devised by Ben Harrison and the Company
April 19th – May 3rd 2008 – Dundee
“I am not interested in tailoring, but in the push and pull of the garment against the human body.”
A deserted warehouse, a former weaving room. The ghosts of weavers and spinners past hang in the air. Hands in the darkness, spinning thread out of yarn.
Yarn: (n) a spun thread as used for knitting, weaving and rope making; a narrative of adventures, esp a tall tale.
Yarn: a tapestry woven from a wide array of texts and imagery, including Ovid, Thomas Carlyle, and Angela Carter.
Yarn: a twisting, turning and sensuous journey through a labyrinth of installation, narrative, song and dance.
Bringing together Dundee Rep’s internationally renowned acting company with Grid Iron’s reputation for creating award winning site specific productions, within the hidden spaces of Verdant Works, a former Jute Mill in the heart of Dundee’s industrial quarter, Yarn was a unique event exploring aspects of Dundee’s past through the present and its future through the past.
What The Press Said:
Working together for the first time, the two companies effectively entwine in an emotional and political tapestry connecting clothing and people in a narrative of adventure spun by director Ben Harrison…Each superb soliloquy casts light on a memory – or experience – involving a garment, releasing feelings of anger, envy, regret, lust and in the case of Victorian wear, a humorous bedroom scene…The diverse politics of clothes, from the wedding dress to the burka, to child weavers in third world countries, is a major thread throughout incorporating the use of clever puppetry. This is an outstanding production, delivered by a brilliant cast….The audience is led seamlessly through with little dilution in emotional intensity, an ongoing fascination holding the pieces together generating a truly unforgettable theatrical experience Dundee audiences should grab with both hands.Evening Telegraph and Post
a wholly charming series of reflections on the role of clothes and fabrics in human history, sexuality and identity….The mood is playful, with a hint of mediaeval pastiche and gothic horror... What’s attractive about Yarn is its imaginative attempt to engage with Dundee as a textile town, and to use the words and voices of Dundee Ensemble to evoke a deeper understanding of its past. It also features a bracing sense of internationalism…And it has a gloriously eclectic finale, co-staged in an old roofless mill-shed by Janet Smith of Scottish Dance Theatre, that races like a thing possessed through an eccentric world history of cloth and its abuses, leaving the audiences with a 90 minute experience that’s not deep, but glamorous, allusive and sometimes even thought-provoking.★ ★ ★ ★ The Scotsman
It’s been interesting watching Grid Iron add an explicitly political dimension to their output over the past couple of years, much of it gleaned from extensive work in the Middle East. Here are war correspondents in disguise and photo-ops of how to get from burqua to blindfold in five easy steps. What we’re left with in this co-production with Dundee Rep is classic Grid Iron with an edge, ripping through layers of human artifice to get to the heart of the matter. They wear it well, on their sleeves and everywhere else.★ ★ ★ ★ The Herald
Ben Harrison’s direction, incredible technical team and well drilled ushers ensure the show goes off without a hitch and the constant shift in segments ensures the 90 minutes run time flies past. Like “Roam” before it, “Yarn” is one of those rare productions which hits the balance between being entertaining and thought-provoking just right.View from the Stalls
Cast & Crew:
Assistant Director: Cora Bissett
Producer: Judith Doherty
Set/Costume Designer: Georgia McGuinness
Composer & Sound Designer: Philip Pinsky
Lighting Designer: Paul Claydon
Choreographer: Janet Smith
Deputy Stage Manager: Mickey Graham
Puppetmaker & Trainer: Ailie Cohen
General Manager: Fiona Dougal
Finance & Development Officer: Deborah Crewe
Office Dogs: Hector & Tigger
Technical Manager: Nils Den Hertog
Company Stage Manager: Rose Ann Gross
Deputy Stage Manage:r Kate McGreary
Assistant Stage Manager: Rachel Miller
Head of Wardrobe: Phyllis Byrne
Wardrobe Cutter: Liz McCafferty
Wardrobe Assistant: Sally Cram
Wardrobe Maintenance: Susan Ranstead
Dresser: Angie McGregor
Scenic Artist: Leila Kalbassi
Head of Sound: Nick Bryan
Deputy LX: Kate Pearce
Front of House: Beata Zemanek
Transmedia Assistants: Daniel Ford, Paris Grimmond, Sara Kemal, Nina Melville, Eve Moore & Georgia Murray
Office Dog: Douglas
The shows are listed in chronological order with the most recent first.