Tell us about yourself
My name is Kevin Edward Turner. I’m an artist, husband and a father to two wonderful boys. I trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and after a distinguished performance career became the Co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of Company Chameleon, a dance theatre company based in Manchester, UK. Chameleon has been in operation for nearly 14 years now, we perform around 50 times a year both nationally and internationally.
What inspires you
The process and the act of creating inspires me. Working with my team – collaborating, communicating and creating together. Whether I’m directing, performing or leading a workshop, the connection you can make through movement inspires me, and how dance can be used to generate awareness, create conversation and shift perspectives.
Tell us something interesting we might not know about your work
Having Bi-polar I believe is both a blessing and a curse as a performer and maker. I often describe my condition as feeling and thinking too much!
It is a blessing because it allows me as a performer to use this emotional and psychological intensity to great effect, allowing me to dive into my role and find a concentrated authenticity that connects with audiences. I feel the same idea for making. The downside? If I’m doing a role that requires a lot from me emotionally and psychologically, it can upset my balance and the intensity of the experience bleeds into my non-working life, this can be distressing, triggering my condition.
This is especially so when performing Witness This. The piece requires a lot from me on every level – physically, emotionally and psychologically. I have learnt to manage this and protect myself, and through that experience protect my team and their wellbeing. This is important as the subject matter and theme of the work can have a big impact on the artists performing the work.
“It is a blessing because it allows me as a performer to use this emotional and psychological intensity to great effect, allowing me to dive into my role and find a concentrated authenticity that connects with audiences.”
Tell us about the inspiration for your show
The inspiration for Witness This is from a real-life experience from my life. More specifically a mental health crisis I had in 2013, and how that crisis impacted upon me and more importantly upon my family and loved ones.
With the work, I wanted to use my real-life experience as a platform to raise awareness around mental health and promote conversation, understanding and hope for families enduring a similar experience. I wanted to tear at the fabric of taboo that still cloaks the issue. By sharing mine and my family’s story, I hope to tell people, that it is possible for things to get better and change.
Why do you love working outdoors?
I love working outdoors because it allows Chameleon as a Company to engage with people who may not readily go into a theatre or have much contact with dance or contemporary work. Coming from a working-class background, it’s important for my work to engage, inspire and reach as many people as possible. It’s up to me as the maker to create something that talks to people from all different backgrounds and that can be appreciated on many different levels. Somehow working outdoors just feels more democratic; less elitist.
The wonderful thing about performing outdoor work is that you can see your audiences and the whites of their eyes! It allows you as a performer to really cross the divide and engage in a dialogue with the audience in a way that simply isn’t possible in most theatre spaces.
Performing outdoor also makes you work that bit harder and dig deeper in order to not to be distracted. I love the immediacy of performing outdoors. If people don’t like what they see, they walk on by. But if they do, you are able to transform a place and people’s relationship to it. This is when something quite special can happen that is not possible anywhere but outdoors. This is what I love.
“If people don’t like what they see, they walk on by. But if they do, you are able to transform a place and people’s relationship to it. This is when something quite special can happen that is not possible anywhere but outdoors. This is what I love.”
Watch the video below to find out more about the team behind Company Chameleon and their show Witness This as well as exploring their profile our XTRAX International Directory.
Featured Image: Witness This © Company Chameleon