Alice Theobald and ‘The Bear Pit’

20 July – 8 August 2015


This summer Grand Union is working alongside Outpost (Norwich) and Mexico (Leeds) to program a series of residencies and events at Focal Point Gallery (Southend-On-Sea).

Grand Union has invited artist Alice Theobald to be in residence for a 3-week period, culminating in a presentation of a new performative work on 8 August.

During her three week residency in ‘The Bear Pit’ at Focal Point Gallery, Alice Theobald will be drawing from research on The Theatre of the Absurd, a term coined by critic Martin Esslin in a 1960 essay. The Theatre of the Absurd was a style of theatre associated with the work of a group of playwrights in the late 1950s which cohered with Albert Camus’ existentialist view that the human situation is essentially absurd in its struggle to find purpose and to control its fate.

Using Southend-On-Sea as a location to gather source material and inspiration, and ‘The Bear Pit’ as a site for experimentation, process, and performance, the gallery will simultaneously become a space for production and ‘the production’ itself. Theobald will relish in this paradox which denies a sense of finality and an ‘end product’ at the same time as presenting and playing itself out as something staged and worthy of observation; plot will be eliminated through use of dislocated language, word-play, clichés and repetitions, allowing potential for a timeless, nonsense and circular quality to emerge—perhaps a bit like life itself.

Opening event:
Saturday 18 July
6pm – late

Closing event:
Saturday 8 August
6 – 8pm
Closing event, with presentation of new performative work by Alice Theobald.

Return bus available from London to Southend-On-Sea for both events. Email to reserve a place.

Artist Biography
Alice Theobald creates live performance, video, installation and music to actively explore the division between stage and life and the discrepancy between expression, appearance and feeling. Borrowing from the vocabulary of cinema, television, theatre, literature and musical scores, Theobald is interested in the make-up and construction of performance, the challenges of acting and the blurring of character creation on and off “stage” whilst circling questions of representation, manipulation, sincerity and genuine behaviour. Layered wordplay, gesture, repetition and double-entendres accumulate to multi-faceted compositions that reflect and loop back on themselves as slippery, tragicomic truths about relationships, everyday life and typically introspective paranoias and doubts.

Alice Theobald (b.1985) lives and works in London. In 2014 she undertook The Future Autumn Residency at Wysing Arts Centre, presented I’ve said yes now, that’s it. for Chisenhale Gallery’s Interim programme and in 2013 completed the Gasworks International Performance Residency where consequently she was invited on Triangle Arts Trust International Workshop in Muscat, Oman. Selected past/future exhibitions include: The Boys The Girls The Political, curated by Lynton Talbot and Hana Noorali, Lisson gallery, London (2015); The Fifth Artist, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (2015); Open Source, London (2015); Dear Luxembourg, Nosbaum Reding Projects, Luxembourg (2015); Too Much, Two Queens, Leicester (2014); Marmalade Me, South London Gallery (2014); I’ve said yes now, that’s it., Outpost, Norwich (2014); AFTER/HOURS/DROP/BOX, Modern Art Oxford, Spike Island, Bristol (2014); Young London, V22, London (2013); They Keep Putting Words In My Mouth! An Operetta of Sorts, Pilar Corrias, London (2013) 6th Tropical Lab, ICA, Singapore (2012).