rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
Trashing Performance

Mel Brimfield: This Is Performance Art Part Two: Experimental Theatre and Cabaret

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25 October 2011

Toynbee Studios, Theatre


With Paul Higgs, New Art Club, Joanna Neary, Colin Carmichael, Gwyneth Herbert, Sexecute, The Beaux Belles and East London Brass


Sir Francis Spalding is unwell. In fact, he’s dead. The renowned cultural polymath, raconteur and bon-viveur has organised his last seminal interdisciplinary performance spectacular – from beyond the grave. As the beating heart of award-winning TV series This Is Performance Art, he created an internationally respected landmark moment in arts broadcasting, applying a much needed lubricating dollop of WD40 to the rusty mechanics of archival, museological and curatorial assimilation of live art histories. In an elegiac tribute to this much-loved national treasure, we will screen the premiere of This Is Performance Art – Part Two: Experimental Theatre and Cabaret, which was completed shortly before his tragic demise. It is filled to the brim with the thrilling products of Sir Francis’ radical cultural excavations into the hitherto unexplored nooks and crannies of the cabaret scene at London’s notorious Club Foot, razed to the ground in the 80s following a fire whose cause has never been ascertained.  Dramatising his recorded interviews and copious research notes, and activating the painstakingly collected fragmentary documentation retrieved from the fire-damaged archive, a memorial service with a difference will follow.

In an all-singing, all-dancing tribute to the remarkable life of Sir Francis Spalding, we revisit these and a host of other cultural milestones in an evening that will go down in performance art history – it’s what he would have wanted.

Full video documentation is available to view at the Live Art Development Agency Study Room and the British Library