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bringing together environmentalism and performance
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IOU

   
www.ioutheatre.org
info@ioutheatre.org
t : 01422 - 369 217
Halifax, West Yorkshire
England

  Editors' note: In addition to IOU's theatre work, in 2006, IOU Artistic Director David Wheeler spent three months in Antarctica as part of an Arts Council England and British Antarctic Survey supported residency. The results are a photographic and sculptural exhibition, Half Moon, and Antarctic Travelogue (2009- 2013) a long-sequence video taken with five linked cameras, together with three-metre wide panoramic photographic prints, made while in Antarctica.

 
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Productions and Projects

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Electric Field
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2009
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Following the death of their goldfish, a couple embark on a quest to transform matter.

Their day trip to a local beauty spot takes on new dimensions as they attempt to transcend the laws of nature.

IOU's base at Dean Clough becomes an eerie film studio where the travellers are seen immersed in their journey. As the travellers become enmeshed within the mechanics of the universe, they are shadowed by a cluster of ghost-like film technicians, who manipulate their progress.

Action is mixed live on-screen as the couple grapple with their environment. Confronted by electro-magnets, liquid nitrogen, compressed air and old fridges, the couple attempt to find their bearings.

Once the travellers had reached the end of their journey the audience were transported to Beacon Hill, over looking Halifax, for a fantastically normal finale.

Electric Field is the first of a series of works exploring ideas generated in response to IOU's Artistic Director David Wheeler's time in Antarctica as artist in residence with the British Antarctic Survey. This work also includes Antarctic Travelogue, an exhibition of panoramic videos and photographs.

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iou electric field
Electric Field

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Hothouse
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2003
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A sound installation in a tropical palm house

An exhibition of sounds and acoustics created from within the Palm House in Sefton Park, Liverpool in February 2003.

Commissioned by Sefton Park Palm House, IOU composers, musicians and technicians were resident for a week, experimenting with both the creation of sounds and the presentation of them within the glass structure.

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iou hothouse
Hothouse

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Leech!
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1998 - 2002
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A giant leech, 20m long by 3m high, is on an insatiable quest for blood as it lumbers through the streets sampling innocent bystanders.

Outdoor processional touring show for festivals in UK and The Netherlands. It is designed to act as a prologue to Cure - a site specific show for a variety of sites, in which visitors inflict their remedies on a hapless invalid, whose fevered sleep conjures up both demons and lovers.

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IOU LEECH
Leech!

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Island
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1996
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A commissioned site-specific piece for Copenhagen 96, Europe's City of Culture Celebrations.

Taking the theme of 'the Earth', this show is presented within the Old City's ramparts and moat. A man takes to the water, setting off on a journey in a large, articulated wooden fish. As he circles the island, history comes to life in the fairy-tale world on land.

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IOU ISLAND
Island

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Court in the Woods
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1994
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IOU's own Grimm-style tale in the form of a mini-opera found in the centre of the illustrated fairytale forest.

Commissioned by the South Bank Centre and performed within the Leaves Among Thorns exhibition, Court in the Woods forms the centre of the wider installation.

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iou court woods
Court in the Woods

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Leaves among Thorns
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1994, 1996
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The Grimm-inspired forest is taken out on tour.

Leaves Among Thorns is presented at The Castle Gallery in Haigerloch, Germany. This walk-through installation presents a continuously changing collage of images, inspired by the rich, resonant stories of the Brothers Grimm.

Also presented at The Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston and the Royal Festival Hall Gallery.

A woodland wander through a forest of revolving trees.

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iou leaves
Leaves among Thorns

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Weatherhouse
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1991
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The odd couple inhabiting a Swiss-style weatherhouse can never meet. Their doomed love affair is frustrated by the weather, the house and a radio-controlled dog. A bijou residence with reluctant inhabitants, skewed views, wicked weather and wall-to-wall delights. A wry chronicle told in tangled tales and haunting music.

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iou weatherhouse
Weatherhouse

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A Word about Waves
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1988
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A Word About Waves was a show created on site and specially commissioned by Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.

An illustrated series of song cycles, specially composed by members of the company, on the nature of various fish and unrequited love. The rich and varied music is complimented by a web of images and action sequences, containing conjuring tricks, tales of loss, mysterious fountains, misdirected letters, fish songs and surprises.

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IOU WAVES
A Word about Waves

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Salt and Slack Water
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1987
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A show specially commissioned for the Bradford Festival at Salts Mill, Saltaire. At the time, the mill was disused, although in its heyday 12,000 power looms had produced more than 18 miles of cloth a day.

IOU created a work of fiction in three parts. Partly mystery tour, partly a son et lumiere, fusing image, action and music in a poetic framework. Salt and Slack Water is a wordless performance rooted in music and dance, exploring a succession of landscapes, where mythical and everyday characters meet. We are led through factories, forests and gardens, stopping at watering-places, witnessing the turn of the tide.

The scenes - 1. A break on the Production Line. 2. A Clearing in the Forest. 3. Back to the Garden.

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IOU SALT SLACK WATER
Salt and Slack Water

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A Second Soaking
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1986
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This show was produced as part of a residency for the Manchester Festival.

A site-specific show, created especially for Upper Campfield Market, Manchester. IOU imported 48 tons of sand and 5,000 gallons of water to convert the vast and empty Victorian market hall into a beach, quay and seascape. The story of Noah and the Flood is woven together with images of life in a revolving tower and the discovery of a body in the water.

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IOU SOAKING
A Second Soaking

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Out with the Ark
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1986
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Commissioned by the Brighton Festival for Brighton Beach.

A mysterious travelling booth has arrived at the dead of night and sits dangerously close to the water's edge. As the full moon approaches, miniature figures are unwrapped for a last dance before the flood...

A touring version of the show performed outdoors throughout England.

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IOU OUT ARK
Out with the Ark

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The Sea Saw Red II
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1984
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Promoted by the Almeida Theatre, London, an outdoor performance in the courtyard of a former prison.

A prologue, spoken by a man on a bicycle. Episodes in the life of a man and a woman living in a tree-house, from which their visitor falls. He climbs back over the courtyard wall the persevering salesman bringing them goods and equipment they do not need. Eventually he is consumed by the vaccuum-cleaner he is demonstrating. The man and woman's activities are reflected by those of the enormous insects, which live in their allotment. A life-size puppet horse expires and is finally winched into the air, the rider captured, to deliver his final speech from a cage on top of the rescue vehicle.

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iou sea saw red
The Sea Saw Red

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A Drop in the Ocean
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1984
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An outdoor piece performed on the beaches of Brighton.

Taking place in the evening as part of the Brighton Festival. Stone mounds, bonfires and fire-cans lighting a runway down to the sea… Two bird-like scavenging women at the sea's edge find a wardrobe, showing signs of life within. They feed the wardrobe with eggs, bread and potatoes, gathered from amongst the pebbles - poking the food through a funnel.

An armoured rescue-vehicle makes its way along the beach, lights blazing. The vehicle winches the wardrobe up the beach and a man is extracted. He is powdered and put inside a large inflated 'bathing-suit' (made from inner-tubes, wellington boots and large, rubbery trousers). The man is sent out to sea.

This lone figure is followed into the darkness of the swirling water with a searchlight.

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IOU DROP OCEAN
A Drop in the Ocean

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The Patience of Fossils
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1983
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A family of dummies awakens from a thaw and begins to explore ...

Performed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.

A family with dummy grandparents, dummy children and a tall stilt animal, wake up in a frozen room and begin thawing out amidst dripping icicles, before making an exodus into the deserted landscape beyond.

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IOU PATIENCE
The Patience of Fossils

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The Trumpet Rat and Other Natural Curiosities
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1981 - 1982
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Incorporating shadow-play, masks, monologue and puppetry, the show was inspired by the observations of the nineteenth century naturalist and story-teller, Francis Buckland. The Trumpet Rat combined diverse musics, verbal styles and visual devices to present a commentary on the relationship between people and animals.

The denouement describes the rough justice accorded one character, Desmond - a petty villain, whose secret and lucrative sideline of peddling videotapes of a hideous and unlikely experiment in grafting, ensures his brutal and early demise at the hands of his peers.

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iou trumpet rat
The Trumpet Rat and Other Natural Curiosities

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Journey of the Treeman
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1978, 1987 - 1988
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A wordless tale of a man leading a peaceful and solitary existence, until forced to defend himself and his fruit-laden tree against exotic invaders. The story is told through colourful images and dance, with live music played on a wide variety of acoustic instruments.

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iou treeman
Journey of the Treeman

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  IOU
www.ioutheatre.org
info@ioutheatre.org
t: 01422 - 369 217

Dean Clough Mills
Halifax, West Yorkshire
HX3 5AX
England

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