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Rachael Clerke

Balancing Acts


Balancing Acts is an absurd, desperate, multitasking, celebratory and damning physical performance about precarity. It is also a published score, an audio description, and a workshop plan. The work will be created with participants currently experiencing housing, employment, or financial insecurity. Balancing Acts can be adapted, re-made, and re-configured in different locations.

Rachael is interested in the ways that humans adapt to deal with difficult & uncertain situations. This is how we survive when things go to shit. But what does it do to us, and how might we make it visible? How can we celebrate the people who make these adaptations, whilst fighting to change the systems that make them necessary?

Balancing Acts might look like: People dressed as houses almost falling over. Endurance. Bodies trying to get comfortable. Attempts to do everything at once. Enjoyable flexibility. Less enjoyable flexibility. A tightrope. A support system.

Lead artist: Rachael Clerke
Collaborating artists: Hannah Sullivan, Linzy Na Nakorn

Artist Information

Rachael Clerke is an artist and organiser living in Bristol. They make generous artworks that sit somewhere on the edge of live art and community infrastructure; playful experiments about what real life might look like if we were less concerned with what real life ‘should’ look like.

This includes: a shop for talking about economics; a performance score for 3 – 5 year olds to take power over institutional art space; a piece of drag-gig-theatre about concrete architecture; a book of 151 ideas for overthrowing the government; a quilt of data from the 2019 general election; a DIY business selling shares in a communal bicycle; a podcast about private renting.

If you would like to get in touch about this work, please contact Hannah Slimmon, International Development Manager.

In a rehearsal room with wooden floors and bare brick walls, a white performer wearing a beige fleece, orange tracksuit bottoms and black trainers jumps straight up in the air with their hands on their hips and one leg raised slightly in front of the other. They have cropped brown hair. Sitting around them and observing in red chairs to the right are four white women.
Rachael Clerke. Image by Amelia Read.