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Dancing in the streets
by Melvin Rao
In August 2008, 'A Game of 2 ‘Arfs’ was held in Hanley City Centre. Hosted by Frontline Dance, it was a day of contemporary and aerial dance, poetry, music and theatre. BBC Blast Arts Reporter Melvin Rao was at the event.
In 'A Game of 2 ‘Arfs’, local artists took to the streets of Stoke-on-Trent's cultural quarter in Hanley, performing, acting and reciting poetry.
The event was hosted by Frontline dance, in collaboration with Rotten Park Theatre, Staffordshire Dance Collective, Greg Hall (singer and composer) and Wired Ariel Theatre.
The performers started with a parade through Tontine & Old Street attracting large crowds as they showed off their talents. But like a football match, 'Game of 2 ‘Arfs’ then had two distinct performance phases.
Wall dancing and bingo
In the first half there were live performances throughout Hanley centre. The crowd joined in a bingo game which involved the dancers revealing numbers as part of their performance. This took place beside the Gala Bingo building which used to be a dance hall!
The second half was a production on the back wall of the Regent Theatre. It involved dancers suspended in the air doing a choreographed piece which represented youth culture.
I spoke to Matthew O'Leary-Profit - one of the break-dancers at the event. Matthew explained that street theatre is the oldest and most original form of theatre:
"Everyone thinks that theatre is in the Regent... big stage... people onstage. But this is where theatre really started off - on the streets. This is where dance started off, this is where everything started off."
Celebrating local talent
I also spoke to project manager Claire Marshall to find out what the influence was behind the project. She insisted that the whole event was a celebration of local talent:
"We felt that it was time, that there was something that really brought the streets of Stoke alive... something that would be really celebratory of the people who live and here and work here."
One of the other main themes of the event was ‘past and present’ experiences. In the market hall, poetry was being recited about people's experiences from working in the coal mines in celebration of the communities' past experiences.
It was a day that shoppers and workers were stopped in their tracks to join in a celebration of communities past and present.
last updated: 04/09/2008 at 19:46