Doing It in the Street
Actor and academic Martin Reeve occasionally takes to the streets under the performance name of Mr Lucky, the Man with the Raining Umbrella. It's an act he's been doing for the last twenty-five years or so, since he first teamed up with street theatre company Avanti Display. He's fascinated by the way that street theatre, or outdoor performance which is free and accessible to anyone passing by, affects our perceptions of the spaces around us: shopping centres, streets and squares, buildings, parks and public places. For him, it's a more radical and dangerous art form than might be imagined, with its roots in the political turbulence of the 1960s when companies like Welfare State International decided to take art and performance out of theatres and galleries onto the streets as a deliberate counter-cultural tactic. Although it may now feel less radical, often confined to festivals, civic celebrations and corporate entertainment, he believes street theatre can still make us see the world differently, and stop traffic momentarily to make the familiar seem, just for a moment, unfamiliar and extraordinary.