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Rachel Mars



FORGERY is the performance installation element of Rachel’s series of works ‘FORGE’ about memorials, decay and places and objects with traumatic histories.

‘This is it, this is it. Only it’s completely different.’ Marianne Hirsch, 2007

In 2014 the 100kg iron ‘welcome’ gate was stolen from Dachau concentration camp. A local blacksmith made a replica. It was exactly like the original.

In this residency Rachel continued her work exploring who memorials are for, what should happen to places where traumatic events have taken place and who decides. She is interested in how objects become contaminated by history, and how to balance living with a traumatic past with a responsibility to the present.

During the residency she experimented with the re-creation and destruction of a replica of the Dachau concentration camp gate, working collaboratively with a dramaturg, sound designer and metalworker, with virtual visits from Jewish scholars and memorial designers. Alongside testing practical welding methods, the residency explored scale, audience safety, duration and notions of spectacle.

Lead artist – Rachel Mars
Sound – Dinah Mullen
Dramaturg – Wendy Hubbard
Metalwork consultant – Jenni Cairns
Producer – Claire Summerfield

About Rachel

Rachel Mars is a writer and performer based in the UK. She has been working at the cross-over of performance art and theatre for 13 years. Her work explores female, Jewish and Queer identities and their intersections.  

Her recent performance work includes OUR CARNAL HEARTS, a choral dissection of envy; YOUR SEXTS ARE SHIT: OLDER BETTER LETTERS, a queer archive of sex letters; ROLLER, with Mars.tarrab, an interrogation of female aggression for 7 women and STORY #1/#3, a collaboration with Greg Wohead on radical narrative.

She won a Total Theatre Award and the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award. She has performed all over the UK and internationally, including recently at Barbican London, Brisbane International Festival, Brighton International Festival, Fusebox Festival Austin, On The Boards, Seattle.

Artist website:

The Horizon team would like to thank Testbed Leeds for supporting Rachel Mars’ residency with the provision of space and resources.

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


Rachel Mars, Forge. Photo by Joe Twigg
Rachel Mars, Forge. Photo by Joe Twigg