Tam Dean Burn and White Horse Collective at Arches' New Works New Worlds festival

Tam Dean Burn and White Horse Collective at Arches' New Works New Worlds festival

The Black and White Minstrel Show

For several years now, the Arches’ New Works New Worlds festival has produced alternative views of both art and the world, and the signs are that Glasgow audiences are increasingly aware of it as a place to go for ideas that swim outside the mainstream.

‘It offers an empowering support platform for alternative thinkers, for them to creatively challenge and explore aspects of our culture in playful and honest ways,’ explains director Suzi Simpson. ‘And it will create, not just a different headspace, but a different physical space.’

She continues: ‘One of the things I’ve done is try to create spaces where people can reflect on and contemplate the art, so there are some installations that people can take part in that allow this in an intimate setting. There are generally a lot of opportunities for people to participate this year.’

Among the dozen or so acts in the festival, White Horse Collective’s Institute for Matters of the Heart takes us away from everyday survival into the world of love. ‘They’ve been collecting and recording love declarations from people all over the world,’ says Simpson. ‘Its intention is to re-engage us with our most tender emotions in an atmosphere of financial and social insecurity. They’re seeking to engage with the audience, who are encouraged to make their own declarations.’

Tam Dean Burn, whose distinguished performances in such pieces as Venus as a Boy and The Year of the Horse render him a kind of prince of the distinctly non-monarchical alternative theatre world, is also back. With actress and singer Linda Duru, Burn will be presenting The Black and White Minstrel Show, a history of racism in Scotland going back 150 years. Meanwhile, Lucy Gaizley presents a study of attitudes to nurture in our society, entitled Stay. As a single mother of three Gaizley will no doubt speak from the heart, though this piece promises to explore darker sides of the subject.

It’s all, as Simpson sums it up, about new ways of thinking. ‘It feels like there’s a theme this year. It’s about community, and making meaningful connections with people through art. It’s a process that brings people together, getting them to share ideas and ask questions of the world.’

The Arches, Glasgow, Wed 30 Jun–Sat 3 Jul

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