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How to be Afraid? With Mary Pearson and mayfield brooks

  • Mon, 24 May 2021 - Fri, 28 May 2021
  • 12.00 AM

*Please note - These events are hosted by Independent Dance. To book your tickets, click the links below. 






Bluecoat is pleased to be supporting an exciting programme of events and performances from Independent Dance with performers mayfield brooks and Mary Pearson. 

How to be Afraid? led by mayfield brooks and Mary Pearson comes to Independent Dance for a week of practice, discussion, collaboration and performance. For this iteration of the project they are joined by collaborators Akeim Toussaint Buck, Seke Chimutengwende, Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot and Amy Voris.

The project explores fear and trauma stemming from brooks and Pearson’s different but connected ancestral links to the transatlantic slave trade. Over the past four years, iterations of this project have manifested into research, workshops and performances, and now is your chance to get involved. 







Public Workshop

Mon 24 - Wed 26 May, 3pm – 6pm 

£50 in person at Siobhan Davies Studios, £40 online. All places subsidized. Capacity – 10 online and 10 in person

This workshop explores the central themes in How to be Afraid? across three afternoons. It will be led by Mary Pearson (at SDS) and mayfield brooks (online from New York) together with collaborators Akeim Toussaint Buck, Seke Chimutengwende, Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot and Amy Voris, all of whom will be in the studio at SDS. This hybrid in person/online mode means the research space is open to those who wish to attend in person and those who wish to join online. 

More info | Book now 

Online Panel Discussion

Thu 27 May, 6.30pm – 8pm

Free. This event will take place on Zoom. 

This public discussion will focus on dismantling, decomposition, crumbling systems and how to work towards change. What does it mean to be a genuine ally or accomplice? How can we sit with discomfort? How do we navigate this time when pressure needs to be released? mayfield brooks, Mary Pearson and collaborators Akeim Toussaint Buck, Seke Chimutengwende, Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot and Amy Voris will be in conversation.  

More info | Book now


Live Online Performance

Fri 28 May, 6.30pm – 8pm 


As bodies in exile, both outside and online, six dancers will simultaneously inhabit their only options for being together. Collaborators mayfield brooks, Akeim Toussaint Buck, Seke Chimutengwende, Mary Pearson, Anne-Gaëlle Thirot and Amy Voris will perform a techno-site-specific ritual between London and New York. This performance will create layered video compositions in real time - using both pre-recorded material, and live streamed improvisations. Dancers will explore the tension of being in public in space in relation to the loss of intimacy and togetherness during Covid. 

More info | Book now


Find out more about Independent Dance here. 

This iteration of How to be Afraid? is co-produced by Mary Pearson, mayfield brooks and Independent Dance in partnership with the Bluecoat (Liverpool) and CPR – Center for Performance Research (New York), supported through public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with support from Creative Land Trust. Earlier iterations of How to be Afraid? were supported by Chisenhale Dance Space, Metal (Liverpool) and Improspections Festival at the Museum for Contemporary Art, Zagreb and the GPS/Global Practice Sharing program of Movement Research (NYC) with funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding and in collaboration with Migrant Artists’ Mutual Aid.

Image credits: mayfield brooks & Mary Pearson performing How To Be Afraid? at Improspekcije Festival (2019) at Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, photo by Tara Ivanisevic.

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