Choreographer Gareth Hart and his composer partner Edward Willoughby present a true sensory experience
Let’s not try to explain what Symphony of Strange is about – let’s talk about what it is instead. It’s a new work from choreographer Gareth Hart, his composer partner Edward Willoughby and a five-piece orchestra – the Junk Yard Orchestra, who use non-musical instruments – in the cavernous space of the Substation.
Even trying to pin down the genesis of the idea is tricky. “Like all my creations,” Hart explains, “it came from a daydream. I’ve become more focused on the relationship between sound and dance. My previous work had been too abstract, too strange, but I wanted to embrace the strangeness and being really overt about it.”
Hart was inspired by the French philosopher Gaston Bacherlard text, The Psychoanalysis of Fire. “I love his writing, especially not having a history of studying philosophy; I find his writing accessible. So I started thinking about fire, and then fire is about heat and temperature, and I began thinking about that in relation to space and sound, and how the body responds to that.
“It’s about creating sensory experiences for the audience rather than telling a story,” he says. “I’m not interested in narrative; we make the work we want to see. At a base level, it’s about the body moving.”
Even though Hart and Willoughby have worked together before, this is their first attempt at an organic, evolving process, and being in a relationship certainly helps. “Our entry level of understanding each other is quite high,” Hart explains. “He knows my work and understands the aesthetic of it, and that’s the amazing part of it; it’s a less conscious collaboration. We trust each other.”