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.
James also performs extracts of DRAG on in cabaret settings such as Duckie (the RVT), The Marlborough Theatre (Brighton), 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.
The next Making Mythical Creatures Workshop will be held at Chisenhale Dance Space on 6th and 7th April, 2-6pm each day. Tickets and more information here.
The film, 'Making Mythical Creatures', was created using footage from the 8th November 2016 workshop. 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.”
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.
Research began in August, and was supported by The Place's summer research and development programme, 'Choreodrome'. We shared our work-in-progress on September 2nd 2015 as part of 'Touch Wood', and recently performed a longer version at 'coz if your friends don't dance' at ASYLUM, London on March 2nd 2016. We are currently seeking opportunities to finish the development of the work.
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
It's For You (2014)
Tim and James meet to exchange gifts. The rest is up for negotiation.
An improvised duet with Timothy Clark, performed over five nights as part of Emerge Festival at The Space, Isle of Dogs. 18th - 22nd November 2014.
"It’s For You by Timothy Clark and James Morgan follows, and it has to be said that this is a duo certainly worth catching. Beginning kind of like a play with terrible acting, the pair seem confused by their mutual existence. But what comes to be is improvisation at its best, and the wittiest of parodies of what’s fit for the stage.
A plastic bag and dustpan and brush drive much of the duo’s comical interaction, yet interspersed with verbal dialogue is also seamless, airy dancing. A hilarious injection into the programme, these are artists with fruitful prospects."
‘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.
This is a free dance. Its is made using only free space, free time, free materials and a free body. How can we use what we cannot afford?
Ensemble is a work by choreographer, James Morgan and designer, Charley Fone, first performed 22nd January 2014 at The Place, London. Later performed at Seven Arts, Leeds.
Made in reaction to the culture of free work/labour within the arts, our aim was to create a work that we can afford, avoiding calling in favours and using only free space, materials, and James Morgan as sole performer. These restrictions raised questions as to what extent any piece of art can be free, and how we as artists choose to measure success.
Music - "If I Could Copy You", by Andrew Poppy.
A teaser for the upcoming solo: 'Ensemble', to be performed on 22/01/14 @ The Place. http://www.theplace.org.uk/james-morgan-and-charley-fone-sweet-or-sour-wide-eyed-dance
This review can be found here. The official Resolution! Review can be found here.
Circle², choreographed and performed by James Morgan and Esther Siddiquie.
Music - '12 Thoughts on The Meaning of Others', by Andrew Poppy
Performed on 12th July 2013 in The Robin Howard Dance Theatre @ The Place, London.