STREETS OF GOLD (in development)

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Gold is power. Gold is the ultimate seduction: from the wrapping of chocolates and cigarettes, to Christian Dior, Rap Star accessories, and the Incan treasures of the New World, gold has fuelled the desires of many generations. We put a gold ring on those we love the most in order to claim them and gold covers the walls and ceilings of religious buildings in most denominations. Streets of Gold takes a popular fairytale of the prosperous metropolis and creates a network of experiences within any given city’s urban landscape. Online and mobile strategies integrated with visual signs placed in the city allow anyone to engage with the work anywhere in the city at any time, becoming active participants and audience members in an experience that gilds the city’s surfaces in a new light. The project will collaborate with local businesses across the city, allowing convenience store owners, taxi drivers, and street cleaners to collaborate on the work and share their stories of what brought them to Bristol. In this way, participants will encounter the inhabitants of their city in new ways as they journey through its streets, following gold and following desire towards surprising new experiences in search of a city where the streets are paved with gold.

Development workshops:
World Stage Design 2013 TESTING symposium, Cardiff, Wales, September 2013.
Footnote Dance Choreolab 2014 season, Wellington, New Zealand, January 2014.
The Festival of Uncertainty 2014, Feasting House, Auckland, New Zealand, March 2014.
Footnote Dance Choreolab 2015 season, Wellington, New Zealand, January 2015.

Streets of Gold is a preposterously large folly of a production concept: involving opera house venues, baroque mathematics, probability equations, and a whole city of participants. The performance is conceived to start in the living rooms of its audience and end with them dancing on stage in their city’s largest and most opulent venue. While it may never reach its full scale of realization, a number of workshops have already been initiated towards this ambitious vision that combines pervasive theatre forms (Blast Theory, Rimini Protocol, Janet Cardiff) with immersive theatre (Punchdrunk, Dreamthinkspeak).

The work divides into two parts: the first takes place in the city, manipulating its social, digital, and visual fabric in order to construct a performance experience for its audience. Afoot in the city, these ‘active spectators’ follow on a performance pathway, receiving guidance from their cell-phones and an audio-track, but mainly from a taxonomy of signs placed through the city using the people of the city and its surfaces. Thus taxi-drivers, public transport, convenience store owners, streetsweepers, etc will all be consigned into a city-wide ‘conspiracy of performance’, guiding the private journeys of our participants towards their next destination.

The second part of the work is a performance designed for a large opera house or proscenium space: the ‘theatre machine’ of Baroque origins and Baroque grandeur. It uses site‐specific pervasive performance and regular proscenium practises together in the same experience. Like the first part it can exist separately from the other, or work together to produce the full vision for the event. In Part 1 audiences navigate city spaces equipped with soundtracks downloaded onto their own ipods/mp3 players/smartphones, to finally arrive at the theatre building . These personalised soundscapes take them on intimate journeys through the city, the architecture of the building: backstage, onstage, and auditorium.

Bringing together a range of diverse artists and art-forms this work also engages with local communities: corner-shops, taxi drivers, street cleaners, local landmarks and businesses will all be involved as collaborative contributors to an event that stretches its net wide, linking central theatre sites with streets and suburbs across the city.

The production investigates the following ideas:

‐ Our age of extravagance and simplicity
‐ The appearance of free will within a larger mechanism or state of control
‐ The baroque folds of nature in conflict with the modernist high‐rise, or the baroque excesses of our current living in conflict with a simpler existence
‐ Conflicts between atomised, personalised performance spaces and grand structures of state / architecture / the dictatorship of the artist, performer, director
‐ Revisiting classic performance traditions: pansori, opera, classical music, dance
‐ A synthesis of pervasive performance and the singularity of the proscenium stage


Performance designer / director, Sam Trubridge
Creative partners (Dance), Footnote Dance Company
Creative partners (Pervasive Theatre), LudiCity
Composer, Bevan Smith
Software and technical engineering, Josh Bailey
Lighting, Marcus McShane
Design assistants, Mathilde Polmard, Amelia Taverner, Margarita Ianev, and Julianne Hjartarsson
Performers, Joanne Hobern

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