June 21, 2017 - Raven Row - In Case There's a Reason: The Theatre of Mistakes
June 21, 2017

Raven Row

The Theatre of Mistakes, Going, 1977. Photo: Kirk Winslow. Courtesy of The Theatre of Mistakes. 

In Case There's a Reason: The Theatre of Mistakes
June 30–August 6, 2017

Raven Row
56 Artillery Lane
London E1 7LS

T +44 20 7377 4300

Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Artists’ group The Theatre of Mistakes (1974-81) pioneered a structured performance art traversing architecture, choreography and poetry as well as visual art. They formed in London in the early 1970s from a series of open workshops at which instructional and games-based exercises were the focus. These came to inform The Street (1975), a performance with the residents and environment of Ascham Street in Kentish Town.

Fiona Templeton and Anthony Howell distilled the performance exercises into a publication, Elements of Performance Art (1976), arguably the first manifesto for performance art in the UK. A core group of six performers (Mickey Greenall, Glenys Johnson, Miranda Payne, Peter Stickland as well as Howell and Templeton) then agreed to produce contained and systematic works for a five-year duration. Later, "mistakes" were explored through a series of trios, duets and solos and Julian Maynard Smith joined the core group.   

The live element in this exhibition will commence on the opening night with a "Free Session" by The Theatre of Mistakes, including early members, Lindsay Moran and Howard Tong. Throughout the exhibition, Anthony Howell will run performance workshops every afternoon, while each Friday and Saturday evening there will be performances of Going (1977). Directed by Fiona Templeton, a cast of five will play out mannerisms of departure in five tightly choreographed acts, whilst attempting to be each other. 

The Theatre of Mistakes logged its working life, practice and processes in detail. The exhibition reveals this unique legacy of documentation and notation, and includes videos, photographs, a great variety of spatial and choreographic notations, as well as diary texts.

The exhibition is curated by Jason E. Bowman. For further booking information about Going and information about participation in the workshops, please see below.


Going (1977)
Fridays and Saturdays, 7pm, July 1–August 5

Going is a fugue for five performers in five acts, arranged from mannerisms of departure. Attempting to be each other, as opposed to a character, every performer has to learn all the parts, and thus every move and each gesture. Each weaves a role identical to that of the others, into different moments, but of the same role. 

Going premiered in February 1977 in a tour of Scotland, organised by Richard Demarco, and was then performed widely across Europe and the USA, including at the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh in November 1978. It has not been performed in full since 1981.

Going is performed with either three women and two men, or three men and two women. The production at Raven Row is directed by Fiona Templeton and performed by an alternating cast: Manuela Albrecht, Javier Cardona, Yoko Ishiguro, Florence Peake, Andrew Price and Taylor Smith. 

The first public performance is at 7pm on Saturday July 1 and thereafter, every Friday and Saturday evening until August 5. The performance lasts approximately one hour. Places are limited, please book your place on Eventbrite here.


Elements of Performance Art public workshops with Anthony Howell
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 2-5pm, June 30–August 6

Public workshops will take place throughout the exhibition guided by co-founder of The Theatre of Mistakes, Anthony Howell. If you wish to take part, kindly meet with Anthony either half-an-hour prior to the workshop starting time, or at its end. 

During the early years of The Theatre of Mistakes (1974-76) workshops were held in public and private spaces around London. They were open to all and attended by artists and students from different disciplines: writers and poets; dancers and choreographers; visual artists of all media and architects. Participants would develop instructions and games-based exercises under a basic rubric: that if you designed an exercise then you were in agreement to perform those by others. These were refined and distilled into the publication Elements of Performance Art (1976), which will serve as a starting point for Howell’s workshops and "free sessions" at Raven Row.

Supported by 

Raven Row
Share - In Case There's a Reason: The Theatre of Mistakes
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York