Artists’ group The Theatre of Mistakes (1974-81) pioneered a structured performance art traversing architecture, choreography and poetry as well as visual art. They formed in London in the early 1970s from a series of open workshops at which instructional and games-based exercises were the focus. These came to inform The Street (1975), a performance with the residents and environment of Ascham Street in Kentish Town. Co-founders Fiona Templeton and Anthony Howell distilled the exercises into a publication, Elements of Performance Art (1976), arguably the first manifesto for performance art in the UK. A core group was constituted through an agreement to produce contained and systematic works for a five-year duration, whereby strict planning would also allow for 'mistakes'.
Live elements in this exhibition mark two key phases of The Theatre of Mistakes. Each afternoon in the galleries with open participation, Anthony Howell will re-visit exercises from the workshops, while each Friday and Saturday evening performances will take place of Going (1977). Directed by Fiona Templeton, a cast of five will play out clichéd mannerisms of departure in five tightly choreographed acts, whilst attempting to be each other.
The Theatre of Mistakes logged its working life, practice and processes in detail, both diaristically, for instance describing distributions of labour, and diagrammatically in a variety of spatial and choreographic notations, as well as in photography. The exhibition will explore this unique legacy.
The exhibition is curated by Jason E. Bowman. For further booking information about Going and information about participation in the workshops, please visit www.ravenrow.org.