Two voicing dancers. 56 wigs. Giggly, squiggly, wiggly sounds. Oodles of curls. Sounds flow like pearls. Straight, bendy, twisty, twirly. Long, short, up and down. Our wigs voice us out. And you might echo back! No need to worry – no pretty singing here – as wigs take us on a journey. Sounds and movements – wigs invent them – and you do it too. A joyful romp through how we invent ourselves, as we shift and twist and age and grow. We revel in sculpting our very selves: our voices, our hair, our bodies… For children, their adults, and their singing, zinging hair.

Wig Show also brings the making of vocal sound, and the making of danced gesture, together. Building on the concept that vocalisation is a kind of choreography of the tongue, Wig Show invites children to explore the link between movement hands and fingertips. Through doing so, children investigate the mechanics how we invent the sounds of language, and how we invent larger scale body movement. Wig Show invites children to experience from within their own bodies the playful nature of how we produce vocal sound; how we produce language itself; and how this relates to the production of gesture. Removing the making of vocal sound from 'singing' or 'speaking' means that the children don't have to make 'beautiful' sound to be heard, or make 'beautiful' gestures: any sound and any movement matters.

Wig Show brings queered body politics to children in a way they can explore, enjoy and engage passionately with: the combination of voice and gesture means that we initiate them into a world where shaping the self becomes not just a fundamental right, but also fun: a source of pleasure.

The show uses what we call the ‘voice- expanding mirror principle’ to engage and involve audiences in exploring their unusual and idiosyncratic vocal individuality. Until age 11, we know that neurologically, children are ‘hard-wired’ to acquire, play with, and expand their range of phonemes and linguistic contours. We also know that when they make ‘bothersome’, unusual, strongly emotional, or otherwise ‘ugly’ vocal sound, children are often silenced across Western cultures. What’s more, as children mature, voice becomes part of the body systems that are ‘policed’ in order to enforce ideas about how children should ‘perform’ identity. Boys are supposed to sound ‘masculine’, girls ‘feminine’, migrants ‘foreign’... in reality, the range of sounds the human voice is capable of making is rich, wide, and even ‘extreme’. Children know this, but their unusual voicings, and their explorations of identity, are often policed, silenced, or curtailed.

For ages 3 to 5, and 6 to 12 years. Two tailored versions for each age group.

Concept, voice-a-turgy and direction: Yvon Bonenfant

Direction & choreography: Robin Dingemans
Devised & performed: Robin Dingemans & Ann-Helena McLean

Light design: Ricardo da Fonseca/RDF Lighting and Ronald Salas

Costume: Erik Annerborne

Supported by: Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, Swedish Arts Council, Stockholm City, Stockholm Region, University of Winchester & University of Cork.

Co-commissioned by Weld, Stockholm & The Place, London.

Touring 2020 onwards, more dates coming soon


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