Look up Physical Theatre in the Oxford Dictionary and this is the definition you’ll find…
“A form of theatre which emphasizes the use of physical movement, as in dance and mime, for expression.”
However Physical Theatre as a performance genre has gone far beyond that simple definition and can be hard to understand in just one sentence. Instead the title has vastly claimed ownership over companies that fall outside of the usual theatrical dance genres and has become a branding that encompasses a range of companies who include highly expressive theatricality, acrobatic physicality, sensitive themes/ issues, combined multimedia and production elements and striking physical imagery in their work.
Still each ‘Physical Theatre Company’ stands for something different and so the labeling of ‘What is Physical Theatre?’ falls to be decided by the audience themselves.
“Maybe it is best not to come looking to the companies for a definition of physical theatre. Maybe we are too close to it and ‘can’t see the woods for the trees.’” (Frantic Assembly Resource Pack 2012)
It is therefore important when looking at developing physical theatre skills not to set boundaries or limits. Numerous companies look at countless aspects of training in relation to physical theatre, they look at various techniques such as contact improvisation, mime, gesture, movement and dance to name a few. Using such elements provides a way of using both the mind and the body and encourages question, debate and answer.
Many Physical Theatre companies focus on complex themes, confronting the audience with issues that may or may not be sensitive subjects. DV8 Physical Theatre, one of the leading companies of their genre, has tackled many different themes over their 29 years creating work. Challenging audiences with storylines surrounding sexuality, abusive relationships, culture/ religion and who we are as individuals.
DV8 – John Coming to The Lowry in February (suitable for ages 16+)
DV8 Quick Facts:
• The company was formed in 1986 and has always been under the artistic direction of Lloyd Newson.
• They are famous for having a unique style of intense physical theatre movement and incorporating the use of music, set text and imagery.
• The company has produced 19 highly acclaimed dance pieces that have all toured internationally.
• In 2013 Lloyd Newson was awarded an OBE for service to contemporary dance and was named the UK Critics Circle as one of the 100 most influential people in the arts over the last 100 years.
• As Lloyd Newson’s work is content-based, he casts according to subject matter and performers suitability for each new project. Due to this DV8 has no permanent company of performers.
• Four of the dance pieces have won award-winning films for television.
If you fancy finding out more about DV8 and physical theatre you are in luck! The Lowry has lots of brilliant physical theatre pieces coming up over the next few months. Keep an eye out for our future YDA physical theatre blogs as part of a series. We will be exploring deeper into various topics and looking into more physical theatre performances at The Lowry.
DV8 ‘JOHN’ is coming to The Lowry on Thursday 26th & Friday 27th February (suitable for ages 16+), 8pm.
‘This intense, moving and poignant new work by the world renowned DV8 Physical Theatre follows the extraordinary life story of one man, John.’
Don’t forget to use the promocode YDA, to access your £5 tickets offer (limited to YDA’s ONLY and a max of 2 tickets per person) use the promotional code YDA and go to DV8 John alternatively book your tickets over the phone by contacting the box office 0843 208 6000.