Walking:Holding

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognise, accept and celebrate these differences.” Audre Lorde

PHOTO CREDIT: ROSIE HEALEY - GLASGOW

Click this image for a link to more information about the Walking:Holding Creative Documentary Project

Click this image for a link to an article in Guardian about Walking:Holding written in 2016

Click this image for a link to some audio documentation created by Rosana in 2015, designed to be listened to through headphones in public space.

IMAGES ABOVE: BAS DE BROUER - AMSTERDAM

"It was one of the greatest experiences in my whole life. To feel and be in the gap between private and public, strange and familiar, close and distant."

Participant response, Copenhagen 2016

ʻWalking:Holdingʼ is a subtle, experiential performance that involves one audience member at a time walking through a town or city holding hands with a range of different people on a carefully designed route. Born out of a series of ʻholding hands experimentsʼ in Glasgow, with a range of couples, the piece asks people to challenge prejudices in the flesh, and experience first hand what it is to walk in someone elseʼs shoes - or hands. The work is focused on exploring the experience of queer and marginalised identities in urban environments, and is simultaneously an experiment into what can be learnt when two strangers share an intimate moment in public. It also asks questions of the social diversity and cultural codes within each town that it takes place.

The performers, or ‘hand holders’ are a group of local participants who are different ages, genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and social backgrounds, creating a diverse and rich experience for the audience member. This performance is about bringing very different people together to walk hand in hand in public. It’s about flesh to flesh experiences of difference. It hopes to encourage greater understanding and empathy amongst people who experience it, and to open up new possibilities for ways of being in public space, and ways of being with each other.

I made a creative documentary based on the project in collaboration with film makers Claire Nolan and Charlie Cauchi. This has been supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Arts Council England.

"Everyone acknowledged the astute provocation in Cade's seemingly simple concept, with its flesh and blood challenge to prejudices and its honouring of individuals and their differences." The Herald.

I first made Walking:Holding in 2011 in Glasgow and have since presented it over 40 times, including at the National Theatre, as part of Spill National Platform and Showcase, at Forest Fringe and at Battersea Arts Centre; as well as presenting it regularly across Europe including at Warehouse9 in Copenhagen, Gessneralle in Zurich, Teatro Maria Matos in Lisbon, Frascati in Amsterdam, Kampnagel in Hamburg, Tanz Quartier in Vienna, and Wildwuchs in Basel; and also to Kwai Fong Theatre in Hong Kong. I always work with a range of local participants in each place to make it happen.

I have developed a deep and holistic process for working with the participants, which involves workshops, rehearsals and reflections sessions. I have experience of facilitating a mixture of different group sizes, participants of lots of different ages, people with different access needs, and working across different languages. This process was developed with support from Laurie Brown who worked as a co-facilitator on the project between 2012 -19, and via a mentorship with Adrian Howells in 2013.  

Sally Rose was the producer of Walking:Holding from 2013 - 2019 and supported the development of the project to meet international contexts, as well as being instrumental in the creation of the film.

“Cade’s gorgeous embrace of a piece forms a meditation on intimacy and difference, offering the attractive promise of a pause within the constant noise of the urban space… What eventually emerges from the experience, on a personal level, is a spirit of quiet defiance, of refusal to be deterred by others’ looks or opinions.” Exuent

Produced by Mary Osborn for ArtsAdmin

For more information and tour pack contact Mary on: mary@artsadmin.co.uk

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