Gwyn Emberton: Shadows of A Quieter Society

September 11, 2016 by
Shadows of A Quieter Society is a work inspired by my hometown Montgomery. I was always aware of its history and how it played a part in the development of the borders/England and Wales in 1200’s. I wasn’t aware so much of the figures and people who were from there or came there who were as significant culturally in the UK.

I discovered stories about George Herbert the metaphysical poet who was born and raised there in the town to Montgomeryshire’s most prominent family, John Donne (the other metaphysical poet who wrote about the primroses around Montgomery Castle), Peter Warlock the mid-century composer who had a very tortured soul, a glamorous London model that pitched up with a band of hippy aristocrats wanting to live ‘off grid’, plus a host of other characters and stories about the town and its people.

In the studio with the dancers we took the stories and started to explore each character. We looked at how they behaved, what they achieved and who they affected in the town and beyond. This developed into a completely new world, a new society of six characters who existed in the space together. They manipulate each other, try to control the world they are in, the play with emotions and sensibilities of weaker characters and battle against the stronger ones.

The piece became a wider look at people and at society; when individuals don’t work together it results in chaos and destruction. A community is pitted against itself.

The work is pretty epic and with extraordinary performances by some of the most incredible cast of female dancers working today. The music is incredible, cinematic and very affecting. It is a work that I hope will make people smile in places, feel challenged and awe-inspired by a bit of spectacle.

The music is composed by Benjamin Talbott whose recent work can be found on BBC Wales’ Hinterland. Aideen Malone the lighting designer from Bristol Old Vic, National Theatre and Akram Khan worked with new up and coming designer Ben Cowens and Angharad Matthews created the costumes and worked closely with my on designing the incredible set.  The dancers are Eddie Ladd, ex-NDCWales dancers Eleesha Drennan and Neus Cortes, Natalie Allen (ex-Sydney Dance Co) and Anais Michelin who has been with the company for several years

Bristol @ Circomedia – 14th October –

Caernarfon @ Galeri – 10th November –

Cardiff @ Dance House, Wales Millennium Centre – 12th November –

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