Accidental Theatre bring Gordon Osràm’s Funeral to the stage
Performance art and drama collide as the consistently innovative Accidental Theatre presents the world premiere of Gordon Osràm’s Funeral. A dark and daring immersive exploration of culture, art and identity, this multimedia play has been developed by Accidental from an original script by Dave Kinghan, supported by Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Gordon Osràm was an internationally-renowned performance artist whose career spanned more than three decades. Spending the last years out of the spotlight, the reclusive Osràm has now crafted his own ‘funeral’ – an exhibition celebrating his career and resulting in an original performance piece, one last great work of art.
Gordon Osràm’s Funeral is a dark exploration of art, identity and culture and audiences will find themselves in a performance retrospective tracing the path of the elusive Osràm’s life and work, featuring videos, photographs, interventions and interactive exhibits. As the night unfolds, a personal question faces everyone present: What memory of ourselves do we wish to leave behind?
In Belfast, the location is the spectacular industrial interior of the listed 1860s four storey Riddell’s Warehouse in Ann Street. Itself earmarked for redevelopment as an art gallery, Riddell’s Warehouse will provide a unique setting for this distinctive theatrical experience where the lines between space, performer and spectator are constantly shifting. Audiences can customise their own experience of the production – either as a participant at the exhibition, a gallery attendant getting in amongst the action, or as part of a three-person camera crew providing a live feed of the performance.
Accidental’s theatre is a collision of perspectives, art forms and unusual collaborations – curious stories told through vibrant, ambitious performances.
Director Richard Lavery said, ‘It’s not just a question for artists, but for all of us: how do we want to be remembered? What is our legacy?The script explores issues around identity, and challenges us to consider what stops us from being the fullest version of who we are? What makes us self-censor? Why are we often embarrassed to be ourselves? Is it basic instinct or social mores?
‘It’s been intriguing to integrate the two very different worlds of drama and performance art. Drama is about theatricality and illusion, whereas performance art can be about authenticity of an experience and the honesty of putting your whole person on the line. It’s an interesting proposition. What propels us to create art? Where does it come from in our lives? What inner version of ourselves do we reveal? And conversely, for the audience, is our interest in how a piece of art makes us feel or so we can say we’ve seen it and tweet about it?’
Gilly Campbell, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented, ‘The Arts Council is pleased to support this bold new play and regional tour from Accidental Theatre. The play is fresh and innovative, promising an exciting and immersive experience for audiences across the region. I would encourage everyone to go along.’
Pay your respects at Gordon Osràm’s Funeral and raise a toast to the artist. Leave your own mark and confront your inner motives whilst exploring the sights, sounds and events of Osràm’s final hurrah. Mourning dress optional.
- Preview Monday 14th March. Runs Tuesday 15th – Saturday 19th March. (Press Night 15thMarch): Riddell’s Warehouse, Ann Street, Belfast. 7.30pm.
- Wednesday 13th – Saturday 16th April (Press Night 13th April): The Complex, Dublin
- Wednesday 20th & Thursday 21st April: Shambles Market, Armagh
- Saturday 23rd April: The Playhouse, Derry