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2017: Of Man and Beast…Interview

The countdown has started, only nine more days to go and we can enjoy the wonderful performances at bOing! 2017. We caught up with Becky Atkinson, the Company coordinator of Company Chameleon about their performance Of Man And Beast.

How did Company Chameleon begin?

Company Chameleon began as an idea over 20 years ago. Myself and Anthony (Missen, Chameleon’s Co-Artistic Director) became friends at Trafford Youth Dance Theatre. It was there when we were children where the dream of having our own dance company was born. We dreamed that one day we would come back to Manchester after dancing around the world and set up our own company. We both went through professional training together then went off and worked with different companies and choreographers across the globe. In 2007 in Vienna over coffee we made the decision to move back to Manchester and set up our own company and that is how the company began.

Tell us about Of Man And Beast:

Of Man And Beast is a piece of dance theatre performed by five men. The work explores masculinity, male group dynamics and male relationships. It tries to explore all aspects of masculinity from the more familiar machismo and bravado to fragility, tenderness and beauty. It explores the beauty and the beast that is contained in man.

What can families expect?

They can expect to see a physical and athletic performance with lots of theatricality. They will be taken on a roller coaster of feelings and experiences as one moment they will be laughing and the other feeling intimidated or emotionally engaged and moved. Hopefully it will allow the audience to question the complexity of what it means to be male.

What does it mean to you to come to bOing! ?

It is great to be invited to bOing! to share our work. We have never been to the festival before and we are excited to see how our work will be received. It is always an honour to be invited to be part of a festival and hope that we can inspire and engage a brand new audience.

At the bOing! 2017 Symposium (Child’s Play?) we are discussing creating work for Early Years, what was the first piece of art/performance you experienced?  Why do you think access to the arts by children & young people is important?

I didn’t come from an arts background, my family never went to the theatre or performance festivals when I was young. The first piece I can remember watching was Ghost Dances by Christopher Bruce and it blew my mind; the incredible dancing, the athleticism and that the fact that the dance had meaning. I think access to arts for children and young people is so important because great art can inspire children and young people’s sense of wonder, imagination and creativity.

The theme for this year’s bOing is fabulous beasties – can you describe, draw or creatively show us a fabulous beastie?

A fabulous beastie is a beastie with style, he is in touch with his wild side but wears a Saville Row suit. He can hunt like the best, tells the best stories when at rest , and always turns heads when he passes. Best of all he knows himself and is not scared by his wild and dark side, but can still make you feel that you are safe is the best friend you ever can have…

Find out more about…

Of Man and Beast

Company Chameleon are also running a free workshop but tickets must be booked in advance – find out more about Lads and Dads dance workshop