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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Vessel: Practice Of Anchoritisim Unearthed In Lewes & Brought To A Stage In Brighton

A follow up to Sue MacLaine's award winning work Can I Start Again Please, Vessel takes inspiration from the remarkable history of Anchoritism to ask if voluntary solitude could ever be defined as a political act. 

In a world of protests, political incompetence and incomprehension, MacLaine's characteristically poetic language layers the contrasting voices, and silences, of four women. 

Through battles with the demands of modern living, from the personal to the political, Vessel imagines a life where shutting oneself off from the world could be considered the most radical protest of all.

Sue MacLaine said: 

"I discovered the practice of Anchoritism after visiting a church in Lewes where the remains of an anchoress cell are still visible and I began to contemplate how this 12th century radical act of withdrawal could speak to 21st century audiences and what it would say. 

"I began to think about political activism and how we survive and respond to the current bombardment of political catastrophe and the personal challenges that face each of us every day. 


"It seems to me that a huge strength of character is required to make the choice to withdraw. 

"This led me to questions of what does it mean to be stable and what does it mean to be mobilised? 

"Could this act of withdrawal be viewed as political activism and as a legitimate strategy for survival?"

The performance uses creative captioning throughout designed by digital artist Giles Thacker and will bring together lighting and set designer Ben Pacey, choreographer Seke Chi-mutengwende and sound designer Owen Crouch.

Vessel will be performed by a diverse cast of four women - Karlina Grace-Paseda, Julie Cleves, Angela Clerkin and Kailing Fu. 

Sue MacLaine is a theatremaker, writer, performer and director. 

Choreography and choreographic practice play a huge role in her work, and she is known for work that is poetic and inventive in form. 

She is also a qualified British Sign Language/English interpreter, and is known for challenging and interrogating ideas of access and accessible performance.

Sue MacLaine Company presents 'Vessel' at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, on 25th & 26th October 2018. CLICK HERE for more info.


by: Mike Cobley




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credit Andy Willsher

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(c) The Unthanks 2018

The Emily Brontë Song Cycle is a new work commissioned by the Brontë Society, written and recorded using Emily Brontë’s piano in her home, by composer, pianist and producer Adrian McNally of the band The Unthanks, and performed with sisters Rachel & Becky Unthank.

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