“none of us had anticipated the degree and nature of the audience participation, but the combination of high art and mischief was quite brilliant. Truly joyful to be allowed/required to be disruptive…”
Alarms & Excursions is probably best known for its provocations. Each year we create one or two new productions that showcase the breadth of talent in our group, and those that we work with. We pick a new theme and spend about six to nine months developing the new work. This involves extensive research, from which we create the broad scope of the piece. Then each member of the team works their magic until we reunite to fine tune it. Provocations are exactly that - we challenge prescriptive old ways of working, turn things on their head, shoot down some sacred cows - apologies for the mixed metaphor, but then we do also like to have some fun. Sometimes we tackle serious issues too, if we feel strongly about them. Chiefly, we want to challenge each other to stretch the boundaries of our practice.
Have a look at some of our Provocations, past and present.
Put That Light Out!
In a change from the more formal and patriotic music and poetry that we associate with remembrance events, and in association with the Friends of the Crystal Palace Subway, Alarms & Excursions entertained an audience of over 200 with poems, stories, dance, songs and jollification from the Home Front of the Second World War; families waiting at home, children being evacuated, servicemen and women on leave, the red tape, the privations and the tribulations of life during the blitz. All this took place in Crystal Palace’s only surviving, public air raid shelter. Two hours of amazing entertainment, from the first warning siren to the sound of the “All Clear”.
For the duration of the raid, the audience was entertained by poets, musicians and storytellers - supporting Irène and Isabel were Graham Campbell; Jazzman John Clarke; Anna Drysdale; Racheal Joseph; John Musgrave; Robin Pilcher; Steve Tasane, Louise Yates and Rosemary Yung.
All in all, a unique experience in a unique space, with a serious message. The performance ended with a minute’s silence and the sounding of the Last Post.
Read the full programme for the event here.
Work in Progress
Isabel's epic poem Souk - a journey through the towns, cities & countryside of 21st century Morocco - had its first outing at London's Loose Muse in April 2017. Inspired by her time spent in the country, Souk will now be developed into a multi-sensory experience, combining elements of Oud accompaniment in performance, photography by Jules Steele and Andrew Borge and design by Kerry Andrews. This will be augmented by a chapbook of the poem featuring some of the images, due for publication at the end of May. Watch this space for more details!
Featuring some of Wash House’s star performers, designed & produced by Emma, Alarms & Excursions brings to life Lewis Carroll’s dark & epic poem, telling the story of the ill-fated expedition to hunt & capture the Snark. The debut performance took place in Nico’s Kitchen as part of the 2016 St Leonard’s Festival curated by our friends at 111 Collectiff. Isabel was ably assisted by Ros Balp, Tony Peek and Antony Mair, all poets residing in Hastings. The audience helped us in our quest, bringing along plenty of chalk, railway shares, bubbles and coats. This is a work in progress with further ideas for developing the piece next year.
Warp and Weft tells the story of 500 years in the history of one of east London’s best known streets, from the Brikk Leyne of the Middle Ages to the melting pot of culture that this street is today.
Cockspur Willie, the Calvinistas, Mr Dumberbeyli and the gals in calico, these are just some of the kitterfisted folk you’ll find on the way. Journey with us through music, spoken word and dance, to experience the rhythms, harmonies and dissonance of this famous street. If you know your kettle curl from your grossgrain, you’ll be right at home.
We are the desvalidas - the underdogs, the destitute, the also rans...
The unifying themes of this event focused on Spanish culture from the 1890s to the end of the Spanish Civil War. What emerged from initial research of the times during which the poets, composers and artists lived became in performance, part fluxus, part zarzuela...
On armistice night 2009, an ensemble of artists from various disciplines gathered in Brockley and Ladywell cemeteries to perform Up the Line. Curated by Platform-7, this was an armistice night with a difference; the cemetery was taken over by poets, dancers, musicians and artists to perform major works in remembrance of the passing of the last two veterans of World War One – Harry Patch and Henry Allingham.