The Society of British Theatre Designers

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Louise Ann Wilson

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Louise Ann Wilson is a leading site-specific performance maker, scenographer, director and artist with a national and international profile.

She is the Artistic Director of the Louise Ann Wilson Company, and is currently research and developing a number of site-specific projects. Past works include: Fissure (2011), a three day walking-performance created in the Yorkshire Dales, and Still Life (Sept 2008, rev.2009) and Jack Scout (Sept 2010), both created in response to the history and geography of Morecambe Bay.

From 1998–2008 Louise was the Co-Artistic Director of the acclaimed site-specific theatre makers wilson+wilson, a RFO of ACE whose works include Mulgrave, News from the Seventh Floor, Mapping the Edge and House.

She has produced many innovative projects, has designed production for the country’s leading theatres such as The Royal Exchange Manchester and Opera North; and has designed and directed internationally for festivals such as The Ruhr Triennale and Scenofest at the Prague Quadrennial.

Louise is currently a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries in the Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communication at Leeds University, UK.

I am currently making a series of works which focus on the rural landscape as a place for performance in which human relationships to our environment are to be re-imagined. The work seeks to explore ways in which live performance can dramatise, articulate and reflect upon significant life events, and is evolved in close collaboration with artists from a broad range of creative disciplines, experts from other fields not usually associated with performance, and people with local knowledges and skills. It is made through an extended period of immersion in a chosen place using unique processes and methodologies. For details and images see Works include:

• Fissure (20–22 May 2011), a three-day walking performance in the Yorkshire Dales.
I conceived, directed and designed the project with writer Elizabeth Burns, composer Jocelyn Pook and choreographer Nigel Stewart. It was made in collaboration with a number of experts including neurologists, geologist, cavers, and conservationists and was performed by these experts and six dancers, six singers, a local choir, hand bell-ringers and church bell-ringers. Fissure was commissioned and produced by ARTEVENTS in association with LOUISE ANN WILSON COMPANY, as part of The Re-enchantment see, Funders: ACE, PRSF, Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

• Jack Scout (Sept 2010), a walking performance in which music, dance, voice and art revealed a hidden part of Morecambe Bay.
I was the co-director, scenographer and performer of Jack Scout with co-director, choreographer and dancer Nigel Stewart. Performed by a company of five, the work was created in dialogue with experts including ornithologists, fishermen, cross-bay guides, plant ecologists, butterfly surveyors, conservationists, historians and local school children and was produced by LOUISE ANN WILSON COMPANY and SAP DANCE. For full details, documentary film and slide shows, see Funders: ACE, AONB, Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster University.

• Still Life (Sept 2008 rev.2009), an intertidal performance specific to the sands of Morecambe Bay and the shoreline at Far Arnside concerned with how we frame nature and what lies beyond the frame.
I produced, created and performed the piece with Nigel Stewart of SAP DANCE. Funders: AHRC Landscape and Environment Programme, Lancaster University Research Enterprise Fund (FASS).


I co-created, co- produced, co-directed and designed the work of wilson+wilson. For details see Productions included:

• Mulgrave (2005), a four mile journey into the heart of Mulgrave Woods on the North Yorkshire coast and an exploration of the tamed, untamed and untameable within the natural world and the human soul.
Co-creator, co-director and designer: Louise Ann Wilson. Co-creator, co-director: Wils Wilson.
Writer: Amanda Dalton. Composer: Hugh Nankivel. Producers: WILSON+WILSON. Funders: ACE, DEFRA, PRSF, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Mulgrave Estates, North Yorkshire Moors National Park, Lankelly Foundation, North Yorkshire County Council.

• News from the Seventh Floor (2003), which took audiences on a journey around Clements, one of the country's oldest department stores, after-hours.
Co-creator, co-director and designer: Louise Ann Wilson. Co-creator, co-director: Wils Wilson. Writers: Peter Straughan and Bridgette O’Conner. Composer: Olly Fox. Producers: WILSON+WILSON, WATFORD PALACE THEATRE. Funders: ACE, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Clements, Watford.

• Mapping the Edge (2001), which took audiences of out into the streets of Sheffield and led them on an epic journey through the city. Audiences travelled on foot, on a bus and on a tram.
Co-creator, co-director and designer: Louise Ann Wilson. Co-creator, co-director: Wils Wilson. Writers: Amanda Dalton, Alison Fell, Bernardine Evaristo. Composer: Kuljit Bhamra. Producers: WILSON+WILSON, SHEFFIELD THEATRES. Funders: ACE, Sheffield City Council, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, PRSF, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Peggy Ramsay Foundation, Stagecoach Supertram, First Mainline Buses.

• House (1998), which transformed two nineteenth-century terraced houses in the centre of Huddersfield into an extraordinary performance event, combining theatre, installation, poetry, music and sound.
Co-creator, co-director and designer: Louise Ann Wilson. Co-creator, co-director: Wils Wilson. Writer: Simon Armitage. Composer: Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner. Producers: WILSON+WILSON, LAWRENCE BATLEY THEATRE, Huddersfield. Funders: ACE, Kirklees Metropolitan Council, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Freelance scenography, set & costume design, and direction

In June 2011 I was the director of Vltava, a site-specific performance created through a series of workshops and realised by a group of twenty students, for SCENOFEST at the PRAGUE QUADRENNIAL OF PERFORMANCE DESIGN AND SPACE in Prague, Czech Republic.

In November 2010 I designed The Bacchae for the MANCHESTER ROYAL EXCHANGE. Other designs for the MANCHESTER ROYAL EXCHANGE include: J M Barrie’s What Every Woman Knows, Boucicault’s London Assurance, TMA award winning productions of Brendan Murray’s Eliza’s House and Big Baby and Amanda Dalton’s adaptation of Secret Heart.
In 2008 I was the co-director and scenographer of Salt, a performance installation created in a four-storey derelict salt factory with THEATRE RITES for the RUHR TRIENNALE at the Zollveriene Cokery, Essen, Germany.

Other productions include: The Starry Welkin for ENGLISH TOURING OPERA; The Wedding Party, LITTLE JASMINE THEATRE, Bangalore (India); Twelfth Night and Duck, UNICORN THEATRE (London); Beauty and the Beast, OXFORD TOURING THEATRE CO (Oxford and tour); Leo Butler’s Devotion and Brendan Murray’s How High is Up? and Big Baby, THEATRE CENTRE (London). Designs for OPERA NORTH (venues included Leeds Grand, site-specific at Leeds City Art Galleries and The Lowry, Manchester) include Amaze Me! an installation with Lumen Arts, Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel, Jane Buckler’s O4E based on Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Orpheus in the Underworld based on Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Voices On by Kate Pearson. Furthermore, I have designed productions for the WEST YORKSHIRE PLAYHOUSE (Leeds) and THE CRUCIBLE THEATRE (Sheffield) as well as for other theatres in the UK and abroad.