East Wall was a large-scale, spectacle of dance and live music, which took place at the Tower of London, one of the capital’s most iconic buildings, from Wed 18 – Sun 22 July 18. Directed by world-renowned choreographer, Hofesh Shechter, East Wall brought together a large cast of dancers, musicians and community participants to celebrate east London’s rich cultural heritage.
East Wall saw Hofesh Shechter working in collaboration with up-and-coming choreographers Becky Namgauds, Duwane Taylor, James Finnemore and Joseph Toonga alongside artists and young people. Shechter directed, and worked with the British musical director Nell Catchpole to create a score for the final production which sought to explore the modern realities of race, diversity and cultural identity alongside the rich history of the Tower of London and Tower Hamlets.
Photos: East Wall director Hofesh Shechter with choreographers James Finnemore, Joseph Toonga, Becky Namgauds and (below) Duwane Taylor. Credit Victor Frankowski
East Wall’s genesis came in 2014 as a long-term talent development project by East London Dance and Hofesh Shechter Company to nurture talented up-and-coming choreographers. By joining forces with Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT, the partners have committed to supporting selected choreographers and to working with local groups of dancers, musicians and young people from Tower Hamlets and East London boroughs through a wide-reaching youth engagement programme.
East Wall was performed in the Tower of London moat as part of LIFT 2018, offering diverse local, national and international audiences a chance to engage with the iconic Tower of London through the use of the moat as a space for public art and performance.
East Wall brings together a unique partnership between East London Dance, Hofesh Shechter Company, Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT, each forward-thinking organisations and leaders in their respective fields. East Wall is part of LIFT’s commitment to commissioning bold new work from world-class artists, and will further fulfil Historic Royal Palaces’ ambition to create artistic commissions for the Tower of London moat since the success of the poppies project: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. This project will forge new artistic relationships, celebrate East London Dance and Hofesh Shechter Company’s existing partnerships, and shine a spotlight on east London’s creative energy and cultural identity.
Read full the original press release here and follow the partners’ social media channels for the latest developments and opportunities between now and July, 2018.
Produced by East London Dance and Hofesh Shechter Company, commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces and presented by Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT
Costume Design Partner, London College of Fashion, UAL
Supporting Partner, Performing Arts Department, UEL
Funded by Arts Council England, Backstage Trust, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, The London Community Foundation and Tower Hamlets Arts & Music Education Service (THAMES)
“From my first encounter with East London Dance’s group, The Fi.ELD, I was hooked. These young artists were not only impressive and determined in their drive to make work but they were incredibly inspiring to me as role models. Not just for other young people but for artists at all stages of their careers including myself. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can make together.”
Hofesh Shechter, Artistic Director, Hofesh Shechter Company
“This ambitious new project grew out of demand from the young artists we work with at East London Dance who unanimously identified Hofesh Shechter as a choreographer they wanted to learn from. We feel very proud to be enabling our east London community to engage with such an incredible company over such a sustained period of time, and to be working so closely with Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT.”
Polly Risbridger, Director, East London Dance
“Through creative partnerships like East Wall, Historic Royal Palaces is able to explore new and exciting ways to tell the stories of the Tower and reach a wider audience. Building on the success and impact of the poppies in 2014, we wanted to establish the moat at the Tower of London as a new outdoor performance site for London. East Wall will be a major part of establishing this reputation over the next few years and we look forward to collaborating with Hofesh Shechter Company, East London Dance and LIFT to produce a visually stunning and site-specific performance in 2018.”
Deborah Shaw, Head of Creative Programming, Historic Royal Palaces
“Hofesh Shechter's East Wall provides a platform for extraordinarily talented choreographers from east London and promises to be a highlight of our 2018 LIFT festival. We are thrilled to be working with Hofesh again and forging new partnerships with Historic Royal Palaces and East London Dance.”
Beki Bateson, CEO, LIFT
“Hofesh Shechter Company and the partners' commitment to developing young and diverse talent is at the heart of this brilliant project, and it's also a great opportunity to make work in a new type of space, one that is in the heart of East London and open to all, and it's this type of inclusivity that excites me the most. We'll be blending high art and accessibility, music and dance performance, tradition and a very modern, diverse sensibility.”
Henny Finch, Executive Producer, Hofesh Shechter Company