The Red Line Sessions: Finding Comfort in Discomfort

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150 150 The Red Line

Colin Poole & Charlie Morrissey discuss the making of ‘White Charlie’

A few weeks ago South East Dance programmed a day called Trailing Identity as part of their undisciplined Festival. Trailing Identity was a day full of performances and discussions – Luke Pell and I were lucky enough to facilitate it. The day was curated by Jamie Watton, Cath James and the South East Dance team – and its aim was to present works that were born of the way artists use their work to ask difficult questions that stem from their identity. We saw TOMBO(Y)LA, by Amy Bell, we were privileged to take part in a provocation led by Project O, and then we saw a work in progress of Colin Poole’s ‘White Charlie’ featuring dance artist Charlie Morrissey. As our final treat, we saw Candoco’s latest double bill, with works by Hetain Patel and Yasmeen Godder.

Participants in the day ranged from dance artists, writers, to programmers, funders, producers and more.

One of the main themes to come out of the day was how wonderfully clever performance is at expanding and extending us, as human beings and as artists. Performance enables us to have conversations that we find it difficult to have conversations about. It gives us language, metaphor and imagery, to expose us to ourselves and others and enables us to think bigger. Clearer and further than we might do if left to our own devices.

Some of the conversations we had were difficult and challenging. We were asked to face up to our own assumptions, complacencies and limitations, and we were encouraged to think about how much further we could and maybe should go.

This discomfort is part of the point of course.

But what is super interesting is that the discomfort of making challenging work is not only felt by the audiences experiencing it but also, sometimes, by the artists making it.

In the post-show Q&A that you are about to hear, Colin Poole and Charlie Morrissey talk to me and the participants of Trailing Identity about the process that lead to this sharing of work in progress. We are hugely grateful to them for being so open with us. It was a brilliant and fascinating performance, and clearly a complex process. To find out more info about the piece and Colin Poole’s work generally – you can go to

But for now, let’s go with our recording of the Q&A. We join it just after we have introduced Colin and Charlie.


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