The show celebrates the slipperiness of words, reinventing them so that none of them are safe
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian
In the grand tradition of literary terrorism, Hannah Silva has ripped up her copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, surrounded by the crumpled pages, she attempts to put the female body back together. Schlock! is a journey through texts and voices pregnant with pleasure and pain, mothers and babies, domination and submission. This virtuosic solo performance rewires the defunct language of pop-erotica. In search of alternative models of sexuality, Silva brings to life the final years of radical feminist writer Kathy Acker - 'the high priestess of punk' - in an enthralling and atmospheric whirl of words.
Originally commissioned for Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, Schlock! premiered to an audience of 250+ at Snape Maltings before touring in England, Brazil and India, with the British Council. Produced by Penned in the Margins and funded by the Arts Council England.
Shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.
Hannah Silva's entrancing sound creations are designed to spring to life in her performances. Her work is often startling yet delicate. 'Total Man' shows Hannah's capacity to work easily with thoughts about sound through sound itself, as she generates her new music with its fresh echoes
In 1972 Stan Gooch published The Total Man, notes towards an evolutionary theory of personality. This extensive volume spans magic, religion, politics, art, morality and justice. Gooch argues that humans are descended from Neanderthals as well as cro-magnum, and that this accounts for our divided personalities... his theory leads him to argue, amongst many things, that Labour MPs have larger ears than Conservatives, and neurotics better night vision. Silva channels Gooch to weave a dark satire of speech, quotations and vocal play. Toured 2014. Commissioned by Penned in the Margins and Mercy as part of Electronic Voice Phenomena.
Photo by Eileen Long
A structurally daring and challenging production that reminds you how visceral and powerful live performance can be
The spartan text is conjured into shimmering gamelan lushness, interleaved layers pivoting about shared catchwords, superimposed, staggered, coalescing into riffs and refrains then diverging via counterpoint into cacophony
The boundaries and also the limitlessness of language are revealed in a confounding puzzle of Beckettian madness
Plays to See
Lyricism, language play and poetic physical performance combine in this visceral and intuitive portrait of the human psyche. A moving and complex tale of love, loss and letting go, written and directed by Hannah Silva. Cast: Stephanie Greer, Alan Humphreys and Elizabeth Crarer. Toured 2013, supported by the Arts Council England and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation.
Photo by Gary Wolff
A play for a large cast of teenage girls, developed through workshops as writer in residence for the Lady Eleanor Holles School. Orchid explores friendship, sexuality, and the teenagers' relationships with their phones.
I don't know I can't explain it, it's like, when I'm on my phone I'm safe, everything else disappears, it's like, I know who I am. It's really weird waking up without it on the pillow beside me.
Photo by Eileen Long
A one-woman embodiment of a political system in meltdown
Go to listen, marvel, participate. Go to be amazed. Just go
What's on Stage
Highly Recommended Show
The meaningless twaddle and jargon of modern political rhetoric gets ripped apart in this one-woman manifesto. No one is safe. Audiences become delegates at a party conference with a difference. Blair's bluster gets busted. Churchill butts in on Obama and Cameron's 'big society' gets sliced and diced with live twitter feeds, weather reports, rant and rhetoric. Toured 2011-2012. Funded by the Arts Council England.