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Monday, 3 January 2022

Crossing the Circle - new article

We are pleased to start 2022 with an update from Rob Fellman, our resident archivist and PhD candidate with the University of Sheffield! Over to Rob:

Their ‘web’ perhaps began as a Venn diagram of circles that cross together over time to form a singular, collaborative constellation that might be called ‘Third Angel’. As I write this, I realise I have been subconsciously informed by Kelly’s own use of the Venn diagram analogy in a previous Backpages article. I return to this point later and add the words: a process he calls ‘seeking the heart’.

This is an excerpt from an article published in Contemporary Theatre Review’s Backpages in September 2021. As the author of the article, I would describe it as a playful connection with Third Angel’s approach to research within their artistic practice. I am under no illusion that my own research residency with Third Angel is a testament to this very process, and indeed, places me firmly within their ‘Venn diagram’. This article, in part, represents this acknowledgement as I try to connect my own wider research with previously published texts on Third Angel’s working methods. I become unashamedly aware, in turn, of Third Angel’s influence on my own thinking. To what extent am I a neutral observer, and how much of my own view is also theirs? (Or should I say, ours?)

Image: The Earth in Full View, seen from Apollo 17. Credit: NASA.

This article is intended as a creative response to theory, that takes its inspiration from the words of Third Angel and two specific recurring images from within their oeuvre: the Voyager space probe travelling away from Earth, and the idea of the ‘perfect circle’ that our planet appears to be from such distances away…

The circle contains within it a web of connections, of ‘cross-transit’ by which ‘iterations’, or microcos- mic cycles, can form as ideas are tested, adapted, and then repeated (such as trying out an idea in rehearsal). Kelly’s co-artistic counterpart, Rachael Walton, told Philip Stanier of a moment during the making of 9 Billion Miles from Home that marked a processual shift away from factual content, marking ‘the start of a departure from an obsession with Voyager, away from science, towards [the question of] why Voyager was so interesting’. The circle, as opposed to a continuum, illustrates the degrees of academic and practical research in ratio (whether scientific or artistic in origin), like the points of a compass, by which a combination of the full spectrum of possibilities makes a complete – perfect – circle. 

Take a read of the article and see how these two things relate:
Crossing the Circle: A Response to the Role of Research in the Work of Third Angel
by Rob Fellman
in Backpages 31.3, Contemporary Theatre Review, 31:3, pages 364-379. (2021).

Rob Fellman is a Collaborative Doctoral Award holder with Third Angel theatre company and the University of Sheffield, UK. His research explores longevity in the UK arts sector and is supported by the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities.

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