TitleBodies in Flight Archive
DescriptionPapers, photographs and other audio-visual materials relating largely to the work of experimental performance company Bodies in Flight between 1989 and 2001, as gathered and deposited by Simon Jones, co-director of Bodies in Flight. The collection largely relates to the creation of Bodies in Flight's shows and contains draft scripts and scores developed through rehearsal processes, photographs documenting the performances and other audio-visual items (both those used as part of performances, as well as video documentation of the performances themselves), publicity print and other marketing-related materials, publications and press cuttings, some set designs and correspondence between the company and external producers and technicians.
Date1989 - 2013
AdminHistoryBeginning in 1989, BODIES IN FLIGHT, co-directed by Sara Giddens and Simon Jones, make performance 'where flesh utters and words move, that challenges and re-energizes the conventional relationship between audiences and performers, and audiences and place.' Based in Bristol and Nottingham, their work comes from the careful and rigorous development of interdisciplinary and collaborative methods, often with new technologies in cutting edge venues.

Bodies in Flight's first shows (1989-1995) were created in the context of the late eighties and early nineties UK experimental performance scene where physical and dance theatre encountered performance and live art, where challenging work in body art mixed with experiments in multi-media. These shows were high-energy, action-based, erotic and political; they increasingly involved poetic text and choreographed movement. They consistently explored theatre’s capacity to make meaning, to affect its audiences, to comment on the world.

In 1996, their eighth show Do the Wild Thing! formalized these concerns with a specific research imperative: to explore how performance achieved these affects. Bodies in Flight began to deconstruct and examine what they called the mixing of 'flesh and text', which they deemed to be performance’s unique contribution as an art-form. They achieved this through a series of collaborations with sonic and visual media artists, developing a strategy of duetting between bodies and technologies, texts and spaces. They extended their interest in siting performances in specific places, including the virtual online environment, taking these collaborations across continents and cultures, so that bodies with radically different experiences were brought together in the work.
ArrangementThe largest class of records, 'Shows', has been arranged chronologically. Bodies in Flight's shows have often been referred to numerically (eg. Littlun's Wake as BIF7) and the catalogue reflects this arrangement (eg. Littlun's Wake has been given the Refno. BIF/1/7). Information about each show, including the texts used in publicity copy, a short description of the work and its themes, together with the names of key participants has been included at sub-class level. (These have been adapted from texts written by Simon Jones in preparation for an exhibition in 2019 to celebrate Bodies in Flight's 30th anniversary.)
Related MaterialBodies in Flight material can also be found in the Record of Live Art Practice, (see references RLAP/B/90 & RLAP/B/91) and Hull Time Based Arts (reference HTBA) archives. Simon Jones is also professor of performance in the Department of Theatre at the University of Bristol, and much of Bodies in Flight's work is related to Jones's development of practice-as-research methodologies, which are reflected in the University of Bristol Drama Department archive (reference BDD). See for example, the PARIP (Practice As Research In Performance) and Performing Documents projects.
Extent15 boxes
Add to My Items

    ​Recently catalogued collections​

    ​A list of some of our recently catalogued collections​.