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 being created for an ensemble of five/six performers and is being envisaged as a promenade performance, premiering in Spring 2018.
The work has been co-commissioned by the Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts and Battersea Arts Centre and is currently in the research & development phase funded by Arts Council England and a small bursary from The Pebble Trust