La Soupe (1990)

Cast : Divas Liz Aggiss, Jane Bassett, Virginia Farman, Sian Thomas, Ralf Higgins, Parmjit Pammi (singer), and Carousel Dance Company (an integrated company) : Joyce Francis, Eric Grantham, Edna Guy, Jane Hanson, Debbie Harkin, Sarah Jackson, Martin Lake, Veronica Lee, Jackie Mathews, Clare Matthews, Alison Mills, Colin Richardson, Valerie Rowe, Margaret Stamp, Gill Wilcox.
Costume and Lighting : Christina Ure

La Soupe is an exotic dance / opera, inspired by the Outsider Art collection housed at La Fabuloserie, Dicy, France. The piece is based on the writings and poems of some of the performers with learning difficulties. Set in the Music Room at the Royal Pavilion this reads as a powerful statement about privilege exclusion and appropriation of culture. La Soupe is about liberating performance structures and beckons towards a rethinking of social and political boundaries.

Premiered 16th May 1990 Music Room Royal Pavilion Brighton.

Brighton Festival Alliance and Leicester Award 1990.

'Inspired by the extraordinary and sumptuous setting, the piece draws on the lives and words of the Carousel performers themselves. It is an evening of cabaret with tableaux, group and solo pieces and is a fusion of music, dance, theatre, architecture and culture.
The first thing that struck me was the total integration of these performing forces. I rarely had a chance to think, or make a comment that any one person was different from anyone else, or comment on the fact that ten of these pe+
ople were adults with learning difficulties……………..
In the opening introduction they beat out a rhythm with soup spoons, and then they used large leeks, potatoes and onions to make the soup which, later on in the performance, will be ladled out by people in large chef’s hats – in a scene reminiscent of Oliver. By this stage however, some find that they are being fed rat soup, not the leek soup implied by the original ingredients! In a subtle way this seemed to be one of the many political comments underlying the work.’

Stanley Hamilton Dice Magazine

References for La Soupe
Aggiss, L. Cowie, B. Bramley, I. (2006) Anarchic Dance Routledge
Hamilton, S. (12 July 1990) In the soup together : La Soupe by Carousel seen at the Brighton Pavilion 16 May 1990 Dice Magazine
Hamilton, S. (Sept 1990) Authentic Voices : Stanley Hamilton looks at some recent dances for and by people overcoming disadvantages Dance and Dancers
Watson, K (22 March 1991) Warmth in the Soupe Hampstead and Highgate Express

Extracts available of the live performance, on DVD, in the book ‘Anarchic Dance by Liz Aggiss, Billy Cowie with Ian Bramley (Routledge)