Inspired by teach-yourself-to-dance floor mats, The Steps Series invites audiences to perform the show themselves. Performance instructions are printed out as vinyl footsteps, handprints, ‘objectprints’ and script fragments and applied to the venue’s walls, floors, windows and doors. These instructions act as a puzzle waiting to be solved with the solution often coming by physcially trusting in the instructions rather than quizzing them from the outside.
By choosing which colour footsteps to follow audience members can cast themselves in the show. Alternatively the performance instructions can be read from a distance as a script, but the most fun is to be had by getting stuck in. Audiences can turn up at any time, on their own or with any number of friends. The show starts when they start. Audiences can be their own audiences. They can rehearse, repeat their favourite scenes or moments, cut bits they’re not happy with, maybe even go off script and improvise. Everyone is welcome.
Whilst the format of The Steps Series remains constant the content of the piece is remade afresh for each venue, responding to its architecture, activity and the occasion of the commission. Different editions of The Steps Series place emphasis on different elements of the show, taking the basic idea off in different directions.
Here is a brief history of the series outlining how the series has evolved. For further information on each edition including credits and photographs click on the links to the right.
Dance Steps, the first edition establised a grammar for the series. We bought our own vinyl cutter for Spy Steps so we could make it much more ambitious, we also added an MP3 soundtrack for participants to play on headphones. Giant Steps was the first edition we made especially for children, having seen how much the liked the other versions we’d made. In Odyssey Steps we finally cracked how to make speach bubbles that work well. Space Steps was the first version we made with children – they transformed their school into a space ship. Market Steps was the first version in a shopping mall. Revolutionary Steps was a version of Danton’s Death commissioned by the National Theatre for its public spaces. Apollo Steps was our first outdoor version.