Performances: September, 2001 at Jacksons Lane Theatre, London.

Some words about this part of the project from Fiona Millward:


The fourth part of this project took place in London and was commissioned as part of the new European Wide Festival of Zone 3 at Jacksons Lane Theatre.

This was not going to be an easy project from the beginning. With my injury still limiting my movement range and Bettina Holzhausen due for a knee operation on her return to Switzerland, we were seriously down on bodies that could move!

"girls, girls, girls..."

Zoltan Nagy was due to join us from America a week into the project due to his new scholarship to study there. This however was all to change following the Terrorist incident that took place in America. This event obviously knocked us all off centre, as many people throughout the world, and made us wonder about the value of what we were doing in general. What we soon realised was that this whole project for us, on a very small scale granted, was in some way emphasising elements that we personally needed to help deal with existing within conflict. We want to learn more about other cultures, to understand, share and respect anothers way of living and working.

Interesting then that this project was all about communication and misundertandings that arise from the language barrier. This paralleled so much with the difficulties of creating the project it became ironic. Due to injuries and absence we had only two people who could move and two who could talk. It made me realise more than ever that the difficulties we have with language barriers - misunderstandings are always overcome by actually getting physical instead. Usually during the periods of being stuck we use the tasks and improvisations we have decided upon to find the answers within our physical dialogue. This time we spent alot of time getting bogged down by language - a useful tool at times but not when it overstays its welcome!

We created the majority of the piece loosley in anticipation of Zoltan arriving as it was essential to not pin it down without his input and we wanted to ensure an integrated sense of the group in the final piece. With great difficulty we managed to get a flight and Zoltan joined us the day before our first performance. Despite severe jet-lag, his fresh perspective on what we had created gave a clarity and shape to the work and the final piece was completed the afternoon of the first show.

We were understandably nervous of the piece potentially falling into its own theme of miscommunication to the audience. It is always difficult to get a sense of how a piece communicates - you are so involved in the detail that you cannot see the wood for the trees! We were delighted that the piece was incredibly well received.

One of the things that kept coming up from feedback was the sense of calmness and ease with which we perform and the spontaneity of our interaction with each other. Having myself felt that the whites of my eyes must have been showing at times I was curious at these comments. Without realising it, and despite the irregularity of our projects, we have managed to gain an innate understanding of each other, both personally and as artists. When push comes to shove we are united in our focus and able to pursue each performance within the freedom of this.

It just confirms for me how our ongoing exploration of movement enables us to overcome issues, problems and misunderstandings through the subconscious dialogue that arises. I just look forward to Hungary - with 5 non-injured artists, all present and all moving!

Reviewed by Nonie Bradley for Live Art Magazine.

This is the most animated and compelling piece of dance/theatre/comedy that I have seen in a long while. In fact the previous event of such quality was also a group piece at Jacksons Lane, also largely improvised and engagingly performed by artists who had spent only the bare essential time together in preparation. The European Travelling Project similarly gathers with minimal rehearsal time - understandably, as continents routinely separate the artists.

However, their time connections clearly lie much deeper, as mature creators and experienced performers. Each of the five collaborators takes the opportunity to present themselves through solo, duo or group work. They are visibly united by the ever-present, ever-changing environment of books. Open, closed, passed, perched or thrown, the hidden meaning of the printed pages speaks through the language of dance and the verbal dialogues of the performers.

"olga & rossen"

Everyone speaks his/her own language and, like actors, they know how to deliver vocally, whether or not we understand literal meaning is irrelevant as they speak, sing or twitter and it makes sense or comedy.

In these times of developing global interaction this kind of cross-cultural, cross-art form collaboration seems deeply appropriate. In Switch Bridge, the attempt at making contact and communication without the immediate support of a common tongue is timely. Their solutions are amicable, whimsical and delightfully unexpected. This was the second half of an evening double bill - I would have happily been witness to a full evening's work by this group.