The Glasgow-based performance artist is all set to give a performance like no other at this year’s Brighton Festival. Here she tells us more about (I Could Go On Singing) Over the Rainbow
Can you tell us what your show is about?
It’s not really a show – it’s an interactive one-to-one performance art piece, where I sing Over The Rainbow to one audience member at a time. Other people can witness the song being sung, and the Glasgow-based noise band Okishima Island Tourist Association play a wall of noise throughout the whole situation. I am singing live to a recording of the last time Judy Garland performed Over The Rainbow, a few months before she died, and while I sing I am holding the person’s hand and not breaking eye contact. It’s quite a loud situation, but filled with love.
How and where will the work be staged?
It will be presented at The Spire, which is a stunning site. There will be three different days where we will be sharing the work, in four hour durations.
Why should someone come and see your show?
People who love Judy Garland might connect to this, as well as fans of noise music, people seeking a moment of full attention from a stranger (myself) and people who are curious or enjoy intimate performance. Also, people seeking something real, intimate and genuine. Or maybe people who just like loud work!
Where did the idea and inspiration come from?
Judy Garland is my spirit guide and for a long time I was seeking to make a work where I might occupy the space of her spiritually in the current time. I wanted to display the complexities of her, and her history and myth. I also wanted to draw on the tensions between the iconic song and the misunderstood music genre of noise, of which I have been a fan for years.
I wanted to make a real, live connection between myself and others, that happened in real time. It was a very personal process to make this when it was first shown in January 2014 in the Arches in Glasgow. I wanted to explore vulnerability and strength at the same time - of myself and others.
Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?
It’s not a story, it’s not a metaphor – it’s real!
What sort of person is going to love this show?
Anyone is open to come along – my work is never for anyone in particular. Everyone is welcome.
What’s going to surprise people about this show?
It’s loud, it’s repetitive, there are no hidden sections. People are often very moved and I’ve held the hands of people crying. I am surprised by how emotional I feel every time.
What does Brighton Festival mean to you? Do you have a favourite Festival moment?
I’ve never been! But I understand Brighton Festival to be of a very high quality, with an international programme that means a lot to the local community and those coming specially to see a diverse range of form-pushing and mind- and heart-expanding work.
What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?
I hope I see something I have not experienced before. It’s a huge programme with an unlimited scope for new sensations and so much I haven't heard of, which is really exciting.
(I Could Go On Singing) Over the Rainbow is at The Spire on 26-28 May.