thank him for meeting with us and contributing to our research.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Conversation with Janek Alexander

Heike was invited to chair a public conversation today with Janek Alexander, director of Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, about his performance work in the 1970s and 1980s. Janek was part of an extraordinarily vibrant and diverse performance scene, which included Cardiff Laboratory Theatre, Pauper's Carnival and Moving Being, all resident at Chapter in the 1970s.
Janek made an extraordinary debut in 1976 with Howard Hughes, a performance described by Mike Pearson as ‘a tour de force’. He went on to create ten more substantial pieces of work in a quest to develop a new form of minimalist "anti-theatre". Previously unseen video footage, rare audio recordings and contributions from former collaborators (Karen McGregor, Karen Lucas, Dave Perry and Paul Turner) and Alexander himself explored this unique body of work and the first decade of experimentation at Chapter.

More information:

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Interview with Marty St James

Marty St James on 'Mr & Mrs', HTV (1977) Image courtesy of Marty St James

  We interviewed Marty St James, Professor of Fine Art at the University of Hertfordshire and former student of Cardiff College of Art at his London studio this week. Marty has been making performance work since his late teens, working with Ian Hinchliffe, Rob Con, Roland Miller and Shirley Cameron amongst many others.

At Cardiff, he made a number of pieces for the symposium that John Gingell ran in the Reardon Smith auditorium, and made an appearance on the HTV show 'Mr and Mrs' as part of his final year show. After graduating, he continued to produce conceptual and performance pieces around Wales, including his 'Morris 1000 Dancing' which visited a number of towns and villages, and 'I'll See You' which he presented at several art centres.

We would like to thank Marty for allowing us to interview him, and also for his help in identifying some of the images of his work that we have found in different archives.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Sited interview: Mike Pearson at Chapter

Yesterday we travelled to Cardiff to interview Mike Pearson around the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff.  This followed on from the series of sited interviews we did with Mike around Cardiff last November that included various spaces within Cardiff University, Llanover Hall and the Sherman Theatre. 

Mike has been involved with Chapter since its inception 40 years ago, and was one of the first people to move into the building and produce work, firstly with Transitions, later with Cardiff Lab.  He also witnessed many performances by a number of artists and groups including Nigel Rolfe, Pip Simmons and Moving Being.

We hope that this will be the first in a series of interviews around Chapter with people.

Thanks to Mike for his recollections and taking us on a tour of the building as he knew it, and to James Tyson and his colleagues at Chapter for making this possible.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Lectures and Presentations

It's been a busy summer - we have been doing a number of presentations and lectures about the project at different events - here are some of them.
For a full list visit:

SYMPOSIUM PRESENTATION AND CHAIR (Heike): "Living Archives - Session with Rose English and Anne Bean"
Performing Idea symposium, part of Performance Matters, Goldsmiths University of London, Roehampton University and Live Art Development Agency, funded by an AHRC Research Grant, Whitechapel Gallery and Toynbee Studios, 6 October 2010. Details

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION (Heike): "Performance art (in) history: disconnecting traditions, connecting histories"
"TAPRA: History and Historiography Working Group", TaPRA THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE RESEARCH ASSOCIATION conference, Glamorgan University, Cardiff 9–11 September 2010. Details

PRESENTATION (Heike and Rebecca)What's Welsh for Performance?- Creating a record of performance art in Wales
"Documentation and the Cultural Record" session at Culture Colony-Y Wladfa Newydd launch day, 7 September 2010, Aberystwyth Arts Centre. More information and documentationresponse

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION (Heike): "Teaching the Avant-garde - (Mis)Performing Pedagogies"
"MISperformance -an inverted approach to doing Performance Studies (international?) - PSi15 follow-up event" conference, Rijeka, Croatia 3–5 September 2010.

PRESENTATION (Heike and Rebecca):"'Welsh Not': Performing Wales in 1970s Performance Art"
"Theorizing Wales: Gender, Culture, Politics" conference, Swansea University, Gregynog 12–14 July 2010. Details

CONFERENCE PRESENTATION (Heike): Performing An Oral History of Performance Art in Wales
"[Record] [Create] Oral History in Art, Craft and Design (Oral History Society Annual Conference 2010)" conference,Victoria & Albert Museum London, 2+3 July 2010. Details

Monday, 4 October 2010

Interview with Dave Stephens

We travelled down to Brighton this week to meet with Dave Stephens at his home.  Dave is originally from Cardiff, and studied for his Art Foundation at Cardiff College of Art before moving to Leeds College of Art for his degree.

At art college Dave began performing monologues on different subjects; sometimes confessional, sometimes provocative, he went on to tour the UK, Europe and North America.  His final show was at the Central School of Art in 1985 and he has not performed since.

We would like to thank Dave for his generosity and hospitality, and for talking to us about his performance career.  Also, we'd like to thank Matt Page for filming the interview for us.