Choreographer Rosie Kay returns to the stage in a new solo triple bill

David Mead

Five years since last appearing on stage herself, and 21 years since her first ever solo show, Absolute Solo, Rosie Kay, choreographer of the critically acclaimed 5 Soldiers (watch here), 10 Soldiers (to be streamed on August 12, 2020 as part of the Army@The Virtual Fringe season), MK Ultra and Fantasia, has announced that she is to return to the stage to perform a new solo work as part of a triple bill, Absolute Solo II.

Created in lockdown, the new, currently untitled, piece will premiere alongside Artemis Clown, which she made in 2018 but has never performed herself, and a screen dance version of the award-winning Patisserie, from 1999.

Much depends on the guidance in place at the time but Kay anticipates premiering her new work in November 2020, live in her home city of Birmingham, in front of a socially distanced audience. It will also be live streamed to audiences at home. As timescales for theatre reopening are presently unclear, venue and ticket sale details will be announced when they can be confirmed.

Edinburgh born Kay stopped performing in 2015, after a career spanning over thirty years on stage and has been happy to be behind the scenes for the past five years. However, the draw to perform again was recently reignited when she had to stand in for one of the 5 Soldiers dancers on its tour of the USA in February 2020. Any feelings of insecurity quickly went, the experience affirming her thoughts and passion to once again perform on stage.

As part of making the new solo, she recently completed a five day ‘virtual’ residency at C-DaRE, (Centre for Dance Research at the University of Coventry), where she spent time thinking about her own life and her own body as the material. As well as looking at themes in her 1999 debut solo works, she revisited her 1998 university dissertation. Using these early influences, Kay has also been looking at core feminist texts and their relevance to today’s society.

Now, as an older dancing woman, she has something to say about the female body, and the experience of being female and being on stage. Part autobiography, part socio-anthropological study, she will use ideas of performance, identity, sex and gender to explore her new dancing spirit.

Rosie Kay says, “It is a strange coincidence that I had felt the draw back to performing and had already begun to make a new solo work before the recently enforced lockdown and social distancing measures. As much of the theatre industry is paralysed by the current restrictions working alone happens to be the only way I can continue to make and present art to audiences right now. Whilst it feels odd to announce a new show without an exact premiere date and venue confirmed I feel it is important to continue creating and connecting with audiences despite the restrictions of the current time.”