Bringing the power and beauty of water to The New Theatre Royal

A thought-provoking show, Scattered combines Motionhouse's highly physical trademark style with entrancing digital imagery in an extraordinary interaction between film and live performance to look at our relationship with water.

Sunday, 12th March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:52 am
Scattered by Motionhouse. Picture by Sharon Bradford

Company director and co-founder Kevin Finnan explains the show’s origins.

‘Because we tour a lot, and I’m very lucky, I’ve spent a lot of time in the north watching the glaciers go back and a lot of time in the south watching the sand coming up,

‘I was really aware of water in different parts of the world and how important it is, and it really intrigued me. I started to do some research and spent some time with some professors at Kings College in London who were researching water at the atomic level, and I learned a lot from them about how water behaves.

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‘And how the biggest single thing in human health care is not penicillin or any other medication, it’s sanitation – that has done more to improve the health and life expectancy of people beyond any other medicine or advance.

‘For those of us who live in places like the UK, we don’t really think about water until it’s not there because we have the miracle of the tap. ‘So I thought we could do a show looking at our relationship with it, and do you know what? It’s incredible, it’s a marvel, and how fundamentally we’re tied to it.

‘That was the intellectual idea behind it, and of course it’s such a beautiful thing that all these images come to mind about amazing things you can do.

‘Then it was the challenge to live up to the power and beauty that water has to offer on stage.’

From humble beginnings in 1988, when Kevin began Motionhouse with his dance partner Louise Richards, they have become major players in the world of dance and choreography – from putting on shows in theatres to creating huge outdoor spectacles.

They choreographed the 2012 Paralympics opening ceremony and later this year they’ll be in Denmark working on the European Cultural Capital celebrations.

‘We go across the scales now from these outdoor spectacles with 500 performers to shows like Scattered with seven, it’s very exciting for us,’ adds Kevin.

‘The stage shows are the kernel of everything we do - they’re the core, they’re where we’re really working out our ideas and pushing our innovation and development, and then that feeds into everything else.

‘It’s been an interesting journey, the more that we’ve done outside spectacle, etc, the more the dialogue between the works has gone two ways.

‘We’ve brought a lot of the skills we’ve developed in the theatres outdoors and into the giant scale. But then, working at the giant scale, you learn a whole new load of things that you bring back into your theatre work.’

Scattered is one of three shows that as Kevin says: ‘whether it’s a trilogy or a triptych, they’re three shows that are connected to our relationship to the environment in different ways – Scattered is about water, Broken is about the relationship with the earth we stand on and the idea that we’re a fundamental part of it.

‘The new show we’ve just started working on is called Charge about our relationship to energy, and the idea that the human being is in fact an electrical system – conscious life is electric.

#All three of those shows will make a trilogy about our existential relationship to the world in which we live. They’re not meant to be polemics, they’re meant be engaging and joyful looks at the world we live in.’

Before the evening performance, Motionhouse is also putting on a workshop at 3pm.

Kevin says: ‘If anyone feels like they’d come to sample what we do physically and our way of working, and then come and see our show, that would be great.’

New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

Tuesday, March 14