Site-responsive performance unravels the history of St Helens

Internationally acclaimed ANU Productions’ new commission, TORCH, will bring an explosive and unsettling new site-responsive performance to the streets of St Helens.

TORCH is part of HELEN, a series of art projects and programmes of work created by partners Heart of Glass, idle women, and ANU Productions and the women of St Helens and made possible by Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence programme. 

Helen proposes a deep and radical need to dismantle in order to reveal, expose and rebuild.  In a town with a higher than national average of domestic abuse, Helen responds to an urgent need to address violence against women in all its forms; the systematic, the structural, the domestic and the social.

Simultaneously uplifting and unsettling, TORCH blurs the edges between the real and imagined, tearing through the town centre in a high octane, blistering unrelenting journey.

ANU’s work delves into historical and contemporary events, bringing the voices of communities and untold stories to the fore; inviting audiences to experience the work through a lens of now-then-now.

ANU has unravelled the complex histories and narratives of St. Helens, working over the past two years in the town with its women, to unearth the untold and forgotten histories of people, time and place.

 “And if we could talk to each other face to face and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, where would we even begin?

The truth is, there are things that go beyond us.  There are feelings that rise and rush over us that we can’t begin to explain, and the truth is we want something more or at least something new and there is a relief in not telling the truth, because the truth is, if we did, the whole town could implode.”