The Terrible Shaman

Matt Rudkin

Research output: Non-textual outputPerformance


This piece is a Street Arts performance developed in collaboration with Orlando Britts and Annie Brooks. Throughout my career I have been ideologically motivated to develop skills in forms of practice that foster a sense of Communitas, and appeal to a wide variety of audiences. Alongside work in cabaret and puppetry, I also spent 7 years seasonal touring a street theatre clown show called ‘The Incredible Bull Circus’. The Terrible Shaman marks a return to this area of work. It was partly conceived as a gentle parody of the appropriation of ‘the shamanic’ by Live Art / Performance work, and a celebration of the spontaneous, unselfconscious creativity of children, the ‘primitive’ and other outsider artists. The original idea was inspired by the strangely haunting voice of a priest character in a computer game, exhibitions of collaborative work made by children shown at the Islington Arts Factory, and my rediscovery of the work and writings of French painter, Jean Dubuffet. His work was a strong influence on the visual work I made at college – where I developed a form of excessive ‘doodling’ during which I entered a highly absorbed and meditative state of ‘Flow’. I wanted to return to this approach in this project, in the making of both visual and performance material (costumes, props, dances, songs), aiming towards a creative process where the work is completely made up as we go along. As such, and in keeping with street theatre generally, I expect for it to continually develop before and during each new presentation. In this respect it is also informed by literature on improvisation and ‘flow’, and represents a tentative exploration of the application of Zen in the art of clowning. It also grew out of the clown work I had done with Il Pixel Rosso on their project, ‘And the Birds Fell from the Sky’.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2012
Eventother - 'Dip Your Toe' event, Brighton Fringe Festival, May; Milton Keynes Fringe Festival, July; Brighton Pride celebrations, September; Amiens 'Nuit Blanche', October 2012
Duration: 26 May 2012 → …


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