Type of work
Site-Specific Projects / Contemporary Dance / Performance Installations

Company Policy
seven sisters group focuses on communicating contemporary issues through new and idiosyncratic works that defy labeling. Among the vanguard of site-specific practitioners since the early 90s, seven sisters group was invited to lead on one of the Mayor’s Cultural Olympiad flagship projects with English National Ballet in summer 2012.
The company’s work has been described as leading in the field of site-specific performance. Their projects have been presented in both outdoor and indoor sites in the UK and worldwide, with venues ranging from theatres and galleries, libraries and railway stations to the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre. The company toured to New Zealand for the re-staging of Boxed in autumn 2012.

seven sisters group’s highly acclaimed projects are site-specific and combine contemporary dance, installation, video and spoken word. The site is investigated and applied as medium, as source, as backdrop; utilised as inspiration or reservoir of information, questioning traditional and current performance practice, challenging representation in contemporary culture, altering viewpoint and perception, and enabling new interpretation. The powers of spectatorial self-consciousness are coupled with a strong interest in social and psychological themes, predominantly viewed through a feminist perspective.

Background
German born Artistic Director Susanne Thomas trained at London Contemporary Dance School and Middlesex University. She was an Associate Artist at The Place, London in 1998/99 and received awards and funding from Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft (Germany), London Arts Board, Arts Council of England and the British Council. Her artistic career began in Fashion Design and Visual Arts – this background informs her choreography and artistic collaborations. In 1994 Susanne founded seven sisters group with a team of independent artists whose disciplines include dance, theatre design, fine art, music and video. Susanne was nominated for the prestigious Jerwood Choreography Award in 2000.

Designer Sophie Jump is Associate Director and founder member of seven sisters group. She designs for both theatre and dance. Former Joint Honorary Secretary of the Society of British Theatre Designers, she is co-editor of the SBTD journal, and co-editor of their Transformation & Revelation catalogue. Her work has been selected to represent Britain at every Prague Quadrennial exhibition of world theatre design since 1999, and her designs were part of the Transformation & Revelation exhibition at the V&A Museum in 2012.

Review extracts
“Like a Fish Out of Water is an evocative, characterful and spirited piece that veers away from the melancholic by the inclusion of a much appreciated touch of sauce.” Total Theatre Review

“The public, entrapped with all the senses in the narrative, is given the rare opportunity to simultaneously laugh, cry and think.” Dance is the Word

“Vivid memories guaranteed.” The Times

“The group’s ability to transform a place is impressive.” The Guardian

“If you like watching original and challenging choreography then seven sisters is pure entertainment, an unpredictable and captivating production too tempting to miss.” The Stage

“…multiple refractions of the myth of Salomé, trapped in time as well as space, forever enacting their demented destinies; some are half-woman, half-beast, others merely psychotic.” The Independent

“The Seven Sisters Group…cleverly captures Salomé‘s allure… Not for the faint hearted but not to be missed.” Metro

Production highlights
Like a Fish Out of Water (2012)
A piece developed in collaboration with English National Ballet as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Festival. The piece presents an exciting new concept that blends site-specific performance and handheld video technology. The concept was developed by seven sisters group with a host of high profile partners (South Bank Centre, V&A Museum, Theatre Royal York, etc) during a three-year research phase.
Artists, dancers, actors and audience embark on a magical journey around London lidos where pre-recorded performances, installation and the everyday life of the lidos overlap. The plot follows a story of an elderly woman revisiting her childhood memories, fantasies and fragments of insights. Myths and legends, mermaids and selkies, all come together creating a fascinating multi sensory experience. Commissioned by English National Ballet and GLA, Mayor of London.

Boxed (2006, 2012)
A piece for touring, Boxed was first premiered in 2006 in three shopping windows on the Oxford Street. A ‘solo for display’ is performed in a life-size box to a mix of invited audience and casual passers-by observing a female dancer moving in the confined space. The piece was commissioned by Big Dance and Mayor of London and funded by Arts Council of England with support by John Lewis, Habitat, Debenhams and House of Fraser. In 2012 Boxed was re-staged in Auckland, New Zealand, by invitation of Auckland and British Council.

A Small Study of Troubled Souls (2011)
A site-specific piece reflecting on the nature of confessions and feelings of guilt in society. Created for an intriguing, circular site in Camden’s Roundhouse, the project questions the attitudes towards religious and social codes that promote guilt and shame.

Atalanta (2011)
This piece takes the spectator on a 15-minute walk through the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Guided by a voice in the earphones and video footage matching the pathway, the audiences discover a story of the mythical Greece runner Atalanta, reflecting on the continuing challenges that contemporary women face in sport.

A Hairy Tale (2010)
Inspired by the tale of Rapunzel and the Bearded Lady Sideshow, A Hairy Tale explores persistent and changing views on hair, image and identity and its various connotations of beauty, shame, disgust, religion, disease or punishment. Choreographed for the intimate as well as exposing spaces of the Spiral Booth tower as part of 1:1 Architecture for Small Spaces. Commissioned by the V&A Museum.

Asterion (2008-9)
A short video walk around the Cast Court at the V&A Museum based on the story of The House of Asterion by Jean Luis Borges. During the walk a mysterious story unfolds enabling the visitors to experience the museum in a different light.

The Forest (2004)
A site-specific performance set up in the Newlands Corner, Guildford. The project draws the adult audience away from the comfort and familiarity of the theatre, into the woodland dusk. The Forest taps into the dark veins running deep within our ideas of primeval longing and fears. A piece was commissioned by the Department of Dance Studies, University of Surrey and funded by the Arts Council of England.

The Forbidden (2001)
An inhabited installation in the Clore Studio at the Royal Opera House, London. Inspired by the world of Little Red Riding Hood and Angela Carter’s re-interpretation of the tale, seven sisters group created a fantastical maze-like environment of walls, walks and pathways transforming the empty space into an all-encompassing sensory experience. Spectators were asked to find their way through the labyrinth, encountering performance in a forest of truths, lies and confessions. Commissioned by the Royal Opera House.

Ballroom (2001)
Created for the ballroom floor of the Royal Festival Hall, the piece plays with clichés and stereotypes of ballroom dancing, conjuring up tender, funny, embarrassing and sensual moments so familiar to all. Above all it celebrates the joy, romance and pleasure of dancing together. Commissioned by the South Bank Centre for the 50th Anniversary of the RFH.

Salomé (1999)
Based on the biblical story of Salomé, this promenade performance was set within the derelict Grand Hotel of St Pancras Chambers in London. It received great critical acclaim and was a sell out success of the Spring Loaded season. The multi-media piece was an interpretation of the themes and ideas displayed in the original story of Salomé and its various reappraisals, especially those of the Fin de Siecle. Salomé embodies persisting stereotypes and conceptions of female sexuality, power, manipulation and violence. Commissioned by The Place Theatre, supported by King’s Cross Partnership, London Continental Railways, Robin Howard Foundation and Camden Council.

Trainstation (1998)
Created for railway stations, Trainstation investigates the social environment and human relations within a distinctive public space, whose characteristics can nonetheless be found across cultures around the globe. Trainstation has toured to 12 cities in Europe including Zurich, Helsinki, Madrid, Munich, Budapest and Prague. Co-commissioned by the South Bank Centre and The Place Theatre and funded through London Arts ‘Creative Developments in Dance Award’.

Permanent staff
Artistic Director: Susanne Thomas
Associate Director: Sophie Jump
Company Manager: Gwen Van Spijk

Current dancers
Fred Gehrig, Alice Sara, Dan Watson, Anna Buonomo, Helen Day, Sophie Preidel, Soledad de la Hoz, Jessamin Landamore, Lea Tirrabasso, Soren Evinson Williams.

Size of company
Small to middle scale, touring.

Contact details
Susanne Thomas
Email: admin@sevensistersgroup.com
Tel: +44 (0)7957 152 957
www.sevensistersgroup.com

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