The Shopkeeper Project
'The Shopkeeper Project' - Video produced by Panoptical Ltd
A thought-provoking duet that uses contemporary dance and comedy to explore one man’s struggle between his outward-facing persona and his inner-battle with depression.
Project in development
About the project...
The project revolves around three ambitions.
Firstly, the investigation of a collaboration between contemporary dance and comedy.
Secondly the desire to create work touching on mental health issues and depression, to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around the topic - specifically in men.
To finish, the work takes a look at the precarious situation of many independent business owners - situation exacerbated this year by Covid-19.
The creative questions will explore how the two media, can complement each other; how spoken words and movements can be combined to create a unique language to raise the issue, engage with the audience and open a dialogue on a topic that needs to be openly discussed.
In this intent, the project will explore the development of a poignant duet, where one actor and one dancer give life to funny and relatable characters through comedy and dance, while underlying some darker societal problems.
The narrative starting point sees two characters at the back of a store.
Everything appears normal, but the relationship looks increasingly toxic…
Only at the end, the audience will realise that the man has been on his own all along and the woman only a personification of the depression that he suffers from; portraying the silent, solitary, relentless battle happening in his head.
About the outreach...
This exciting project will make a priority to reach out and engage with a wide and diverse audience.
Throughout the research and development, the artists will organise outreach visits in mental heath charities and groups, bringing dance and theatre in new fields.
Workshops, classes, conversations and invitations to sharing will be put in place, gathering feedback and making sure the work remains relatable and accessible to a broad audience.
A call-out campaign was put in place to develop a way to connect audiences with the creative process, asking for their input, to share stories of mental health and their relationship to the topic.
About the future of the work...
This activity is the beginning of a long-term plan Sandrine has to establish herself as a Yorkshire based contemporary dance choreographer & company.
With the support of her well-connected dance network in Leeds and in the UK, Sandrine's activities are dedicated to reaching new, wide and diverse audience - particularly many who have not seen contemporary dance before - and present accessible, relatable and high-quality work.
What people say...
I haven't thought about depression being expressed physically. Seeing it manifested in a physical way really gets the point across better than trying to explain it.
It's an eloquent way of getting across what depression feels like.
The concept is unique and new. What I loved about it was the sensitivity around the relationship. I think it was cleverly done in terms of working the body, the individual as a metaphor.
The fact that it is with a non-dancer tells us that we can create art in a way that has a message for all of us.
The Shopkeeper did an exceptional job, already, in conveying the experience of depression, what it feels like, the weight of it.
I am really excited to see narratively where it ends.