a walking musical hunt, for two groups of performers
devised with Victoria Bernath
February-May 2014, c. 45′

Premiere: The Carnivore Troupe, York Museum Gardens, 11th May 2014.
Commissioned for the York Spring Festival 2014.

View photos in the Gallery.

In a carnivalesque world, underclass Minstrel musicians roam the backstreets, exiled from concert halls for their advocacy of New Music. When word reaches them that the reigning Troubadours have begun performing their cherished Old Music on the streets themselves, the Minstrels find this tyrannical mockery insufferable.

Enraged by the shameless charade, the Minstrels’ Ringleader initiates a hunt to do away with the Troubadours and Old Music once and for all.

As the hunt intensifies, the Troubadours begin to plan a reprisal…

In CARNIVORE, the audience is led on a tour around historic sites by a band of musicians (the Minstrels), to watch their unfolding musical encounters with a rival gang of buskers (the Troubadours).

Led and overseen by composer-performers Victoria Bernath and James Whittle, CARNIVORE was created collaboratively by all 10 performers in rehearsal-workshops. A site-specific work, it fuses musical performance with theatre, poetry and choreographed movement. Each performer created their own musical material and spoken text, whilst helping to devise and direct each other’s characters and movement styles.

The concept derived from the Spring Festival’s ‘carnival’ theme, while York itself provided inspiration with its rich culture of festivals, and violent history of invasions and conflict. Commedia dell-arte, pantomime and writings on the carnivalesque by Mikhail Bakhtin and Umberto Eco informed play on musical stereotypes and the collision of different musical styles.

Photographs by Clare Aldrich, Ben Clark and Sarah Goulding.

Information for Audience Members for 11th May 2014 performance:
• This is a site-specific performance taking place outdoor, lasting approximately 50 minutes.
• The tour begins at Pitcher & Piano at 2pm and goes around York’s Museum Gardens.
• The performance will feature some interactive elements.
• The audience will be led by the performers. Stewards will be en route to offer assistance.
• Comfortable footwear and appropriate clothing for the weather is recommended.