Projects » Seen and Heard » Masque


The Arts of the Vampire

If there is in this world one story that has been attested, it is that of Vampires, Will we all be damned for not believing in them?

– Jean Jacques Rousseau

This project allowed young people to work with three professional artists, as well as collaboratively, and sharing ideas and skills with other young artists, writers, photographers in the Middlesbrough area.

The showcase events allowed the generated art & performance work to be shown alongside that of 8 -14 year olds, B.A degree students, F.E students, an unsigned rock band – Confucius Saint, and vampire role-players; all contained within the general theme of gothic arts/literature and the mythology of the vampire.

Many of the workshops were designed to build confidence and develop problem solving skills and negotiation skills, offering alternative ways of dealing with difficult situations through creative re-interpretation.

Much of the work focused on the issue of social masks. One session dealt specifically with the masks expected by job interviewers and other authority figures; how dress, body language and voice contributed to a certain image. Another session explored the masks the participants prepared while getting ready for a night out or a party.

The workshops included mask making and poetry workshops, as well as exposing the group to short stories and poems that related to the emerging issues.

The project also included a Performance Skills Day at Arc, to explore vocal projection and physical movements, with lighting and sound support. This led to a series of sessions devoted to choreographing a dance routine based on the poem Vamp by Bob Beagrie. The dance was performed in vampire costume against visual projections as part of the showcase event on 20th Feb 2001.

Many of the young people from Middlesbrough Careers Club had never explored their potential for creative expression, and were thrilled for their writing, visual and performance work to be given a public showing, as well as images and poems published in the Upper Case Y2K anthology.

Confucious Saint, a young Middlesbrough band created the soundtrack for the performances and also performed at the showcase event.

The studio recording sessions for this work allowed the band to work with digital sound specialists and explore other approaches to their music.