The #Retired Performers Project, is a series of images and audio interviews captured over 12 months beginning in January 2018. The series was inspired to pay homage to the people of Blackpool in particular its performance community.
My Step Aunt was a Circusette and ran away with a Juggler. Her toe was caught in the water apparatus in Blackpool Tower Circus, Norman Barrett the Ringmaster whisked her away whilst she screamed the house down in pain.
My husbands Great Grandma was a Tiller Girl; we have an amazing portrait of her but can find nothing else out about her.
In 2014 I met a retired foot juggler at Showzam, Blackpool's circus festival. She showed me an image of herself as a young woman with her husband. She told me that her husband had performed for Hitler and toured the world. I began to consider the "hidden" stories of Blackpool, a place famous for performance and historically the destination for theatre and showmanship.
The series of images captures performers who were working in and prior to 1970's, photographed through 2018 in their place of performance and at home. Including chauffeurs, dancers, musicians, performers, ice dancers and drag artists photographed in theaters, piers and vestibules. The project explores connection and community through audio and image allowing both sitter, subject and viewer an experience to revisit a place to revisit a story to exchange or to pay respect.
The #RetiredPerformers project attempts to investigate how we keep memories, what happens with them if they are not shared? It questions ideas of showmanship, authorship, recollections of experiences and the possibilities for a human need for connection to place and each other through exchange.
The full series can be found here : https://retiredperformers.com/about