Raven Row: ‘Elements of Performance Art’ workshops with Anthony Howell

Richard Quarrell, workshop at Ting studio, London (1974). Photographer unknown. Image courtesy of The Theatre of Mistakes

Raven Row, London

‘Elements of Performance Art’ open workshops with Anthony Howell
Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, 2-5pm
30 June to 6 August 2017

Workshops will take place throughout the exhibition In Case There’s a Reason: The Theatre of Mistakes guided by co-founder Anthony Howell. No previous experience is required, they are free to attend and open to all. You can attend as many of the workshops as you wish. If you’d like to participate, kindly meet with Anthony either half-an-hour prior to the workshop starting time, or at its end if you’d like to attend a future one.

During the early years of The Theatre of Mistakes (1974-76) such workshops were held in artist-run and studio spaces in London. They were open to all and attended by artists and students from different disciplines: writers and poets; dancers and choreographers; visual artists of all media and architects.

Participants would develop instructions and games-based exercises under a basic rubric: that if you designed an exercise then you were in agreement to perform others’. Over two years the group noted and recorded hundreds of these, which core members Anthony Howell and Fiona Templeton refined and distilled into the 1976 publication Elements of Performance Art. Arguably, this is the first manifesto/manual for performance art in the UK. It will operate as a starting point for Howell’s workshops and ‘free sessions’ at Raven Row.


Rehearsal for Homage to Pietro Longhi at Purdies Farm, Hampshire (1976). Photographer unknown. Image courtesy of The Theatre of Mistakes.

In Case There’s a Reason: The Theatre of Mistakes
30 June to 6 August 2017

You are invited to the opening on Thursday 29 June, 6.30-8.30pm, including a live Free Session performed by members of The Theatre of Mistakes Anthony Howell, Glenys Johnson, Julian Maynard Smith, Lindsay Moran, Miranda Payne, Peter Stickland, Fiona Templeton and Howard Tong.

Artists’ group The Theatre of Mistakes (1974-81) pioneered a structured performance art traversing architecture, choreography and poetry as well as visual art. They formed in London in the early 1970s from a series of open workshops at which instructional and games-based exercises were the focus. These came to inform The Street (1975), a performance with the residents and environment of Ascham Street in Kentish Town.

Fiona Templeton and Anthony Howell distilled the performance exercises into a publication, Elements of Performance Art (1976), arguably the first manifesto for performance art in the UK. A core group of six performers (Mickey Greenall, Glenys Johnson, Miranda Payne, Peter Stickland as well as Howell and Templeton) then agreed to produce contained and systematic works for a five-year duration. Later, ‘mistakes’ were explored through a series of trios, duets and solos and Julian Maynard Smith joined the core group.

Live elements in this exhibition mark two key phases of The Theatre of Mistakes. Each afternoon in the galleries, with open participation, Anthony Howell will re-visit exercises from the workshops, while each Friday and Saturday evening performances will take place of Going (1977).

The Theatre of Mistakes logged its working life, practice and processes in detail. The exhibition reveals this unique legacy of documentation and notation, and includes videos, photographs, a great variety of spatial and choreographic notations, as well as diary texts.

The exhibition is curated by Jason E. Bowman.


The Theatre of Mistakes, Going (1977). Photograph by Kirk Winslow. image courtesy of The Theatre of Mistakes.

Going (1977)
Fridays and Saturdays, 7pm
1 July to 5 August 2017

Raven Row presents a new production of Going, a classic of devised performance by artist-group The Theatre of Mistakes (1974-81). This is the first full production since 1981, cast and directed by The Theatre of Mistakes’ Fiona Templeton.

Going is a key work in the history of British performance. It was the group’s first work to be totally rehearsed, and is exemplary of their refined and systematised late work.

Dressed in signature grey suits the performers appear as if trapped in a bureaucracy from which they seek to escape. Arranging mannerisms of departure, over five short acts – having learnt all the parts, moves, and gestures – the performers attempt to be each other, as opposed to a character.

The first public performance is on Saturday July 1 and thereafter, every Friday and Saturday evening until 5 August. The performance lasts approximately one hour and will start promptly at 7pm.

Places are limited, please book your place at Eventbrite here.

Going is performed by three women and two men, or three men and two women, with an alternating cast: Manuela Albrecht, Javier Cardona, Yoko Ishiguro, Florence Peake, Andrew Price and Taylor Smith.

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