Motionhouse launches online portal to support new production

12 Feb 2018

Motionhouse in ‘Charge’. Image: Dan Tucker

Acclaimed dance-circus company Motionhouse have shown that they are as innovative offstage as they are when performing, launching an immersive digital portal for audiences and students to learn more about their new production, Charge, currently on tour around the UK and Europe.

Since its creation in 1988, Motionhouse has placed education firmly at the centre of its work and, whilst touring its trailblazing productions around the world, has collaborated closely with schools, universities and colleges to inspire students with unforgettable experiences.

The new Charge Portal offers exclusive behind-the-scenes content and explores the creation of Motionhouse’s new dance-circus show, Charge, which is inspired by the role of electricity in the human body.
Several years in the making, Charge is a unique collaboration that draws together art and science. The company worked with Professor Frances Ashcroft and her team from the University of Oxford to place science at the heart of the creation of the show, which explores the electrical charge that sparks human life, to the beating of our hearts and the memories we make. Charge sees six performers use the highly physical dance and spectacular acrobatics, interspersed with 3D digital projections, to delve deep into the human body and to bring to life the incredible story of energy in our lives.
Packed with special video interviews and onstage footage, the Charge Portal provides an accessible and stimulating collection of online audience and education resources, teacher packs and workshops, to enable both young people and non-scientific audiences to explore the science that inspired the show.
Louise Richards, Executive Director of Motionhouse, says:

“These resources have been created with the aim of providing audiences with information about how Charge was made, and teachers with a wealth of engaging content that they can use to inspire and enthuse young people about art, movement and the world around them. We want to enable young people and non-scientific audiences to explore the science that inspired the show.”

Charge is ideally placed to engage young children of Primary School age with scientific themes and ignite a curiosity and interest in the bio-electricity of their own bodies. As well as guiding pupils and teachers scene-by-scene through the work’s themes and ideas, the primary resources show how the production can be used as a springboard to support learning across other curriculum areas; in literacy, geography, PE, dance, music, history, PSHE and art. The Secondary school resources offer KS3, KS4 and A-Level dance students the opportunity to study a professional dance in depth. Using the digital format (supported by PDF downloads), teachers will have a range of resources, questions and tasks at their disposal to lead students through the work developing their analytical, choreographic and performance skills.

Charge is created and directed by Motionhouse’s Artistic Director, Kevin Finnan MBE, Choreographer and Movement Director of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It is the third element of his renowned ‘Earth Trilogy’, developing on themes explored in the hugely successful Scattered (2009) and Broken (2013) about our relationship with water and the Earth. Since opening in October 2017, Charge has been thrilling audiences around the UK and Europe and is a must-see for dance, circus and theatre lovers, as well as anyone interested in science, art, digital imagery and graphic design.
The next leg of the Charge tour visits Aberystwyth Arts Centre (30 January), Storyhouse, Chester (6 February), Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea (9 February), Burghof Lörrach, Germany (17 February), Baltoppen LIVE, Denmark (21-24 February), Hall For Cornwall, Truro (2-3 March), Theatre By The Lake, Keswick (7 March), Birmingham Hippodrome (13 March), Buxton Opera House (16 March), The Peacock, London (21-24 March), Lighthouse, Poole (27 March), Gulbenkian, Canterbury (17-21 April), Nottingham Playhouse (27 April), G Live, Guildford (1 May), Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds (4 May), New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth (9 May), Bregenzer Frühling Festival, Austria (18 May), Quays Culture, Manchester (9 June) and Zsolnay Light Festival, Hungary (28 June).

The Charge Portal education resources have been created with support from the Rothschild Foundation and The Ernest Cook Trust. Charge is supported by Warwick Arts Centre, The Rothschild Foundation, the Ernest Cook Trust, TippingPoint Stories of Change and The Leche Trust. Official Energy Partner of Charge: First Utility.

Teaching resources developed by Dr Christine Wainwright PhD, MA, B.Ed

Motionhouse is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, as well as Warwick District Council, Vitsœ and the John Ellerman Foundation.

The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body, by Frances Ashcroft is published by Penguin Books.