We're really happy to have it as part of the LightNight festival programme, particularly framed within the context of the Lady Chapel and the taizé chanting.
I feel that given the complexity of the experience of loss and healing, hand washing is a beautifully simple act to stimulate reflection on those concepts and anchor it in a real physical experience. It also feels like quite an accessible piece that I expect will engage the minds not just of those participating but also watching. I think it will resonate with the very broad LightNight audience - people of many different age groups and backgrounds.
Open Culture Director & Light Night Producer
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Testimonials and Statements of Interest
"Having known you for a long time and observed the different ways you have supported, researched and manifested the work you do it gave me an appetite to want to get into a space and do some work with you. I feel you have a real sensibility around improvisation and performance.
Your voice is extraordinary. In the array of different songs you have sung, I hear that you have a great deal of plasticity in the style, performance intention and genres you work with."
Liverpool Improvisation Collective and mentor/collaborator in this project
"I think it helped the clients to think more widely, so it's not just opening their minds to different techniques of drama and workshops but in doing that it opens their minds to different ways to live their life"
Genie in the Gutter Director
(speaking about a program of workshops I ran at Genie in the Gutter - a service for active substance misusers looking to enter recovery)
The quality of Aleasha’s research into particular areas of anthropological and cultural performance practice and her own field work in the rehearsal room seeking to gain an understanding of and re-balance her own encultured psychological/emotional and muscular processes was exemplary.
In addition she revealed both sensitivity and rigor producing some remarkable insights and manifestations her through her MA practice.
Song of the Goat Co-Founder
I loved the project. I'm very interested in the way you are working creatively to explore the physical & physiological experience of loss & healing. The sense that facing possible or actual loss of physical ability can be redeemed & reconciled is particularly interesting.
Presenting this ritualistically in a sacred space promises to be powerful & thought provoking. It will be interesting to see how people experience this. I suspect that the interactive ritualising of your work in the Lady Chapel at Liverpool Cathedral will expand the vision of your piece. Very much looking forward to working with you.
Rev Canon Dr Ellen Loudon
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
Did I dream this?
Is that why I only have fragments?
Of a moment I now try desperately to hold on to.
a presence to my right
Skin touching mine. I cannot tell you how long it had been since I'd last touched the skin of another human being.
I was sitting against the window. I leaned my head against it to feel the vibration of the train. It was my only sensation apart from the cold. The weather was freezing and I wore no gloves, so I slid my hands under my thighs.
The carriage was empty.
I did not look round. I'd seen it before. The worn upholstery, the gritty, dusty floor. At that time it was my way to be insensitive to everything. Weeks before a wheeled trolley had rolled over my foot, breaking a toe, but even this could not stir me.
I was first aware of the smell: a powerful, florid perfume. It reminded me of summer trips to Kew. Heat-haze and sickly hyacinths. It emanated from the seat behind me. I felt a brush of something soft and feathery on my neck. The person must have removed a hat and it was their hair that had touched me. Some of it lingered softly at my own hairline. My mind drifted back to insensibility.
I noticed the smell fade. The presence, the person had silently moved away. But it returned, stronger this time, at my side. Whoever it was had moved to the seat next to mine. When, in an empty carriage, someone chose to disturb my solitude I no longer became irritated. It happened often. They had a destination. They would leave. I would not. I did not react. My attention retuned easily to the familiar tedium of litter, scree and trees clinging to verges. Every now and then, the torn roots of one that had failed to hang on.
It was then I felt the touch.
Softness and warmth, on the palm of my hand.
I did not move, but could feel it like the first sting of sweat.
Or could I? How could I? I still felt the fabric of my trousers on the back of my hand. My hands were under my thigh; palms pressed to the seat and yet I'd felt it. I knew I had. I did not look round.
I felt a breath, warm across my cheek. It lingered and then was gone. I breathed it in. I don't know if, somehow, I had deafened myself because I can't remember hearing anyone breathe. The sound isn't part of the memory, but the breath is. The breath and the smell of sweet, sharp flowers. A fragrance so strong it made me blink. Still, I did not look round.
I became aware of my heart, beating hard. Knocking solidly. It was so strong I could feel it all over my body. I felt as though I had become my heart. I had gone from solid, cold lead to a pointless fleshy organ with no function, other than to pump blood, hot, around itself. I'd once heard of a child born with a headless parasitic twin. Alive, but not alive. A useless lump of flesh. I felt my own absurdity and the thought of myself as some usless, self-sustaining organ seemed suddenly amusing to me.
I turned around and found I was alone. Hands pressed against the seat, against my thigh. The smell gone and the cold air freezing the sweat at my neck.
My heart was still beating wildly. I pulled my hand from under my leg.
Buckled and damp, pressed against my palm was a creamy, white calling card. I peeled the card away. My hand was damp with sweat and the mosture had transferred the ink to my skin.
"The lady of good dolls", I said aloud, surprised to hear my voice. I had expected to hear nothing over the bass thud from my chest.
I turned back to the window. It was dark. Had the light been fading as I'd turned around or had I been staring at my hand for hours? What time was it?
The train pulled into the terminus.