Nights in this City
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Rome.. this city is known to me for three things—the beer, the historical buildings and something else... just there, behind these buildings, on the skyline you might just catch a glimpse of the leaning tower of Pisa... and those of you who've been to Venice before will recognise the smell... Ladies and Gentlemen, I think its fair to warn you that I have been drinking and I've never been that lucky... this city, er yeah, this city, let's call it Berlin, Berlin is known for five things, (1) Steel manufacture, (2) Football, (3) Ray are you sure this is the right route?”
Perhaps the first ever guided tour of Sheffield, Nights in This City was a performance with both audience and performers on board a moving bus. Later restaged in Rotterdam, the project created a guided tour conducted by male and female tour guides who avoided facts in search of a different truth.
Poetical and mischievous, the project explored the different histories written in urban space — from the official and the historical to the personal, the mythical and the imaginary. The public were bused around a particular route whilst commentary from the performers renamed and re-invented real-world events beyond the window. Occasionally, performed interventions by members of the company were staged along the bus route. Slipping through the centre of the city and out of control, the tour ran decidedly off-the-beaten path, playing always to the differences between on-route and off-route, centre and periphery, legitimate and illegitimate.
The performance ended with an installation in which the entire street index for the city was written out in chalk on the floor of a found space.
© Forced Entertainment 1995. Site-specific coach tour and installation.
1997 Rotterdam version commissioned by Rotterdamse Schouwburg and R Festival (Rotterdam)
Conceived and devised by the company
Performers: Robin Arthur, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall,
Cathy Naden, Terry O’Connor
Direction: Tim Etchells
Text: Tim Etchells and the company
Design: Richard Lowdon
Lighting Design: Nigel Edwards
Soundtrack: Found Sources