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Bluecoat Unveils New Dance Events for 2017


Bluecoat has announced highlights from its upcoming dance programme for 2017.

The events take place as part of INHABIT, Bluecoat’s three year programme of New Dance made possible by support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. The programme aims to engage new audiences, including people who have not previously attended dance workshops and events.

Working in partnership with Bluecoat on INHABIT are three members of the Liverpool Improvisation Collective (LIC); Jo Blowers, Paula Hampson and Mary Prestidge, three seminal artists who have been based in Liverpool for the past 20 years.

Key moments in the INHABIT programme for 2017 include:

  • New opportunities to take part in and experience New Dance through participatory events in Bluecoat’s public spaces.
  • Debut performances of new work performed by LIC members.
  • Guest performers, including Siobhan Davies Dance with a free drop in week-long performance in Bluecoat’s galleries called material / rearranged / to / be
  • Collaboration work with a new group of learning disabled artists from Blue Room, Bluecoat’s inclusive arts programme
  • An ongoing project bringing creative movement and drawing sessions to pupils at a Liverpool primary school.
  • A series of responsive sessions, workshops, professional development opportunities and networking events.

INHABIT intends to establish Liverpool as a centre for new and improvised dance practice regionally and nationally.

The programme announcement is accompanied by a film trailer for INHABIT, created by artist filmmaker Becky Edmunds, which describes the project and its objectives.

The film can be viewed on Bluecoat’s YouTube channel here:

The announcement follows the completion of INHABIT’s first year at Bluecoat. During 2016 LIC delivered a range of events as part of INHABIT. Highlights included a performance in the gallery introducing their work; a gallery tour of the exhibition Left Hand to Back of Head, Object Held Against Right Thigh; a performance by acclaimed Italian improvisation group Company Blu; a two day dance workshop led by disabled artist Claire Cunningham as part of DaDaFest; and contributions to regular Bluecoat events, including Light Night and family weekends.

Upcoming programme:

Weekly from Thu 23 Feb, continuing through the Spring, 2-5pm

Post It

Jo Blowers will hold weekly events around Bluecoat’s building where she will create movement-based visual performances, tell stories and have conversations with the public. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in discussion, and to ‘post’ their thoughts on postcards or the online blog. These reflections and experiences will form part of Jo’s research into the making of performance.

For visitors who wish to participate in INHABIT following Post It sessions, there will be the opportunity to attend further workshops with Jo.

Wed 1, 8, 15, 22 Mar, 2-4pm


Paula Hampson will share aspects of her creative process in public spaces around the Bluecoat building, engaging with the public through film, movement, drawing and dialogue.

Visitors are invited to share stories, memories and ideas about education and learning with Paula during these conversations.

This will form part of her research towards developing a new performance installation in July in conjunction with Bluecoat’s Abacus exhibition.

Thu 15 Jun, 7.30pm

On the Way

Jo Blowers will premiere a new movement based, interdisciplinary performance, some of which will draw on and be influenced by her Post It project. The key themes of the work will include exploring poetics in performance, the relationship between the personal and the universal, the re-enchantment of everyday life, and the desire to transcend ‘Fake News’ and engage in healthy debate.

Thurs 01 July – Sat 09 July 10-6pm daily

Siobhan Davies Dance

material / rearranged / to / be

Siobhan Davies Dance presents an ambitious new performance installation comprised of multiple contributions by choreographers, visual artists and designers.

Exploring our bodies’ capacity to communicate, the work includes performance, film projection and sculptural objects that are presented as an ever-changing arrangement. Visitors entering Bluecoat’s ground floor galleries are immersed in a live environment that evolves around them.

A Siobhan Davies Dance Tour partnership with Barbican, Bluecoat, Tramway and The Whitworth.

Fri 21 July, performances at 4pm and 7pm.

The Wonder Project: Becoming

Paula Hampson will present a new performance work which will reflect upon aspects of teaching and learning within our current school system. Her inquiry starts with children and is inspired by their authenticity, curiosity and potential to learn. Informed by her personal experience and ideas shared in dialogue with young people, parents and educators, the work will incorporate film, projected image, recorded conversations and visual materials. The solo performance will be shown during Bluecoat’s Abacus exhibition in summer 2017, which is themed around children.

Ongoing projects

Blue Room and INHABIT

The Blue Room Dance and Movement Group was formed as part of INHABIT and is made up of members from Blue Room, Bluecoat’s inclusive arts projects for adults with learning disabilities.

Over the past six months this small group have met weekly with LIC members, primarily Mary Prestidge, to explore potential for movement and expressivity and to offer support for each individual to find their own path through dance. This work led to a public performance in October 2016, Expanding the Picture, in conjunction with Mary’s research. The sessions will continue throughout 2017 and will explore a variety of possibilities and opportunities for performance that tie into the INHABIT programme and beyond.

Family Weekends

The LIC artists have also been contributing to Bluecoat’s regular Family Weekends, in collaboration with the Out of the Blue project. This aims to support children and families to engage with the arts and is delivered by Blue Room members and Bluecoat staff.

The next Family Weekend will take place on Saturday 25 – Sunday 26 March

Holy Cross Primary School

In autumn 2016 Paula Hampson facilitated a series of taster sessions for Holy Cross Primary School in Liverpool. These Creative Movement and Making workshops were delivered to children in the nursery, reception and years 1 to 4.

The sessions offered a fun and physical way of being creative with movement to inspire play and curiosity. They explored drawing and mark making in response to their own movement, their partner and the whole group.

From January 2017 onwards Paula will revisit Holy Cross Primary School on a regular basis, facilitating a project with a dedicated group of children to explore their creative interests. This will inform part of her current research around creative learning and experiential approaches to engaging children in movement.

Classes and workshops

Jo Blowers will offer open and professional level classes and workshops throughout INHABIT, as well as sessions with existing groups Fallen Angels, Choir with No Name and Blue Room. Some of these participants will be involved in her Post It! and On the Way performance projects.