Make Better Please

PH Clarke, Guests Uninvited, Gibson Lewis

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


A 110-minute devised performance directed by Clarke, which arose out of Clarke’s ongoing exploration of modes of participation and the politics of shared authorship. Rather than being a site-specific work, Make Better Please is specific to the date on which it is performed, with its content emerging from conversations with audience members, prompted by reading the newspapers. What matters for each day’s meeting - the content of the performance event - differs from day to day and is determined by those present. The show’s fictional premise is that it is an exorcism of ‘bad news’. The audience-generated content feeds into a structure that borrows from other forms; Quaker meeting, open-space technology, shamanic rite, rock gig and radio broadcast.

1.What kinds of meetings and interactions with audiences might reconfigure the theatre event and its conventional relations?
2.How might a performance text be generated immediately in collaboration with audiences?
3. What form could contemporary political theatre appropriately take in relation to ?
3.Giorgio Agamben proposes profanity as the crucial political task of the moment, an act of resistance to every form of separation. How can abandoned or archaic modes of performance, and religious or sacred practices, be put to new uses and profaned, repurposed in a secular theatre context?

In order to invent new traditions for temporary theatre communities, we have returned to what Alan Read has called ‘abandoned practices’, re-using obsolete devices from Mummers Plays and folk performance, in combination with borrowings from Agit Prop, 1930s Living Newspapers and Les Maîtres Fous, Jean Rouch’s documentary about the Ghanaian Hauka cult. Uninvited Guests’ ‘field work’ also included attending Quaker Meetings and, in our event, we re-contextualise this form of non-hierarchised, collective ministry for a non-religious, political and discursive purpose.

Through 24 performances at 10 key national venues. Paper presentation at Re-Routing Performance, FIRT/IFTR conference, Barcelona, July 2013. DVD documentation. [See portfolio for details.]

1. DVD DOCUMENTATION: A full-length video document will be included, along with two video edits from different shows.
4. CONFERENCE PAPER: A copy of the forthcoming FIRT/IFTR paper.
5. SCORE: a performance score, co-authored by Clarke, Lewis Gibson and Uninvited Guests.
Translated title of the contributionMake Better Please
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBristol Old Vic
Media of outputDVD
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
EventBristol Old Vic - Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Nov 201020 Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Medium: Performance
Other: Received Arts Council funding for tour. In 2012 Make Better Please was performed at Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham, 24-25 February, Unity Theatre, Liverpool, 2-3 March, Manor Hall, Berrynarbor, 23 March, Beaford Village Hall, 24 March, Moseley Friends Institute as part of Fierce Festival, Birmingham, 30 March-1 April, West Yorkshire Playhouse as part of Transform 12 Festival, Leeds, 22 April, BAC, London, 1-12 May, Northern Stage, Newcastle, 15-16 June. Upcoming performances at ARC, Stockton-on-Tees and Bristol Old Vic.


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