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bringing together environmentalism and performance
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On Behalf of Nature
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2013
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After receiving a 2010 Herald Angel Award for 'Songs of Ascension', US composer, singer, filmmaker and theatre artist Meredith Monk returns to the Edinburgh International Festival with her latest music-theatre work, On Behalf of Nature.

A poetic meditation on the environment, On Behalf of Nature evokes the Buddhist notion of different realm categories, uniting heaven and earth by way of human beings. Drawing further inspiration from writers who have sounded the alarm on the state of our global ecology, Monk and her acclaimed Vocal Ensemble create a space where human, natural and spiritual elements are woven into a delicate whole, illuminating the interconnection and interdependency of us all.

Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival 2013

Review by Clare Brennan in the Guardian

On Behalf of Nature is listed on both the Meredith Monk page and the Edinburgh International Festival page.

photo Murdo MacLeod; Meredith Monk second left

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ON BEHALF OF NATURE
On Behalf of Nature

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Leaving Planet Earth
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2013
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Old Earth has nothing left for us, and so it is time for a new beginning. Cross galaxies, traverse light years and find yourself in a world where you can be the centre of your own universe. Welcome to New Earth.

Vela, the revered and celebrated architect of this new society, has recently been avoiding her public duties in favour of visiting the Old Earth Museum and the company of its Security Guard. As the final migrants arrive, she is becoming increasingly obsessed by her memories, and questions are growing about her sanity.

Grid Iron fuses live interactive performance with innovative digital and new media technologies. Leaving Planet Earth is a site-responsive promenade production on an epic scale. Tracing the story of humanity’s first migration into space, it asks fundamental questions about our connection to this planet. Should we leave this world, and if so, who will endure and at what cost?

Leaving Planet Earth is listed on both the Grid Iron Theatre page and the Edinburgh International Festival page. Performed at the Edinburgh International Festival, 2013

image by Douglas Chalmers

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Leaving Planet Earth
Leaving Planet Earth

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Speed of Light
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2012
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Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh is the stage for a fusion of public art and sporting endeavour. The iconic peak will be brought to life in a mass choreographed act of walking and endurance running, as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and the London 2012 Festival.

A visual display will unfold each night on the ascent to the summit as hundreds of runners wearing specially designed light suits take to the intricate path networks. Members of the walking audience become part of the work, carrying portable light sources set against the dark features of the hill.

Each individual performance is created by collective action, landscape and weather, offering a rare perspective on the cityscape, night skies and the sea and hills beyond.

Speed of Light is listed on both the NVA and Edinburgh International Festival pages.

NVA have also produced Speed of Light in Salford Quays, UK (2013) and in Yokohama, Japan (2012).

photo © NVA

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speed of light
Speed of Light

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Birds with Skymirrors
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2010
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On the smallest of islands in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, shiny, glittering fragments of plastic waste attract the eyes of frigatebirds. These tiny sky mirrors, deadly parcels of pollution which adorn the nests of unsuspecting sea birds, are a dreadful if ironic reminder of the fragile beauty of environmentally degraded, remote islands throughout the Pacific.

Inspired by the plight of the small islands of the Pacific, the choreographer Lemi Ponifasio asks questions about our role on the planet. At a time of urgent and anxious debates on global warming, Birds with Skymirrors is a reflection, through beauty and stillness, on our relationship with the Earth.

Lemi Ponifasio is a Samoan choreographer living in New Zealand. His company MAU is named after the Samoan independence movement - the word MAU means revolution.

www.mau.co.nz

Birds with Skymirrors was performed at the Edinburgh Playhouse. It is a co-production between Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), Theater der Welt 2010 RUHR, spielzeit'europa I Berliner Festspiele, Wiener Festwochen, KVS Brussels, Holland Festival, Mercat de les Flors, DeSingel Antwerp and New Zealand International Arts Festival.

Photo: Lemi Ponifasio / MAU

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Birds with Skymirrors
Birds with Skymirrors

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The Man Who Fed Butterflies
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2010
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During the last moments of his life an old man feels the urge to carry out a forgotten ritual taught to him by the only survivor of an extinct and forgotten tribe. They believed each recently hatched butterfly was the spirit of a dead warrior searching for his kingdom.

Every year at the same time the sacred men stood on a cliff, their arms open, palms covered in fresh nectar, waiting to feed the butterflies as they set off on their annual migration.

Teatro Cinema, the Chilean company directed by Juan Carlos Zagal, blends film and live action in an original visual and poetic style.

www.teatrocinema.cl

The Man Who Fed Butterflies was performed at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh. It is co-production between Edinburgh International Festival, Teatro Cinema, Santiago a Mil, Scène Nationale de Sète, Centre Dramatique Le Manège, Napoli Teatro Festival and Fondo Para El Desarrollo de Las Artes (Chilean Government).

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The Man Who Fed Butterflies
The Man Who Fed Butterflies

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Végétal
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1997
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Created in 1995, and performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 1997, Végétal was a collaboration between choreographer Régine Chopinot, with her company Ballet Atlantique - Régine Chopinot, and the sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.

Chopinot brought the rhythms of nature, of generation and falling away, and of deep, geomorphological time into contemporary theatre-based dance. In her engagement with the elements and the spirit of the natural world, Chopinot created a work with a demanding simplicity, slow meditations in real time using natural materials, on the structures and processes of nature.

The dance is composed of five parts, in each of which the dance incorporates the creation of evolving sculptures using materials of the natural world, in movements which are between the choreographed and the spontaneous. The stage is circumscribed by the slow pace of Chopinot herself walking, marking real time.

Earth / terre : dust throws of red earth
Seed / graine : the building and falling of balanced rocks
Root / racine : dancers responding to a background of dried ferns glued to a canvas, forming a snake-like pattern.
Branch / branche : the dancers build a circular nest from branches

Andy Goldsworthy designed the set, and writes:

    ‘Stone has shown me many things about the structure of growth. I have found an energy in stone that can be best described as a seed that becomes taut as it ripens - often needing only the slightest of touches to make it explode and scatter its parts. The precariousness of a balanced column is like the fine edge between success and failure - the tension of growth.’
Végétal is listed on both the Ballet Regine Chopinot and Edinburgh International Festival pages.

See also the online exhibition enterchange that includes Végétal

Chopinot colaborated with Goldsworthy on La Danse du Temps in 1999 , not performed in the UK.

photo: © Tristan JEANNE-VALES Agence Enguerand with permission from BARC

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VEGETAL
Végétal

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