Happy Feet

Photo by Jassy Earl

I am interested in having an artistic practice that is socially responsible, by that I mean to take up topics that are important to children and making them and their stories relevant in the process. I believe that Happy Feet is pinpointing some of that, which is my continuous drive when entering a project. I want to be part of a collective who dare to take children seriously in the research process and while on stage, and willing to explore for new participatory formats. Another reason while I am personally involved and interested in HAPPY FEET comes from the audience feedback which involved many laughs and moans. Therefore I think this has a variety of emotional nuances that I am eager to explore in the group, which i am not so familiar with.

—Mette Møller Overgaard

Happy Feet is the project selected to be part of the Home Residency which offers Lab artists two weeks of paid time and studio space to develop an idea that arose during the Lab. 

Happy Feet (working title)

HOME IS: finding everything in the dark without thinking.

This performance HAPPY FEET is about searching for, finding and losing home, and how family constellations change. Everyone in a family has to cope with separation, change, loss, gain. For some children it may mean suddenly having two homes. We wish to broaden our minds through the stories of children, how they experience this and hear about the many different constellations of separation and homes there are today, in our society. And what makes their home, home (again).

In the Push+ Home Lab in Edinburgh we worked together in different settings, exploring each others ideas physically and through many discussions throughout the intense time during the LAB. We felt a strong connection and passion in our collective interest in making theatre and dance for young audiences in our respective art forms. This was both incredibly inspiring but also posed a lot of new questions for us together. Questions on how to find a collaborative bridge between two different art forms (theatre and dance), with artists from three different countries, each with different artistic aesthetics.

The idea for Happy Feet was born during the lab and quickly created its individual identity. As a collective the piece has a clear and strong grounding with limitless possibilities. This residency will allow us time to explore Happy Feet's potential and to further develop its artistic and narrative identity. All four of us believe strongly in this format and we are very enthusiastic about our collaboration. We hope to create a safe space for children and young people to explore different feelings related to the concept of ‘home' as well as engage and inspire them.

The Residency

We want to develop a narrative that is understood only by image. A narrative that highlights a universal story and gives a pathway for children to think of, empathise and understand what it means to be at home, when there is no longer ‘one’ home.

For this we would like to research three parts:

- Ideas for a narrative physical performance
- Audience interaction and participation
- Workshops for children to create and talk about “home”

1) In the performance we want to explore the personality of feet and hands in a visual structure of selfbuilt homes that are carried by the individuals themselves. We want to research how we can tell a story through this, about how things take time (relationships, break-ups, new situations), finding and losing love, being alone and carrying on.

2) We would like to explore this format with different age groups, amongst 6+ audience. Furthermore we want to explore how this performance can interact with the audience and what the possibilities are to create a participatory performance with this. (codes, influence of public space).

3) As we are interested in the imagination and inner world of children, combined with this performance we want to create a dialogue with the children through workshops. Our initial thoughts are that in these workshops they can make a ‘home/tent’ of their own with different material such as newspapers. Creating space for them to explore and reflect on what they believe are important aspects of their own homes. Researching how we can intertwine this workshop with the performance format and guide the participants safely in their ‘home’ exploration is an aim of the residency.

Creative Team

Ilke Teerlinck
Mette Møller Overgaard
Els Roobroeck
Vince Virr