Interview: Clod Ensemble, Latitude Festival: ‘There is a real variety of performance work and lots to choose from, and then there are the pink sheep, which we are looking forward to.’

Clod Ensemble On The High Road

Clod Ensemble On The High Road

Clod Ensemble are one of the UK’s most prominent interdisciplinary performance companies. For over two decades, director Suzy Willson and composer Paul Clark have developed an original performance language, creating provocative, finely crafted work, ambitious in scale and concept. The company works at the intersection of different forms and disciplines – at the point where they meet, transform and challenge each other to become something new. Clod Ensemble collaborate with dancers, actors, musicians, medics, architects and orchestras. The Company has been presented in London, across the UK and internationally in theatres, dance houses, galleries and public spaces including Sadler’s Wells, Tate Modern, The Lowry Salford, Wales Millennium Centre, Serralves Museum Porto and Public Theater New York.

Clod Ensemble will be in the Latitude Festival theatre line-up with ‘On The High Road’ and this will be the first time they have appeared at Latitude so it’s a really exciting moment for them, apparently.
I asked the company some questions, which you can read — with responses, arranged in the format of what one might vaguely term ‘Q&A’— below. You know the drill.

Hello! You guys must be thrilled to be part of the Latitude theatre line-up. What a momentous day this is for everyone involved!
It’s our first time at Latitude and we have created a special festival edit of a new show called On the High Road that we are really excited to be sharing with the audiences here.

On The High Road sounds like it could be inspired by the present day society.
We first started thinking about the piece nearly ten years ago – it was a very different time politically. We were really keen to get the piece made this year, as, you’re right, it is thematically addressing a lot of the fears we are seeing at the moment, both here and in other parts of the world.

Which other theatre company’s fanbase would most neatly transition to Clod Ensemble fans if that other company dramatically called it a day or were in a severe but non-lethal accident?
There are many companies and artists we admire and perhaps people who like their work would like ours – it’s a long list …. Boris Charmatz, Meg Stuart, Rosas, Tanztheatre Wuppertal – Pina BauschMichael Clark Company, Heiner Goebbels, Ligia Lewis, Split BritchesWooster Group, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, William Forsythe, Manchester Camerata, Sheila Ghelani, SunRa Arkestra …

What makes Latitude so special?
It’s a great mix of music, a theatre and dance. There is a real variety of performance work and lots to choose from, and then there are the pink sheep, which we are looking forward to.

Would it be fair to say that Clod Ensemble are not like other theatre companies?

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen on the internet?
The readers’ comment section on Breitbart News is pretty depressing.

Clod Ensemble strike me as quite a unique and experiential theatre company. Is that a fair assessment?
It’s quite unusual to have a 20 year collaboration between an musician/ composer and a choreographer/ director.

What do you think of the other acts on the Latitude theatre and dance line-up?

Right you are. Have you read any good books lately? 
We both read Maggie Nelson’s brilliant book The Art of Cruelty – about how violence is dealt with in visual art, cinema, theatre.

Interesting. There is certainly no shortage of diversity at Latitude is there?
Its brilliant to see such a mix of work in one festival.

How important is spectacle in performance?
It depends what you mean by ‘spectacle’ – there is certainly a lot to look at in our shows.

When you’re touring and promoting a show for years do you lose track of what the fun bit of it was when you were making it in the first place?