The Long Lens blog: Photography with added snaps, art and culture

The photography site for sore eyes. Featuring: Art, photography, performance and theatre. With extra writing because I'm also a writer.

PREVIEW: Emergency at Z Arts (Manchester) Oct 1 2016

Twenty-nine performances take place at one venue in Manchester tomorrow (Oct 1, 2016). Yes, 29. Yes, performances. This is Emergency.

When I say performances, I’m talking about everything from theatre-style shows (with acting of sorts, rehearsed dialogue and the use of props) to intimate one-to-one interventions where there will be just you (single audience member) and the performer, who will usually be doing something clever, moving, poignant and memorable (or all four of those things of they’re very good).

The difference between all these shows and the type of conventional theatre you may have seen before (plays, panto etc) is that usually the performances are done by the same people who wrote the piece. That’s why in live art and contemporary performance (for this is what this event is) they don’t like being called actors. They are writers, artists, performers and often their own directors and producers as well.

Having said that, some of these shows have a huge production ethos and have had dozens of people involved in their creation (including mentors, producers, directors, advisors etc).

This usually means these shows are very good. But what is best about them – and why I think these performers are so far ahead of the kind of plays you see in conventional theatre is that these people have something to say. Something important. Often, they are quoting their own lives and experiences, or ironically criticising the lives of others with spoken word, movement, video or whatever medium they think will enhance the overall enjoyment and experience of the audience.

That’s why, if you’ve never been to a contemporary performance event, or area little scared of doing a one-to-one event, you should give it a go.Did I mention that the vent is FREE? – largely down to the miracles performed by a Manchester-based arts production company called Word of Warning.

Noon til 10pm at Z Arts. There’s no excuse not to come. You’ll discover something memorable – and then you never know what else might happen. You could even end up in bed with Jen Morgan.


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These images are of artists who are appearing at Emergency, taken by me at previous arts events. From top to bottom they are: Ron Gregson, Ali Wilson, Jen Morgan, Toni-Dee Paul and Charlotte Berry.

I’ll be photographing all the artists (hopefully) during Emergency.


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This entry was posted on September 30, 2016 by in contemporary art, Uncategorized and tagged , , , .
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