Emergence presents a provocative performance questioning the role of arts in society. Written by Suzi Gablik this piece asks the question ‘what role does art have in a time of great change?’ as two sculptors reject the art world in favour of learning how to live life as a prayer, developing new skills for life on earth.
An Emergence collaborative project performed by Philip Ralph, Fern Smith and Guest Artist.
Based on a transcript of an astonishing interview by internationally renowned arts commentator Suzi Gablik in her book Conversations Before the End Of Time.
In “Doin’ Dirt Time” Gablik speaks to Rachel Dutton and Rob Olds, two celebrated American artists who have made the decision to give away all their artworks and possessions.
Following the interview they disappeared into the American wilderness, after an intensive study of tracking and survival skills. This powerful piece questions the role of the arts in society as the two protagonists explain their reasons for not only stepping out of the art world but also stepping out of society itself. They fundamentally question the traditional role of the artist in society, articulating their desire to live life as a sacred act rather than to simply document it.
Fern Smith & Philip Ralph play Dutton and Olds. Fern Smith is founder member of Volcano Theatre and co-initiator and collaborator on Emergence. Philip Ralph trained as an actor before turning to writing. His first play Deep Cut won the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award in 2009. Smith & Ralph are real life partners finding their way and deeply inspired by Dutton and Olds themselves.
Each time the piece is performed it is done with a different guest artist – someone who has taken steps to bring their life, work and commitment to sustainability more in alignment.
Jason Benson, Sarah Woods, Emily Hinshelwood, Rhodri Thomas, Tom Payne, Carys Shannon and Lucy Neal have all taken the role of Suzie Gablik in past performances. Doin’ Dirt Time offers the unique opportunity of a collaboration between an invited performance and resident or local artists.
Doin’ Dirt Time is performed with the blessing of Suzi Gablik and in some way is intended to bring new audiences to Gablik’s inspirational body of work – essential reading for artists, activists and anyone interested in the role of the arts in co-creating the future. Doin’ Dirt Time is itself an experiment in simplicity, a stripped-back theatre which dispenses with the smoke and mirrors of performance in order to focus on the essentials… It uses a fascinating technique pioneered by Alecky Blythe of Recorded Delivery Theatre, in which actors interpret verbatim recordings in real time. Following the performance which lasts roughly 30 minutes there is an opportunity to engage in a discussion regarding the themes arising from the interview…
Past tour of Doin Dirt Time
Volcano Theatre, Swansea, Wales
Tyn yr Helyg Theatre Barn, Llanrhystud, Ceredigion, Wales
Woodland Pavilion Machynnleth
Dark Mountain Festival, Hampshire
World Stage Design Festival, Cardiff
Forthcoming Dates 2013
Coastal Currents Arts Festival, Hastings
Interested in hosting Doin’ Dirt Time?
If you are interested in presenting Doin’ Dirt Time contact Fern Smith on firstname.lastname@example.org
“What do we want to have learned by the time we die?”
“How do we live then in a time of decline, or maybe even collapse and what role does art have?”
Fern was born in London and now lives in Swansea, South Wales. After studying for a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Industrial Relations she formed Volcano Theatre Company with Paul Davies in the 1980’s.
Since then Fern has performed, directed and taught workshops for Volcano and as a freelancer nationally and internationally for 25 years. Fern is co-initiator and creative producer of Emergence.
fern [at] emergence-uk.org
Sarah is a playwright, activist and performer creating participatory performances and events in collaboration with communities, campaigns, scientists, specialists and arts organisations. Through a combination of fact, fiction and testimony, her work focuses around choice and change in the face of our current global challenges. Sarah works with stories big and small, throwing into relief bits of our lives it is often hard to comprehend.
Sarah is currently creating a multi-media performance for Ymlaen Ceredigion, working with the recently flooded community of Talybont in Ceredigion, looking to create behaviour change in everyday energy usage through linking them to the weather and climate change. She is working with Paul Kellam, leader of The Sanger Institute’s Virus team, on MY LIFE WITH FLU, a Woman’s Hour drama about the ‘flu (BBC Radio 4). She is writing Cardboard Citizens’ latest Hostels’ Tour, looking at the ongoing welfare reforms. Her show THE ROADLESS TRIP, a performance piece about systemic change and future narratives, is currently in production with Artsadmin.
Recent work includes: WATCH ME (BBC Radio 4), looking at the science of mirror neurons and the importance of empathy, is broadcast on Radio 4 at 2.15pm on August 12th. THE EMPATHY ROADSHOW, an artist’s commission for People United – also on the subject of empathy. In 2011, she delivered the outreach arm of the Co-operative Group’s FRACK FREE FUTURE campaign, staging events in communities affected by fracking, and creating a series of community films on the issues.
Sarah has written more than thirty plays, series, adaptations and drama-documentaries for BBC radio. Over the last year or two, her work includes a new adaptation of THE BORROWERS, THE STATE OF WATER – and original drama looking at our relationship to water, and two original drama-documentaries about climate change: GETTING TO ZERO and GETTING TO FOUR DEGREES featuring climate scientists and campaigners including George Monbiot and Kevin Anderson (Tindal Centre.)
Sarah has worked with Birmingham Opera on new versions of FIDELIO and ARIADNE AUF NAXOS.
Sarah ran the Mphil in Playwriting at Birmingham University from 2002 to 2006, and is now an external examiner for the course. Sarah is a skilled facilitator, for events and creative processes. She offers creative mentoring, both for groups and individuals. She currently teaches playwrighting and applied theatre at Manchester University.
Emergence Summit Artist Commission, The Roadless Trip, September 2012
Instigator, theatre maker and educator, Lucy Neal is interested in the art of social sculpture and how celebratory events act as a catalyst for change. Co-founding director of the LIFT Festival, recent projects, The Trashcatchers’ Carnival and the Tooting Transition Shop explore how artists nurture collective space to imagine a more ecological and life-sustaining society. Co-author of MMM’s Sustainable Ability, she is Happiness Associate on the Happy Museum Project and co-founder of Case For Optimism. Active in the Transition Town movement since 2008, she is currently writing Playing For Time, the Transition Book on the Arts. She was awarded an OBE in 2005 for services to drama.
Designer and facilitator, Emergence Summit 2012