Love Letters Straight from Your Heart

PH Clarke, Guests Uninvited

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


Clarke directed this devised performance. The project explored strategies for interaction both before and during a performance event, developing a structure, which could be populated by content produced by members of each audience. Participants email song requests and submit written dedications in advance, which are edited and organised dramaturgically to form a unique script for each show. The form of Love Letters, which resembles a wedding reception or a wake, as well as a radio dedication show, also tests the distinction between theatre and social ceremonies.

1. What strategies and structures can facilitate shared authorship and collaborative agency with audiences, particularly in relation to scripting a personalised theatre event?
2. Can a performance work generate the interactions, investment and emotional affects produced at social ceremonies, and a temporary sense of community?
3. What is the relationship between personal intimacy and performance, or its theatrical representation?
4. What are the effects of performing conventionally private material publicly, particularly with respect to the personal and intimate relationships of those present?

Love Letters pushes the aesthetics, strategies and tactics of participatory performance, especially in terms of making public within the event what is usually kept private. This takes place within the context of the public performance of personal intimacies on social media sites, where family, friendship and sexual relationships are part of the public domain and an individual’s social identity. Love Letters contributes to current questioning of the boundaries between theatre and other forms of scripted or constructed social event. Discursive and practical research explored the performativity of romantic love or friendship, and the role of songs in cultural and personal memory or identity. As evidenced by dissemination, the production also addressed how a work made for art centres can be adapted and related to particular communities of participants, i.e. audiences of elders and in village halls.

Toured to key national venues and festivals.

1. DVD DOCUMENTATION: 2 full-length video documents, from National Review of Live Art and Fierce Festival. 2 trailers.
4. SCORE: a performance score, co-authored by Clarke and Uninvited Guests.
Translated title of the contributionLove Letters Straight from Your Heart
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publication National Review of Live Art, Tramway, Glasgow
Media of outputDVD
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Medium: Theatre
Other: Toured to: Southbank Centre (2011 & 2012), RSC, Stratford, Lyric Hammersmith; Latitude Festival; Edinburgh Fringe (10 day run); Warwick Arts Centre; Oxford Playhouse; UnFringed, Limerick (award for Spirit of UnFringed); Arnolfini; Tobacco Factory; Alsager Arts Centre; Newbury Corn Exchange; Leeds Met Studio Theatre; Battersea Arts Centre; Behaviour Festival, The Arches International Theatre Festival, Glasgow; Parabola Arts Centre; rural tour to North Devon villages through Beaford Arts and shows for elders as part of Clod Ensemble's Extravagant Acts for Mature People.


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  • Gair o Gariad: Love Letters Straight from your Heart

    Translated title of the contribution: Word of Love: Love Letters Straight from your HeartUninvited Guests, Theatr Bara Caws, Clarke, P. & Lwyd, B., 17 May 2017

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance

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