It’s time for a change. I’m searching for fleeting, unexpected transformations; the ‘how-did-we-get-here’, ‘what-the-hell-just-happened’ moment; dancing, drag-ing, dressing and undressing through space and time.
How can temporary gestures can function as more than exercises in escapism? The worlds we build through performance, however transient, must be meaningful and lasting projections into the future. In a world ogling stability (but firmly in flux), I’m seeking magic.
Early scratch performances: 29/09 at Le Plus Grande Cabaret du Monde at Assembly Point Gallery, Peckham, as part of Art Licks Weekend; 15/08 at 'Bar Wotever', Royal Vauxhall Tavern; and 18/06 at 'GUSH VOL.2' (Jamila Johnson Small and David Panos).
DRAG ON (2017)
DRAG ON is a theatre work which straddles the margins between a drag act, performance lecture, and contemporary dance piece. As part of this project I am also curating and organising workshops, lectures, cabaret performances and research events.
Merging dance, text and projection, DRAG ON embraces fantasy, sci-fi and myth to ask what they can reveal about being present and queer in the modern world. It seeks to displace humanity from its centre-stage position: as things stand today, aren’t we better off as monsters than humans?
The theatre work premiered on 6th-11th February 2017 as part of NOW 17 at The Yard. Developed with support from Arts Council England, Chisenhale Dance Space, The Marlborough Theatre, Brighton, and The Place. Click here for press and audience feedback.
James also performs extracts of DRAG on in cabaret settings such as Duckie (the RVT), The Marlborough Theatre (Brighton), The BFI, Latitude Festival (Live Art Tent), The Shay Shay Show (Limewharf), Chelsea Theatre (with David Hoyle) and TripSpace Projects. Future performances can be found here.
+ 'Making Mythical Creatures, a workshop series with Eleanor Sikorski exploring transformation and performance. Next at Chisenhale Dance Space 6th and 7th April 2017, 2-6pm - Tickets.
+ 'We Green Things', a double bill with drag/performance artist, Oozing Gloop at Chisenhale Dance Space on 21st April 2017. (info tbc).
+ 'DRAG BEASTS (2016), a curated evening of monstrous drag films and performances by myself, Antonio de la Fe, Foxy and Husk and Eleanor Sikorski 18th November 2016.
DRAG ON Trailer
Performance/choreography - James Morgan. Dramaturgy - Charlie Ashwell Lighting Design - Sofie Gynning Costume - Alex Springer, Chloe Mead Footage - Eleanor Sikorski
DRAG ON at The Yard Theatre as part of NOW 17 Images - Chloe Wicks.
Making Mythical Creatures
A workshop series facilitated by Eleanor Sikorski and James Morgan. This project is an extension of their own love of dressing up and the temporary idea of ‘trying on’ - assuming, embodying and discarding - opening the door to fantasies and alter-egos. Welcome to an alternative reality. Recent workshops:
+ Three 45 minute workshops for children 3+ and their families as part of Family Dance Day at The Place, 22nd July.
+ All day workshop for artists at Chisenhale Dance Space, 8th November 2016. Film created during the day - credits below.
Film by James Morgan and Eleanor Sikorski Camera by Alex Springer
Featuring: Lorea Burge Roisin Green Victoria Guy Billie Grace Hewitt-Pavlica Claire Keating Emily Roubicek Lara Voggensperger
Filmed at Chisenhale Dance Space, supported by their Allotment Fund.
Making Mythical Creatures (Film) - see credits opposite
Lorea Burge Badiola. Photo by Alex Springer
Billie Grace Hewitt-Pavlica and Claire Keating. Photo by Alex Springer
The Face to Face (2016)
They stood facing one another, both silently demanding “thou shalt not kill me.”
Supported by The Place's research and development programme, 'Choreodrome'. Performed March 2017 at 'Now & Next', tanzhaus nrx, Dusseldorf, Germany; March 2016 at 'coz if your friends don't dance' at ASYLUM, London; September 2015 at 'Touch Wood', The Place London.
This is a collaborative project with Esther Siddiquie and Alex Springer, inspired by the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. The "rapport de face a face" proposes that in a face to face encounter, one person is called into “giving and serving” the other, creating a relationship that generates ‘otherness’ and is inherently asymmetrical.
Footage taken from 'cos if your friends don't dance' @ ASYLUM, Peckham, March 2016
A Dance for the End of the World (2015)
A Dance for the End of the World is a lonely celebration of the apocalypse. The piece borrows from recognisable instances of armageddon found in pop culture, science, religion and politics, juxtaposing common signifiers of destruction with those of celebration: big budget catastrophe movies meets town hall fetes. This is the end, but it is also a send off, a party, a wake. Endings are both necessary and inevitable: days, relationships, lives, eras and dance pieces, all must end.
A collaborative project with designer, Charley Fone. The first version of the work was shown at The Place as part of Resolution! 2015. We will continue development during a residency at Yorkshire Dance in January, with the view to premiere later in 2016. Other collaborators include Thomas Yeomans (sound design), Dan Saggars (lighting design), and Wilfred Petherbridge (music).
First workshopped during 'Exit Visa', The Place's professional development programme. Special thanks to The Place, Mari Colbert, Lawrence Gorringe, Thomas Hands, Sivan Rubinstein and Esther Siddiquie for their input.
Special thanks to The Place, Yorkshire Dance and The Tricycle Theatre.
A Dance for the End of the World - Trailer
A project by James Morgan and Charley Fone. Footage from first iteration of the work, Feb 2015.
Sound Design: Thomas Yeomans Lighting Design: Dan Saggars Music Credit: MOGAWR by Wilfred Petherbridge
Special thanks to The Place, Yorkshire Dance and The Tricycle Theatre
Charley and James. Photo by Dan Saggars.
Postcard made by Charley Fone
Success Comes in Cans (2014)
‘Success Comes In Cans’ is a brazen affront to the system that says: “you can do anything if you set your mind to it”. In a world that seeks to ensure your failure, how can you determine your own success? Seductive neoliberal values and the exploitative drivel of self-help culture provokes the performer into provoking the audience.
This ongoing project has been shown publicly two different forms: a site specific, audience-interactive performance commissioned by Fringe Shorts at The Place, and an immersive video installation at the Visual Arts event, The Fungalow, Curated by Alex Springer.
An interactive film installation which directs the viewers attention between the on-screen protagonist and the room he inhabits. Shown as part ofthe Fungalow, 10th to 15th September 2014.
This site-specific solo was commissioned by 'Fringe Shorts' at The Place, and performed in the theatre bar over three nights in July 2014. Photo by Thomas Yeomans.