NEST (2013) - 70 minutes
with Anna Meredith
Commissioned by New Movement Collective
Site-specific Dance Score for electronics

A disused Welsh chapel in the heart of theatreland is a gem of a venue for the small and clever immersive dance performance that's being staged there by the New Movement Collective. A nesting box of curved, arched spaces, the chapel has a performance area large enough for seriously inventive choreography, as well as a sufficient variety of attics, cellars and dark stairways to keep the audience guessing when we start to explore.

The work itself is inspired by Homer's Odyssey, and its extended opening section draws us deep into the drama of Odysseus's epic voyage home. Electronic weather roils and rumbles through Anna Meredith and Christopher Mayo's score. Dancers swarm over the rigging of a dozen steel towers that line the stage, then trundle them into clashing, crashing, patterns like storm-tossed ships. Dazzling bars of light transform the floor into digital waves, or flicker forked lightning over the dancers' looping, tumbling bodies.

This mesmerising interplay of sound, light and movement is worth the price of a ticket alone; so, too, is the exceptional cast, which includes Jonathan Goddard and Clemmie Sveaas. For the work's middle section, the audience are dispersed on their own journeys: downstairs to a Hades of zombied figures who brush their long fingers against us, and up to Penelope's waiting chambers (wittily stacked with records of Ulysses-related music); or to a room where Penelope is suspended in cat's-cradle webbing, which she patiently ravels and unravels.

There's no single narrative thread, and no defined characters. Back in the central stage, the dancer who performs Ulysses's despairing solo is different from the one who concludes the work in a wary duet of reunion. But what Nest sacrifices in old-fashioned plotting, it richly compensates for in its drama of heightened senses and deliciously altered perspectives. An epic, powerfully distilled.
- Judith Mackrell, The Guardian (July 18, 2013)
Full article

Programme Note
Dance, architecture, animation and interactive light technologies combine to create a tapestry of exploration and adventure, inspired by Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey.

Becoming directly involved with a promenade dance performance the audience are free to weave their own experience, threads of movement, structure, and live music draw participants around the striking spaces and hidden corners of a disused former chapel.


NEST was commissioned by new arts organisation Stone Nest, to mark the end of a period of inactivity for the Grade II listed Welsh Chapel on Shaftesbury Avenue. Originally designed by James Cubitt in 1888 and counting 1980’s super-club ‘The Limelight’ amongst its past tenants, NMC produced a multi-sensory promenade performance breathing new life into this beautiful, atmospheric space with its colourful and wide-ranging history.

Performance History
July 15 - 24, 2013 - New Movement Collective, Welsh Chapel, London, UK