Arts Derbyshire


‘The Machinery’ steps up for an immersive mill experience

'The Machinery' steps up for an immersive mill experience

There’s a rare chance to see the earliest known machine dance, originally performed by millworkers, as part of an immersive sound and video installation coming to the Derwent valley Mills World Heritage Site later this month.

‘The Machinery’ projects a dance performance by Caroline Radcliffe, captured by filmmaker Jon Harrison, and augmented with the sounds and movements from the Industrial Revolution’s textile industries by composer and digital artist Sarah Angliss and Caroline Radcliffe. It mixes dance steps with music and video to reflect the conditions of the women millworkers’ repetitive labour and the human/automaton relationship created by the Industrial Revolution.

First chance to see this performance will be at the Strutt’s North Mill museum in Belper, from Wednesday 20 to Sunday 24 October, during opening hours of 11am to 4pm. Then it moves to Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mills from Wednesday 27 to Sunday 31 October, open 10am to 4pm. There’s free entry to the installation at both sites, thanks to support funding from Arts Council England.

To celebrate The Machinery’s arrival in Cromford during the half-term break, Caroline Radcliffe will be leading a free family-friendly workshop in the marquee at Cromford Mills on Tuesday 26 October, from 3pm to 4pm. Caroline will introduce attendees to the costume and working conditions of a nineteenth century textile mill worker and teach some of the clog dance steps from ‘The Machinery’.

Please wear hard-soled flat shoes if possible and sign up to save a place at the workshop. No need for any previous dance experience! Although tickets are free, places are limited.

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