Farnham’s community dance charity, The Dance Movement, brings a very special immersive dance performance to Farnham, called MASS.
MASS is a performance by Robert Clark which he designed in response to what he sees as the growing disconnection between people as a result of the current political climate. In his own words Clark describes MASS as, “a response to the current environment and societal trends to disengage and disconnect from the world and others around us”.
Rachel Deadman, the Programme Director at The Dance Movement and the powerhouse behind bringing this performance to Farnham says: “MASS is no ordinary performance, as such it is difficult to describe. It falls under a performance category known as immersive theatre, so if you have experienced the secret cinema or any work by Punch Drunk you will have an idea as to what to an immersive experience is.”
In an immersive performance the lines between performer and audience member can become blurred with the audience entering into the world of performance as opposed to sittng back and observing it. MASS is an intimate performance for 36 people (24 audience and 12 performers) who journey through an immersive experience of knowing and un-knowing. The work explores the ideas of human connection and human separation. It questions how we judge strangers and plays with the idea of what can happen when you meet people and get to know them through moving with them.
Rachel has been on a mission to bring MASS to the Farnham Maltings after she first saw it performed in London. She says: “When I saw the show, it had me in happy tears at the end, it is so clever in how it is designed. The audience go through an experience of feeling separated and disconnected from each other, you cannot tell who is who as everyone wears a hooded camouflage coat – which you can see through but prevent you from being identified.”
“The idea of the hood is to set the audience into a heightened state of isolation. As the show progresses the performers lead the audience through a series of dances which are very calm, gentle and easy to follow. These all involve touch and being led around the performance space. What happens over the duration of the show is that slowly and gently audience members let down their guard through experiencing the gentle and caring dances. The hoods of the jacket are finally removed and the performers and audience get to see each other in a new light, as they learn about each other through their capacity to act with kindness rather than competitiveness.”
Farnham’s performances of MASS have developed out of a series of collaborative workshops during October and November and features 6 people from in and around Farnham. Kylan and Jen are students at UCA, Donna Makins, Rachel Deadman and Hannah Chin both live in Farnham and have spent their lives dancing and Mary Branson is from Woking and is a Visual Artist, they will be joined by dancers from the original London cast.
Ticket numbers are limited and cost £12 / £10 (conc.). Book tickets here.
What other people say about MASS:
“I found myself moved almost to tears by the sense of social immersion and inclusivity Clark’s ground-breaking work created. It was, to say the least, uplifting.”
“Uncertainty, joy, curiosity and connection. A brave, thoughtful, truly unique, experiential piece, that enabled the audience’ to create their own event. Fascinating, thank you.”
“Utterly beautiful evening shared with fellow human beings… Mesmerising, evocative; familiar and unfamiliar all at once. I’ve never experienced anything like it – thank you!”
About Robert Clark
Robert Clark is a choreographer working across a range of contexts. From the stage, to intimate 1-1 performance encounters; at the core of Robert’s work is a commitment to curiosity, the belief that empathy is the foundation upon which meaningful communication happens, and the desire for his productions to act as a catalyst for change, on the internal, personal and societal level. Robert performed in SHUTDOWN with Vincent Dance Theatre in February 2019 here at the Farnham Maltings.