The Bette Bourne Supremacy (working title)

The Bette Bourne Supremacy (working title)

Project details

greenhouse – The Bette Bourne Supremacy [working title] from house on Vimeo.

GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN embark on a new project about marrying age, accomplishment and legendary status, with youth, aspiration and stupidity.

In GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN’s work, Lucy and Jen function as a troubled double-act, continually reaching for the epic while surrounded by limitation. They are caustic, ruthless and funny, and they are always too close for comfort – too close to the audience, too close to each other, too close to the line. They will be joined by the legendary performance (and real life) partnership Bette Bourne (b. 1939) and Paul Shaw – performance giants, queer icons, gender heroes – for this project.  With these four bodies in the room, GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN will explore how memory allows ‘the radical’ to become mythologised, normalised and historicised.

Since seeing Bette and Paul perform the famous ‘handbag’ scene from The Importance of Being Earnest at the opening of the People’s Palace at Queen Mary’s University, GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN have been committed to finding a way to work with them – to work across the generations and to mix up their usual dynamic of 2 young women, with these 2 legendary men.

Using Bette’s renowned Lady Bracknell (English Touring Theatre, 1995) as a starting point, GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN will start work on a show that smashes Jen and Lucy right into their cultural heritage of risk and radicalism, in the form of Bette and Paul. This will be a show about the determination to keep going, physically, mentally, and culturally. This will be an uncompromising exploration of the impact of ruptured memory on individual identity, a pair’s shared sense of its story, a nation’s communal past, and a subculture’s hard-won history.

Colchester Arts Centre has an ambition to develop meaningful projects with an older audience. The generation now in their 60s and 70s were the generation that discovered and championed the likes of the Velvet Underground, Yoko Ono, Psychedelia and Punk. That sense of engagement with the radical and the new doesn’t just disappear and this project supports the ambition of the venue to foster the “grey radicals”.


Updates on this project