Dance and theatre merge with Earthfall in Worthing

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Earthfall bring their 25th-anniversary special show Stories From a Crowded Room to Worthing, promising an immersive and moving dance where the audience are at the heart of the stage and the action.

Stories From a Crowded Room will be at the Pavilion Theatre from Tuesday, October 6 to Friday, October 9, a show which sees the company hold firm to the principles on which it was founded a quarter of a century ago.

Earthfall was formed in 1989 by Jessica Cohen and Jim Ennis with a policy of forging radical choreography with live music and strong visual imagery. “I can hardly believe we have been going this long,” Jessica says. “But it has worked well. We both come from different backgrounds within the dance and theatre genre. I come from the dance background, but Jim, the co-founder and co-director with myself, came from a theatre background, but a very physical theatre, very experimental theatre. When we got together we wanted to work on projects that combined that. We had been working on other projects for seven to ten years previously, professionally, but we were very keen to do our own work that didn’t compromise on our vision, to do things with extreme physicality and an exciting narrative, albeit a fragmented narrative. That was our aim, and that’s still our aim. The work has taken different forms over the years. In the early days we were very very passionate about world music and world culture, and then we started gradually to urbanise ourselves and take more from the city life we are working in.”

In their case, it happens to be Cardiff, a great base, Jessica says: “My mum was Welsh, but she moved to London when she was a young lady. I was brought up in Hertfordshire, and then when I left dance college in London, I went to dance with a Cardiff-based company. You join a company after you leave university or college, and you see where it takes you. It brought me here, and I worked here as a principal performer for seven years. Cardiff is just a really good place. It is quite small, but it is not inward-looking and has got a really good strong history of theatre, particularly physical theatre.”

Not that that means things have been plain sailing ever since. They never are and never have been.

“You just hope that year after year you keep going. We are just very persistent and we are just very stubborn! And we are also very flexible so that we can be inventive in finding ways to make sure we survive. One of the things we have never managed to achieve is to run a full-time company. Our performers come in on contracts and then we lose them which breaks my heart. The only way around that would be considerable investment, which we don’t have. At the moment, that’s just not a possibility.”

But that’s to take nothing away from the achievement of reaching their quarter century which they are marking with Stories From a Crowded Room.

As Jessica promises, the show engages, excites and inspires its audiences.

“In an original theatre experience like no other, the audience will be immersed within the centre of the dance, providing a real opportunity to empathise and engage.”

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