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Becky Shaw
A: The Christmas Party, 2010

A: The Christmas Party is a play script, written in 2005 during a residency with Age Concern, Chelsea and Westminster. The script records the six times that a care worker and artist visit an elderly dementia-sufferer in her home. ‘A’s language has been severely disrupted by dementia and when the carers try to engage her, ‘A’ speaks in rhyme, combining a small number of popular songs and nursery rhymes in ever-varying combinations. Through her limited words ‘A’ manages to communicate many things, most obviously that she is lonely, frustrated, tired and bored. Through her cheeky responses and strange observations, ‘A’ also manages to repeatedly embarrass her visitors. The efforts of the care workers to engage her fail many times, and end with a Christmas party, designed to stimulate ‘A’s senses, but ending in near-disaster. The play is intended to communicate a number of things: firstly it presents the tragedy and, often surreal, comedy of care, and the extraordinary determination people have to communicate.

Rather than a dramatic performance, A: The Christmas Party is simply a reading. All six acts were read in one reading, with no rehearsal. It was intended to capture the genuine effort of endurance, the highs and the lows of a long distance effort, without the need for acting. It is hoped that the context of the reading, rather than a performance, abstracts the text, focuses on words and circumvents the need for characterisation and the inherent danger of parody.

The readers are:
A: Terry O’Connor
Becky: Rhiannon Armstrong
June: Song MinJong
The Carer: Becky Shaw
The Optician: Daryl Peat

Sound recording and editing by Daryl Peat. Recorded at Sheffield Hallam University

A limited edition text version of A: The Christmas Party is available to order from Sheffield Contemporary Art Forum.

Each act of the play was broadcast on consecutive six Friday mornings during Art Sheffield 2010, on 93.2fm /www.sheffieldlive.org

Born in 1971, Dudley, UK.
Lives in Sheffield, UK

Thanks to Terry O’Connor – member of Forced Entertainment and AHRC CreativeResearch Fellow at Roehampton University, and to Sheffield Live! FM
Image credit: Dialogue from A: The Christmas Party, Becky Shaw, 2010

Collectable postcards available free at each venue:

Ruth Ewan
Moderately Wrathful, 2010

Through manipulated or redirected situations Ruth Ewan’s projects bring lesser-known histories back into circulation. Working with print, performance and installation she examines the ways in which individuals and groups have utilised creative forms in an attempt to redefine their world.

Developed for Art Sheffield 2010 – Life: A User’s Manual, drawing on Sheffield’s radical history, Moderately Wrathful consists of a series of images distributed via all Art Sheffield venues. In a pamphlet published by Sheffield’s Holberry Society, a man called Sam Holmes describes how, at the age of 14, upon becoming a builder’s apprentice, he was presented with a copy of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (1914) by Robert Tressell (1870-1911). Holmes refers to the giving of this particular novel as a common gesture towards new apprentices, not only as a welcoming gift but also a handbook of sorts. Referencing the work of Robert Tressell, Moderately Wrathful combines images and text, cross referencing polemic extracts from Tressell’s novel, with several lesser-known drawings by the author of early aircrafts and hot air balloons.

Born in1980, Aberdeen, Scotland.
Lives in London, UK

Supported by the Yorkshire Artspace Residency Programme
Image credit: Fire Balloon, Robert Tressell, 1902, Courtesy The Robert Tressell Family Papers

On billboard sites outside Bloc

Kate Davis / Jimmy Robert
A conversation between A and B, 2010

Kate Davis and Jimmy Robert have both previously produced works that use art historical moments as points of departure, often re-presenting existing material combined with representations of their own bodies.

Informed by successive waves of feminist art and theory, Davis has rethought representations of the female body in response to art historical fragments through photography, printmaking, sculpture, drawing and film. Working across a range of media that includes photography, film, sculpture, print and collage, as well as performance, Robert has a similar interest in exposing the fragility of representation by exploring the relation between image and object, drawing attention to the dynamics of different surfaces and making subtle transitions from an image to its concept and from a text to an idea.

A conversation between A and B, is a new collaborative work developed specifically for the context of Art Sheffield 2010 – Life: A User’s Manual. Presented as poster works across the city of Sheffield, it is at once a public and private dialogue, prowling the parameters of the life room to unpick a linear reading of that floorspace and beyond.

Kate Davis – born in 1977, Wellington, New Zealand, lives in Glasgow, UK.
Jimmy Robert – born in 1975, Guadeloupe, France, lives in Brussels, Belgium.

Supported by The Elephant Trust
Image credit: A Conversation between A & B, Kate Davis/Jimmy Robert, 2010


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