Vessel - Sue MacLaine.jpg

Vessel is the new work by Sue MacLaine Company, written and directed by Sue MacLaine with dramaturgical guidance and co-direction by Jonathan Burrows.

The starting interest for the work is the Anchoress: women who 'chose' to withdraw from the world to live a solitary life of prayer and mortification. The anchoress might be enclosed for twenty, thirty or even fifty years within a small cell, set within a church, with small windows that allowed for particular interactions such as watching services, receiving food and then separately receiving offerings from pilgrims. It's popularity reached heights during the 13th century with the majority of anchorites being women perhaps because of medieval prejudices concerning women, whose unruly bodies needed to be kept under strict control.

Vessel locates the Anchoress and the practice of withdrawal, be that through choice or banishment, as the central metaphor of the work enabling Sue MacLaine to create parallels and pathways to ideas of radical togetherness and radical aloneness, the necessity of solitude, visibility/invisibility, bio-ethics, reproductive rights and person-hood.


The work is for four performers and continues my interest in the marriage of 'accessibility' and form.  Vessel will premiere at the Attenborough Centre in March 2018.

The work has been co-commissioned by the Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts and Battersea Arts Centre with support from University of Manchester and The Place.  The research & development was funded by Arts Council England and a small bursary from The Pebble Trust.

Pictured: Karlina Grace Thomas, Amanda Hadingue, Julie Cleves, Janine Fletcher,  Caroline Hunt,Jonathan Burrows, Brian Duffy