Motionhouse brings electrifying ‘Charge’ to London in 30th anniversary year

24 Jan 2018

Motionhouse in ‘Charge’. Image: Chris Nash

Following its premiere in autumn 2017 and sell-out shows across the UK and Italy, Motionhouse presents the London premiere of Charge, the company’s latest electrifying multimedia production. Art and science collide in Charge as dance-circus, film and music trace the extraordinary story of electricity in our lives.

Performed in, on and around a five metre high stage set, six exceptional dancers bring Charge to life with athletic movement, awe-inspiring acrobatics and daring feats as stories of the electrical charge that sparks human life, the beating of our hearts and the memories we make unfold.

2018 marks 30 incredible years since Executive Director Louise Richards and Artistic Director Kevin Finnan, MBE founded the company in 1988. In three decades Motionhouse has presented more than 40 productions across the world, and last year alone more than 80,000 people saw the company perform or took part in one of its learning and participatory activities that continue to inspire the next generation of dancers and audiences.

For Charge, Finnan worked with Professor Frances Ashcroft and her team at the University of Oxford to delve deeper into the science that influenced the company’s latest work. Ashcroft published The Spark of Life, about electricity in the human body, and is recognised for her outstanding contributions to the public’s awareness of science.

Charge explores the historical understanding of the role of electricity in the body with Galvani’s experimentation with frogs as a starting point. Finnan also refers to the popular interest in electricity that resulted in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – one of the first ever science fiction novels, which celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2018.

The third element of Finnan’s Earth TrilogyCharge builds on relevant environmental themes explored in Scattered (2009) and Broken (2013).

Finnan said:

Charge takes my interest in contemporary themes about the world we live in one step further. Scattered tackled our relationship with water and Broken delved into our links with the Earth. For Charge I was inspired by a specific area of scientific research – our relationship with energy and the role electricity plays in the human body. We’re looking forward to bringing the third part of this trilogy to our audiences as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations.”

Motionhouse has become the ‘go to’ company to create visionary large-scale events. Even beaches, stately homes, harbours and inner city wastelands have received the Motionhouse artistic and creative treatment. The company recently created a large-scale outdoor spectacle, Watermusic, for the Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture celebrations in Randers, Denmark and will be involved in Coventry 2021 UK Capital of Culture Celebrations.

Finnan, also known for his choreography and movement direction of the London 2012 Paralympic Games’ Opening Ceremony, worked closely with the dancers and creative team to create Charge.

The striking set is created by long-standing collaborator Simon Dormon who has designed and built sets for the majority of Motionhouse productions. Original music is by Tim Dickinson and Sophy Smith with sound design by Tim Dickinson and Logela Multimedia. Lighting design is by award-winning Natasha Chivers.

Through innovative education resources to accompany the production, the aim is to interest young people in the science behind Charge, using dance as an entry point to spark their interest.

Motionhouse is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Charge is supported by Warwick Arts Centre, The Rothschild Foundation, the Ernest Cook Trust and TippingPoint Stories of Change. Official Energy Partner of Charge is First Utility.

Charge premieres in London on 21 March 2018 at The Peacock. For further information, visit the Motionhouse website.