Sweet Tooth

John Hansard Gallery presentation at NST City

23 February, 2018

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    John Hansard Gallery presentation at NST City

    Elaine Mitchener

    Sweet Tooth

    Friday 23rd February 19:45


    Sensitive Content

    Recommended age: 12+

    No late comers will be admitted once the performance starts.


    As part of JHG Sampler, on Friday 23 February acclaimed vocalist and movement artist Elaine Mitchener will present SWEET TOOTH, an experimental and ambitious 50-minute cross disciplinary music theatre piece dealing with the historical links between sugar and slavery.

    Mitchener has assembled a trio of experimental musicians - saxophonist Jason Yarde, percussionist Mark Sanders, multi-instrumentalist Sylvia Hallett and award-winning Vietnamese-American choreographer Dam Van Huynh as movement director - to stage a dramatic engagement with the brutal realities of slavery. SWEET TOOTH uses sound improvisation and movement to reinterpret diverse parts of the historical record of the sugar industry and slave resistance – highlighting their contemporary echoes.

    SWEET TOOTH marks the culmination of five years’ research by Mitchener into our love of sugar and the historical links between Britain and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

    Mitchener worked with historian Dr Christer Petley, a Senior Lecturer in History at University of Southampton and an expert in the history of slavery in the Caribbean, whose recent research has explored the life and letters of Simon Taylor, one of the wealthiest and most powerful slaveholders to have lived in the British Empire. This work included the discovery of inventories in Jamaica of more than 2,000 enslaved Africans ‘owned’ by Taylor, and it is this research that provides part of the basis for the dramaturgy of SWEET TOOTH.


    Following on from the performance on Friday 23 February at NST City, the series of conversations exploring the cross-disciplinary nature of SWEET TOOTH.

    Speakers will include Elaine Mitchener and composer Dr Drew Crawford (University of Southampton), examining the work’s structural improvisational methodology, as well as the historical consultant for the piece, Dr Christer Petley (University of Southampton), in conversation with Dr Pritipuspa Mishra (History, University of Southampton) to explore the historical material within the performance. The event will conclude with a panel discussion chaired by Don John, founder of Southampton Black History Month.       

    Refreshments and pastries will be served from 10.30am and the talks programme will begin promptly at 11am.

    Book your place here: sweet-tooth-perspectives.eventbrite.co.uk


    SWEET TOOTH has been supported with public funding from Arts Council England. Commissioned by Bluecoat in partnership with the Stuart Hall Foundation and The International Slavery Museum with further support from PRSF Open Fund, Edge Hill University, Centre 151, St George’s Bloomsbury, John Hansard Gallery and NST City.