Concerto in Nottingham
Last night we showed Concerto at UKYA Nottingham City Takeover at Peggy’s Skylight. I have a long history with UK Young Artists after going to the Young Person’s Biennale in Bari to represent the UK in 2008 (when I showed Sit with me for a moment and remember) and then being an ambassador for the World Event Young Artists in Nottingham in 2012 (when I showed The Beginning at Nottingham Lakeside Arts). For this event in 2019, to mark the decade that had passed since the first time UK Young Artists exhibited, I was invited to present Concerto as a UKYA Alumni artist. It was great to show this piece with a cast of young artists in such an exciting international festival.
This was the first time we had shown the piece outside of a theatre space and we played to a sold out audience. The piece is very formal both in its theatricality and its aesthetic e.g. we wear dinner jackets, bow ties and evening dress. However, last night, as we waited for the audience to get a drink, we wondered around, opening doors for them and mingling to the sound of Nicholas McCarthy’s album – Solo. The bar setting seemed to make the piece less formal and give the audience a soft landing into the world of the show. There were apples, pencils and musical manuscript on music stands and tables around the venue and when everyone was seated I played the sound of an orchestra tuning up and our BSL Interpreter – Elvire Roberts – took to the stage.
Next stop for Concerto is the Enable Us Project at the University of Sheffield before touring to The Core at Corby Cube and then finishing at Halifax Square Chapel with a full orchestra. This show grows each time we show it and will have toured for nearly three years when we show it with an orchestra for the third time in Halifax. We are thinking about how we might record an orchestra so Nicholas McCarthy can play the full Concerto for the Left Hand when we tour to studios. Thanks to Arts Council England funding, we have recently recruited another member of the Concerto team, Emily Bickerdike, and now have two performers for each role to make the piece more tour-able. Another benefit of funding was that I was able to invite Julian Hughes to document the show.
Images: Julian Hughes