The UK/Australia Season is a major new cultural exchange celebrating the diverse and innovative artist communities and cultural sectors of each nation. A collaboration between the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Season is a vibrant programme spanning theatre, film, visual arts, dance, design, architecture, music, literature, higher education and a public engagement programme.
Designed to strengthen and build cultural connections, the Season theme is “Who Are We Now?” and will reflect on our history, explore our current relationship, and imagine our future together. The Season launched in both countries in September 2021.
THE HULL VIGIL, a performance by Joanne Leighton / WLDN
With the Freedom Festival Arts Trust, Hull, UK
The Hull Vigil is a monumental performance created by Australian-Belgian choreographer Joanne Leighton through her Paris-based dance company WLDN.
Every day for a year, at sunrise and sunset, a vigil will keep watch for one hour over Hull from a bespoke structure located on top of the Hull College building. Over the course of the year, 730 people will contribute to a collective vigil in a 365-day performance. Each vigil will step inside the wood and glass Shelter created by French designer Benjamin Tovo. In doing so, they enter into one of the fundamentals of the practice of choreography, the nature of presence. They become part of a vast, human adventure, one that has been running internationally for the past 10 years.
About the Artist
Based in Paris Ile-de-France, Adelaide-born Joanne Leighton is a Belgian-Australian choreographer, dancer and pedagogue. Her professional career is linked to an original, dynamic and constantly evolving vision of dance and her discourse is permeated by an emphasis on dialogue and exchange.
Joanne Leighton’s choreographic work has been co-produced and presented on international stages for over 30 years, touring internationally to France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, Wales, the United Kingdom, Australia and Cuba…
After dancing in the Australian Dance Theater (1986-1991), Joanne Leighton moved to Europe, living and performing in London for 2 years. She established and developed her choreographic work in Brussels with her company Velvet (1992 – 2010). She moved to France to direct the National Choreographic Center of Franche-Comté in Belfort (2010 – 2015) and went on to found her company WLDN in Paris in 2015. WLDN is an on-going project, philosophy and platform for choreographic research and creation and can be portrayed as a kind of ‘transcendental striptease’, which represents for Joanne Leighton a return to a fundamental essence and of stripping down performance in terms of dance, movement, and site. Interested in finding new ways of being, doing, thinking, working, making and presenting, Joanne Leighton seeks to embrace an approach to contemporary dance performance through access, ownership and authorship.
Joanne Leighton served on the administrative board of the SACD (French author’s rights society), and in 2020 was appointed Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters/ and is an Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters.