by WinGuide editor Donald Hutera
They’re fabulous but flawed, fertile…or is it febrile? Maybe a little freaky or finicky, and sometimes fraught or fragile, too, but frankly funny and fantastic.
And they’re all female.
Under the auspices of Theatre Royal Winchester, veteran dance writer, theatre-goer and arts-loving journalist Donald (The Times) Hutera hosts an evening of performances on March 10, 2016 in celebration of International Women’s Day. Featuring a handful of artists, a selection of small but stimulating performances will occur just across the road in the cosy auditorium of the Discovery Centre from 7.45pm.
GOlive was born in Kentish Town in 2013 as a month-long, dance-based performance festival, As it has evolved it has become a creative arts laboratory for a wide range of women and men who are interested in taking risks, making discoveries and generating fresh thoughts and serious fun. GOlive landed in Winchester on two previous occasions: in 2014 by special invitation to the University of Winchester and, the following year, to the venerable and welcoming Chesil Theatre. It has since visited Oxford where, having been hosted for four nights by Oxford Playhouse in the Burton Taylor Studio last summer, it will return this coming July 13-16 at The Old Fire station. There are also plans to venture further afield in the UK and abroad.
Specialising in short, sharp and surprising works in an intimate setting, Women GOlive – as I’ve dubbed these specifically all-female evenings – offers up an assortment of global flavours from a uniquely female perspective. This one-night mini-festival at the Discovery Centre is a chance to spend time in the company of a handful of inventive, enquiring and highly entertaining women who span several generations.
I didn’t plan on becoming the curatorial version of a feminist brother or, as I now call myself with tongue only partly in cheek, a ‘fembro.’ It came about quite organically when I first started selecting and presenting live work at the invitation of GOlive co-founder and producer George Sallis. Most of the submissions we received were from female choreographers, performers and makers. As GOlive has developed it’s become increasingly obvious that many of the plum opportunities elsewhere in the dance sector continue to be offered to men. Meanwhile there are boatloads of women who, for numerous and rather complicated reasons, are being overlooked or given short shrift. I don’t claim that Women GOlive will solve all or, indeed, any of the bigger socio-economic issues. But what it can do is shine a light on some truly gifted people and, in its own modest yet vital way, maybe help redress the balance.
The roster of artists taking part in the show at the Discovery Centre on March 10 features many GOlive mainstays. They include, in alphabetical order:
*Avatara Ayuso, originally from Spain, is currently a key member of Shobana Jeyasingh’s eponymous dance company. She’s also an authentic force in dance in her own right. Avatara is creating a new work abroad this month, but in Winchester she’ll be represented by a deliciously tasty film called ‘Dance, Pumpkin, Dance!’
*Susan Kempster hails from Australia but spent decades based in Madrid before settling in the UK. Often a figure of tragicomic daring, in Winchester she’s presenting a beautifully low-key solo called My Own Private Movie which involves gentle and revealing audience participation.
*Sarah Kent, formerly Time Out’s visual arts editor, has since she left that magazine to become a defiantly funny improviser. This brainy, lithe and witty septuagenarian is keen to share a scintillating slant on the world and her place in it.
*Alice Labant is petite but her onstage presence carries a potentially titanic impact. Not yet a household name, this young French woman’s solo Je m’appelle Reviens is set to a whirring machine soundtrack that we plan to experimentally extend with the help of a small ‘orchestra’ of household appliances.
*Gloria Sanvicente Amor, also from Spain, is a multi-disciplinary performer who exudes an aura of sensual, possibly dangerous mystery and yet she can be a clown, too.
*Lorna V, of Greek-Cypriot heritage and another Time Out alumnus, is a self-scripted performer with a blazing personality. We’re proud that GOlive has kick-started this savvy writer’s acting career. In Winchester she’ll introduces audience to Aliki, the incomparable Greco-Argentine dance diva to the stars.
Altogether I’m hugely pleased that GOlive has attracted a group of women so varied in terms of their backgrounds, skills and temperaments, and so engaging. It’s going to be a fun night.