Anna Smallman

Anna Smallman

anna smallman performance 3
'Prose 6°' (2017)

Who are you?
     Anna Smallman

Where are you?

What are you researching/interested in?
     I’m researching how you can orchestrate the impromptu and investigating where the boundaries of fine art and theatre performance overlap with each other. I want to see how their different histories can inform my practice to re-think representation within performance and discover what fine arts obsession is with reality in performance.

My practice is to do with conversation and everyday language; your relationships with different people cause the language you use to change. You speak differently when you talk to friends, family or with strangers.

What is your work (specific or general) trying to say?
     I feel like my work is not really trying to say anything but rather be a snapshot in the current time and be a representation of what conversation exists as. Nothing really deep, more about just observing and recreating certain moments. It makes light of the everyday.

Who is your artwork for?
     I make it for myself. Rather than imagining the audience I imagine myself viewing it because most of the time I direct the work rather than being actively involved in performing it. I kind of know what is going to happen but the performers themselves don’t. I’d say it’s like scripting my own TV programme exactly how I want it, putting all of the situations and occurrences in one place and watching it unfold from a directors point of view but also an audiences point of view simultaneously.

anna smallman performance 2
'Stage Directions' (2017)
anna smallman text 1
'Set In a Multi-Story Outside a Poundstretcher' (2017) Excerpt

Can you explain a pivotal artwork of yours?
     The script I wrote a couple of years ago about my time working in a fish and chip shop, mainly because it was the first time I had written anything to exist on its own. I guess many people see writing as a preliminary start for work but I was happy with how I had written it, it was self contained but had the potential to exist in many avenues. Instead I decided to have it exist as itself, to be read as a performance. Since then I guess I’ve just became obsessed with scripts, dialogue and organising situations for events.

Can you give one piece of advice?
     To think about the outcome of the work and the end result first. Thinking of a finished event and working backwards, filling it in to discover how you can get to that end result. So its not really about the context of leading your work to a finished outcome but rather the opposite. It helps me make start on a piece because I can imagine how a performance is going to exist within a space and then think of the different situations, interactions and constructs I want to create within it. It mostly comes from daydreaming about what a performance can be.

Which exhibition have you liked recently?
     Can it be a piece of theatre? The play ‘Toneelhuis/FC Bergman: 300 el x 50 el x 30 el’ was incredible. It was at the Barbican as part of the London International Mime Festival.  there was all these characters interacting with each other but had no dialogue. It was only through their movements and reactions that made it flow.
     The audience couldn’t really see what was happening on the stage despite it been in a theatre setting, instead we were watching a screen of what was going on live and I guess that the director  who was filming the performance showed it through their eyes; whether it was backstage or from the side or a frontal view. It really broke down the fourth wall.

Whats next?
     Working on my degree show at the moment, I am writing a play performance where the actors are unaware of what they are going to say, how they are going to move, how they are going to react within the space etc. There wont be any rehearsals and they are choreographed via audio instructions through headphones. I haven’t told them but all the performers will be my close family who will be visiting the exhibition. I was thinking of who would be the most reliable, the performers don’t need to be skilled, they can just be normal people so I thought I’ll utilise them being there to bring failure and success to the performance. I think the chance of failure in a performance is really important because otherwise if there is no risk there is no point in the performance existing

anna smallman performance
'The Operatic Soliloquy' (2017)

Can you recommend three artist’s to look at?

Zoe Radford   @_zoeradford_ 

Ed Longville  @edlongville

Jodie John    @jodiejohn_s

For more of annas work, visit her website and instagram account:

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