Manchester International Festival (February 2020 – July 2021)
Sea Change was a daring new mass participatory public realm dance work created by French Choreographer Boris Charmatz for the opening of the 2021 Manchester International Festival. Featuring a company of over 140 Greater Manchester residents performing alongside professionals, Sea Change filled a 300m stretch of road in the heart of Manchester City centre with a chain of dancers, each performing and repeating a section of choreography over a three hour durational performance. Rather than the work moving on in front of the audience, it was up to audiences to ‘move on’ the work: walking past waves of dancers to animate the action into their very own living flipbooks.
Created especially for the Festival, Sea Change made for a unique and captivating response to the Covid-19 pandemic – a celebration of togetherness in a post-lockdown world.
“Sea Change is a huge human flipbook – and we invite you to flip the pages by walking down Deansgate past the performers. Stroll or walk to your own rhythm, and stop wherever and whenever you like: look around, look back and take your time. When you’ve finished, please feel free to do it again – as many times as you like… Sea Change is a moving landscape where you will discover the piece as you walk through the work. I am thrilled that after all these locked-down months, you’ve come to share this unique moment of togetherness with us.” Boris Charmatz
I was Producer of the project for Manchester International Festival, leading a team of over 200 to develop and deliver this ambitious mass participatory project under exceptionally challenging circumstances during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“[Taking part in] this event at this time after the experience we have all gone through collectively and individually with the pandemic made this experience incredibly meaningful and lifegiving – you gave me back something that at one point I feared I had lost for good (I have been slow and fearful to get back to ‘normal’) and reminded me of who I am and who I can be.” Participant
“A delicate, moving enterprise… Charmatz reminds us that we humans are communal creatures, we’re meant to be around each other, and something doesn’t need to take place in a temple – or a theatre – to have a ritual function and a bonding warmth.” The Guardian