March-April 2008

Verdant Works, Dundee

Vivienne Westwood

" I am not interested in tailoring, but in the push and pull of the garment against the human body.."

Yarn was a co-production with Dundee Rep, with four performers from the Dundee Rep Ensemble and two from Grid Iron. It was developed over a fourteen-month period and drew upon the politics of clothing, especially the issue of the burka, the history of fabric manufacture, and above all the personal nature of clothes and how they shape us. We were particularly influenced by the work of Louise Bourgeois and her obsession with the spider as spinner and repairer of damage. Texts from Henry James and Thomas Carlyle were interwoven with original writing by Ben Harrison, traditional songs and devised material from the actors.

Louise Bourgeois

" I came from a family of repairers. The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it."

Yarn was presented in promenade in and around the Verdant Works, a former textile mill in the heart of Dundee. It ended in a vast weaving shed, its roof open to the elements, with a kaleidoscopic race under a gigantic spinning spider through a string of tales associated with clothing from Adam and Eve to a contemporary account of child labour.

Louise Bourgeois

" Clothing is a metaphor for the years that pass. For me fashion is the experience of living in this dress, in these shoes. . .You can retell your life and remember your life by the shape, weight, colour and smell of those clothes in your closet. They are like the weather, the ocean-changing all the time."

After a two week research period in January 2007 with the whole of the Dundee Ensemble, the acting company was selected for an intensive script development week in February 2008 with five weeks rehearsal and two weeks of performances in March/April 2008.
The creative team was Georgia McGuinness on design, composition by Philip Pinsky, light by Paul Claydon with choreography by Janet Smith, Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre.