An Evening Of Meat, comes to The Vaults with a six-course meal and a side of empowering entertainment. Daniel Perks chats to director Kate March about the immersive culinary experience:

Who’s hungry, because we have feminism on the menu! Interactive dining experience, An Evening Of Meat, comes to The Vaults with a six-course meal and a side of empowering entertainment. Throughout the evening, an all-female cast perform a mix of choreographed routine and improvised interaction as they each struggle to cast off the chains that bind, and rise up to their full height. These women are more than just a piece of meat on the table, more than just objects for observation.

I caught up with director Kate March on the latest incarnation of An Evening With Meat, a show that has toured across the world over the last eight years:

An Evening Of Meat The Vaults

Kate March

An Evening of Meat, what a beautifully provocative title! How are you feeling about bringing this show to the London audience? Does it feel like a homecoming, or do you perceive your home to be Hong Kong and New York?

“I am feeling really excited and grateful to bring this show to London – the concept was born around eight years ago while I was completing my MA program here! Now, after years of both artistic and personal development, and with an incredibly talented team of collaborators, I feel confident that London audiences will appreciate the layers and facets of the experience.”

“It does feel like a homecoming in a sense – when I left London for Asia in 2011, I never had the opportunity to return! I feel like in my time away, I have gained so much wisdom and learned so very much; I feel like this is an opportunity to show my reverence to the city and culture that helped me develop as an artist at such a pivotal time in my career. I learned a long time ago that home can be many different places and cultures – home is more about the people you are with, and I am lucky to feel at home in many places across the globe.”

An Evening Of Meat The Vaults

The Vaults have performed theatrical dinner experiences before – last year they hosted Les Enfants Terribles’ Dinner At The Twits. How do you think this evocative space lends itself to your show? 

“I adore The Vaults. The venue immediately transports the audience to another world, which is the main reason I was so drawn to it. Most of the work my company engages in is site-specific or site sensitive, in that the choreography is directly influenced and inspired by the atmosphere and structure of the venue. The space becomes an active character in the way we unfold our story, the performers respond and find depth to the development of their unique characters. It’s a beautiful thing to witness!”

How did you and head chef Chavdar Todorov make sure that the menu and the theatrical performance were a seamless conceptual fusion?

“I feel it’s an important aspect of the concept as a whole to give the chefs, and Chavdar in particular, total freedom to interpret and explore the themes in the way they feel creatively inclined to do so. I entrusted Chavdar to the development and when he presented the ideas for the menu, there weren’t many changes to be made. He had the opportunity to see so much of the writing, philosophy, video footage and past iterations of An Evening of Meat; he understood how to tie his creations to the core themes of the performance. We wanted to give people an all sensory experience of true “taste”, we believe we have accomplished that.”

An Evening Of Meat The Vaults

With a set of performers exploring the idea of an all-fours position, never quite reaching their full height, did you have to pay any special attention to the design concept of the show?

“I’ve learned over my career that restrictions have to be a part of the creative process – the challenge becomes how to effectively present your work without compromise, despite not being able to implement all the dream design work we want to have. Sometimes it’s for the best and simple is better.”

“In this case, my team and I wanted to experiment with the minimalist aesthetic we find so powerful, but also with dramatic lighting and a set design that will undoubtedly get a visceral reaction from the audience. I like to play with themes of liberation, restriction, power hierarchies and mystery in the spatial design, to complement the core values of the work, and also to use The Vaults’ existing atmosphere of rebellious underground secret worlds.”

An Evening Of Meat The Vaults

If you were to cook a three-course dinner party for three guests of your choice, what would you cook and who would you invite?

“If I could cook a three-course dinner it would be a miracle!”

“Since this is a dream scenario, I would start with some sort of cheese & meat platter with an Italian Super Tuscan wine to get the conversation flowing. In homage to my New England home, I would have to have some freshly caught lobster with corn on the cob (in case any of my guests were against animal meat). And I would end with a delectable chocolate mousse, crystallised violets and fresh whipped cream – a favorite of mine at a restaurant in NYC.”

“My guests would undoubtedly be Albert Einstein, Beethoven, and Pina Bausch – my 3 muses.”

 

 

An Evening Of Meat will run at The Vaults from 27 March – 22 April 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.