Soap (1990)

Purpose

To create a high-quality performance for city-centre streets, starting with a form that everyone can relate to: a soap opera.

Details

Two performers and two musicians (cello and trumpet), a dining table, double-bed, vacuum cleaner, armchair, boxing gloves and a red carpet...

The performance was directed by Thierry Crozat and one of the episodes inspired by our work with Lloyd Newson of DV8. Soap focused on five 'eventful moments' in the lives of two people. 

The performances drew large crowds in every city with people returning day after day (although of course they could catch up on missed episodes with the Saturday Omnibus).

The Company was featured on radio, television and in the press.

Scene from Episode 3: At home (some time later). Photograph George Pope

Funding

Following the success of Dreams of Midsummer Madness the previous year we had a track record for creating accessible but challenging outdoor work. 

Linked to that was an increasing desire to see art and performance taken on to the streets of towns and cities. We were in a good position to go to local authorities  and arts providers to fund the work.

Soap was supported by the Arts Council, West Yorkshire Grants, the Co-op, and local authorities in Wakefield, Halifax, Leeds and Bradford with additional bookings coming from the likes of Leeds International Film Festival.

The gloves are on. Episode 4 Photograph George Pope

What We Learned

  • We decided to stick with the universal theme of relationships that we had been exploring in our residencies; keep our style of physical performance... and take it right onto the streets.  The response was fabulous.
  • Fifteen minute performances are entirely appropriate to work on the street when people won't stick around for a long time. We actually worked with the concept that, even if someone simply watched the perfromance as they wandered past, they should get something from the imagery and physicality. At the same time, people loved the idea of a series of performances playing out over a week.

I thought I'd seen it all–but this was something different!

Nick Powell

Yorkshire Television