Liz Aggiss is a live artist, dance performer, choreographer and film-maker.
From the early 80’s supporting punk legends The Stranglers with her visual cabaret troupe The Wild Wigglers: to the award winning dance film Motion Control and her Guerrilla Dance interventions, Liz Aggiss has been blurring the boundaries between high art and popular culture for the past 40 years.
She received the Bonnie Bird Choreography Award 1994, Arts Council Dance Fellowship 2003, is Emeritus Professor University of Brighton and Hon. Doc. University of Gothenburg Sweden. In this interview, Liz Aggiss talks to us about her new show Slap & Tickle coming to The Lowry on Thur 9 March.
Slap & Tickle is a physical commentary on cultural behaviours and sexual taboos, what can audiences at The Lowry expect to see on stage?
“Expect to see a mature solo woman engaged in a feminist soup of collage and cut-ups, whilst lurching seamlessly between dance, text, song. Expect to revise your attitudes on mature female visibility. Expect a mirror to be held up to the invidious nonsense, name-calling and restrictions perpetrated to limit female expectations and aspirations.”
“In 2016 Trump’s victory as boastful thug and abuser, calling Hillary Clinton witch, b***h, ancient crone and ‘nasty’ woman, whilst himself ‘reveling’ in a proud history of female molestation, serves to remind us that sexual equality can be reversed overnight. Slap and Tickle highlights the link between supposedly benign façade of ‘locker room talk’, with the very real, resultant mistreatment of women.”
“When I made Slap and Tickle, I knew its content was spot on, but I had no reason to suspect just how relevant this show would be to post election USA. Politics aside, expect a visual treat with a dizzying array of props and costume, an aural soundtrack down memory lane and juxtaposition between vaudeville and high art, live art and dance. And if you thought this might be a dry performance, rest assured Slap and Tickle, liberally adorned with vulgarity, c**k bunting and balls is a ‘fart in the church of feminist discourse”. As one critic put it ‘It’s a thrillingly emancipating f**k you”. This is a show that will make you cackle and cringe simultaneously.”
The show displays interpretations of women, girls, mothers and pensioners. Will we be able to recognize any of those interpretations in the performance?
“With 40 years of performance experience and 63 of womanhood under my belt, I am the Mistress of Stamina and the ‘enfant terrible’ of the bus pass generation. There is no question that this performance is jammed full of familiarity and resonance, sharing our direct and indirect shared histories and posing questions through clear content. This is not passive viewing. The work pushes and pulls you through preconceptions and demanding your attention. It’s an ON piece! And without giving too much away, there will be balloons and prizes.”
Where have you presented this work before and how did audiences react?
“Slap and Tickle has been very well received and toured in a variety of theatres and contextually relevant and delightfully titled festivals: Curious, RISE, DanceLive, Bend It!, Arts by the Seaside, British Dance Edition and Mature Moves, to name a few. So apart from the UK, this work has been seen in Singapore and Tasmania Australia. The post show chats have been fascinating and the work has clearly struck a chord. Frankly, if I had not left the stage the party would still be on. The applause is still ringing in my ears! I have been overwhelmed with the great response and critical feedback.”
Critical reviews you can access here
See clip for ABC TV interview here
What does it mean to be presenting your work as part of SICK! Festival at The Lowry?
“Back in the 80’s I performed regularly at the Green Room. It was part of the ‘alternative’ performance circuit. I am so pleased to have this opportunity to return to Manchester and to The Lowry. Context is all. Siting my work in an appropriately curated programme ensures the audience enters my world with the knowledge that the work is a good ‘fit’ to the overall aesthetic scheme of the festival. Those who are familiar with my work know to expect the unexpected. Those to whom I am unknown, so a chance to catch-up now, can engage with my work under a broader context of SICK!, and, be secure that they selected their tickets well.”
If you describe Slap & Tickle in 5 words, what would it be?
“Dark, funny, raucous, sophisticated, potent.”
For tickets and information visit the website or call box office on 0843 208 6000.
The views expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the views of The Lowry.