Love is all around us

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Friday, July 1, 2016 - 18:01

What does love mean to you? Can it be found on dating apps or social networks? How does it shape life as part of a family or community? Whether you’re visiting Southbank Centre with a date, bringing your parents or kids to a show, or even getting married on stage at Royal Festival Hall, Festival of Love takes you deeper into the mysteries at the heart of this great human emotion. 

We asked some of the creative minds behind the festival to share their ideas about love. 

Find out more about Festival of Love

July
Timberlina (Tim Redfern) - the host of Modern Love SaturDATE 

Timberlina

How would you describe the experience of looking for love in a digital age? 

Deeply impersonal, disastrously unromantic, perilously addictive, superlatively dysfunctional but effective. 

What are the most important things for people to remember when dating?  

Love comes when you least expect it; seek as you would like to be found; aim high.

July
Abigail Conway and Lucy Hayhoe - the creators of live community installation Home Sweet Home 

Abigail Conway and Lucy Hayhoe

What types of love do you think are important?  

Love your neighbour comes to mind – we need to care and respect others in the world and not just the needs of the people nearest to us. Love is seeing the bigger picture and having an open heart and mind.

Your show Home Sweet Home invites audiences to become part of a cardboard community, and enjoy a street party together. 

We made it so the audience could take ownership of the art experience and be able to be creative and play in a non-intimidating way. We can open up channels of communication that reach wider social and political contexts, about participation, citizenship, housing, and the role of art itself in a community. 

What are the most important aspects of living in a community?

Taking time to do things with and for other people, whether that’s feeding your neighbour’s cat while they are on holiday or taking part in a street party! 

Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson

Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson - the founders of Good Chance Theatre, created last autumn within the migrant camp at Calais. 

Why did you decide to create Good Chance Theatre?

We believe theatre has a really important role to play in situations where dignity and free expression is challenged. Theatre requires people to talk to each other, and then to do that talking in front of more people. There is nothing better for forging new relationships and exploring each other’s ideas. But so much more happened in the theatre at Calais – poetry, music, volleyball... It is all about the importance of a space in a place that makes it difficult for people to be together.

What do you feel prevents people connecting to each other in times of crisis, and how can this be overcome?  

We are in a time of huge movement, and this will only increase over the coming years. As we move, we have to get better at getting to know each other. The cultural differences that exist between nationalities, faiths and people are fascinating and we should be taking hold of these to make everyone stronger.

July
Femi Martin - explores the pain that can accompany love in her solo show How to Die of a Broken Heart.

Femi Martin

What does love mean to you? 

Love means revolution. Whether it is self-love, or the love we give to and receive from others, love is inherently transformative. Love is kind, it is attentive, it is forgiving; it says to its subject, ‘I see you’. To be seen for who you are, and to be loved because of and/or in spite of that, is incredibly freeing. Relationships are such fertile ground for creative inspiration because the totality of the human condition can be explored through the prism of love.

Why did you create an artwork about heartbreak? 

Today we are bombarded with the message that we should be able to bounce back and move on immediately when our relationships end but I don’t think that’s healthy or realistic.
I wanted to share a space with audience members where we can acknowledge that breakups are serious, painful, and difficult. And that’s OK, you know? They’re supposed to be.

July
Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone - the creators of clown show Air Play

Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone

You met at a circus in Afghanistan, got engaged while street performing in Scotland and then tied the knot in China. Do you think your love story has influenced your performances?

Our running joke is that we fight on stage so we don’t need to fight off stage. The truth is our love story absolutely influences what we create – we trust each other completely and let each other take big artistic risks. 

Your shows don’t involve language. How do you make a connection to the audience without speaking?

Humanity shares more than just language, and we use other tools of expression – bodies, faces, eye-contact, touch, humor, music, even gravity. Our favorite sound is laughter, and once the audience is laughing, we know they understand us and we can take them anywhere. 

Why is your show part of Festival of Love? 

Most people think of love as a romantic story between a man and a woman. Yet often our most enduring loves are family, friendship, brotherhood, sisterhood. Air Play is our visual poem to childhood and growing up, its grand adventures, wild dreams, small betrayals, loss, and love.

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