Tim Etchells (1962) is an artist and a writer based in Sheffield, UK. His work ranges from performance to video, photography, text projects, installation and fiction in a wide variety of contexts, notably as the leader of the world-renowned performance group Forced Entertainment and as an independent visual artist and writer of fiction. He has worked in collaboration with a range of visual artists, choreographers, and photographers including Meg Stuart, Boris Charmatz, Asta Groting, Wendy Houstoun, Elmgreen & Dragset, Philipp Gehmacher, Hugo Glendinning, Vlatka Horvat and many others.
In recent years Etchells has exhibited widely in the context of visual arts. With solo shows at Gasworks and Sketch (London), Künstlerhaus Bremen, Gallery Jakopic, Ljubljana and Bunkier Sztuki, Krakow. His work has appeared in the biennales Manifesta 7 in Rovereto (Italy, 2008), Art Sheffield (UK,2008), Goteborg Bienale (Germany, 2009), October Salon Belgrade (Sérvia, 2010), Aichi Trienale (Japan, 2010), with Vlatka Horvat, No Network. 1st Time Machine Biennale of Contemporary Art, Atomic shelter Konjic (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2011) and Manifesta 9 (Parallel Projects) (Italy, 2012).
Selected group shows include Version Control – Arnolfini, Bristol 2013, Acts of Voicing – Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Germany 2012 and Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea 2013, Family Matters: The Family in British Art at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery (2011), touring to Museums Sheffield and Tate Britain, Play Admont, Regional 10, Austria (2010), In Full Bloom at Galleria Raffaella Cortesa in Milan (2010), Sparwasser HQ (Berlin), MACBA (Barcelona), The Centre for Book Arts, Canada and Exit Art (all New York) and Kunsthaus Graz.
He co-curated and had new commissioned work in the Performing Sculpture section of the DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture, at Tate Liverpool (2009). Etchells two permanent site specific public sculpture commissions for Weston-Super-Mare in the UK, opened in Autumn 2010 and he was nominated for the Northern Art Prize in 2011 and 2012. His work is held in numerous private collections around the world.
Forced Entertainment is a performance group founded in 1984 and based in Sheffield. Etchells has led the group since its inception and has directed, devised, and occasionally performed in, dozens of critically acclaimed performance works that have been shown at major festivals and theatres around the world. Forced Entertainment has had a huge impact on the development of a uniquely British style of avant-garde performance and their work is now included as part of the theatrical canon to students studying contemporary performance. Taking a cue from their provocative name, Forced Entertainment’s work is often concerned with the mechanics of the live event – disrupting conventions and expectations associated with attending live performance.
Etchells directorial work with Forced Entertainment ranges from chaotic deconstructed theatre spectacles such as The Coming Storm (2012), The Thrill of it All (2010), Bloody Mess (2004) and First Night (2001), through more intimate and sometimes minimalist performances such as Tomorrow’s Parties (2011), The Travels (2002), Exquisite Pain (2005), the latter based on a text by the visual artist Sophie Calle. Under Etchells’ direction the group has developed a strand of extraordinary improvised durational performances lasting from 6 to 24 hours including Speak Bitterness (1994 – ongoing), Quizoola! (1996 – ongoing) and And on the Thousandth Night.. (2000 – ongoing).
Alongside his work with Forced Entertainment Etchells has pursued a number of high profile collaborations and independent projects in the performance arena. He wrote and directed That Night Follows Day (2008) a performance for 16 children aged 8-14, which was produced by Victoria, Gent, Belgium and which toured the world to wide acclaim. The text has since been produced in a range of international contexts with new productions in Cologne (Germany), Cork (Ireland), Vancouver (Canada) and Seattle (USA) as well as rehearsed readings in several UK and European contexts produced by Etchells through Forced Entertainment.
His monologue Sight Is The Sense, performed by Jim Fletcher and his solo in pieces made with the world renowned Rosas dancer Fumiyo Ikeda have both toured far and wide. His site-specific collaboration with Ant Hampton The Quiet Volume (interactive performance for two audience members) opened in 2010 and has been presented in public libraries in numerous international contexts (often in native-language versions) including presentations in Berlin, Gent, Lisbon, Buenos Aires, Warsaw, London, Sydney and Bombay. In 2011 he wrote and directed a new solo for the New Zealand born, Brussels-based performance maker and dancer Kate McIntosh, titled Although We Fell Short and comissioned by Kaaitheater & Siemens Stiftung.
Etchells has developed a unique voice in writing for and about performance – his monograph Certain Fragments (Forced Entertainment and Contemporary Performance), (Routledge 1999) is widely acclaimed and his work has been featured in numerous anthologies exploring ideas and practice at the cutting edge of contemporary theatre.
Over the years Etchells has also published a range of fiction; much of it exploring experimental approaches to language and narrative, from Endland Stories (Pulp Books 1998) and The Dream Dictionary (for the Modern Dreamer) (Duck Editions, 2000) to his first novel – The Broken World (Heinemann, 2008) – which takes the form of a guide to an imaginary computer game. German editions of these and other of Etchells’ works have been published by Diaphanes (Berlin/Zurich). His 2011 online project Vacuum Days was published as an artists book by Storythings in 2012. His work While You Are With Us Tonight arising from a Tate Research/ LADA Thinker in Residence Award was published by LADA in 2013.
Etchells graduated from ExeterUniversity in 1984 with a 1st Class degree in English & Drama. He has subsequently taught, lectured and run workshops around the world at many of the key institutions dedicated to contemporary performance: Centre for Performance Research, Cardiff, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU and Cooper Union, New York, and Das Arts Amsterdam. Recent keynotes include Beyond Curating: Knowledge Transfer in Theatre, Dance and Visual Art at PACT Zollverein in Essen (Germany, January 2011) and Keynote Conversation Transmediale 11 in Berlin (Germany, February 2011). He was a Keynote speaker at Live Culture, Tate Modern (UK, London 2003). In collaboration with Adrian Heathfield he has framed and curated a number of ambitious live events which aim to explore the meeting points and tensions between artistic practice and academic discourse, often focusing on questions of dialogue. These include Marathon Lexicon (2003 and ongoing) and The Frequently Asked – 10 hour dialogue-performance project conceived and curated with Adrian Heathfield with invited guests (artists, academics, philosophers), (2007).
Etchells was a Senior Research Fellow at The Nottingham Trent University (2000 – 2001), took part in the IASPIS Studio Programme, Stockholm (2003), and was a Creative Fellow in the Department of Theatre Studies at LancasterUniversity, 2005 – 2008. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Dartington College of Arts, in recognition of his writing for and about contemporary performance. He was currently Legacy: Thinker in Residence (2009-2010) at Tate Research and LADA in London, Visiting Honorary Professor, School of Arts, Roehampton University (2010-2012) and Visiting Professor – Performance Studies University Hamburg (2010/2011). Etchells was guest curator of Exodos Festival in Ljubljana April 2013 and is curating After a War, a season of performances exploring the legacy of World War One as part of LIFT Festival in 2014. In 2015 Etchells will guest-curate a programme in the Malta Festival, Poznan, Poland. In January 2013 Etchells was appointed Professor of Performance at LancasterUniversity.
Artistic Director Tim Etchells
Performers Robin Arthur, Richard Lowdon, Claire Marshall, Cathy Naden
Designer Richard Lowdon
General Manager Eileen Evans
Production Manager Jim Harrison
Administrative Assistant Natalie Simpson
Board of Directors Frances Babbage, Deborah Chadbourn, Adrian Friedli, Martin Harvey, Annie Lloyd, Simon Shibli (Chair)
Associates & Collaborators
Music & Sound John Avery
Lighting Design Nigel Edwards
Digital Projects Mary Agnes Krell
Photography Hugo Glendinning
Production Elb Hall
Performers Thomas Conway, Davis Freeman, Amit Hadari, Wendy Houstoun, Jerry Killick, Phil Hayes, Bruno Roubicek, John Rowley
Forced Entertainment receives regular funding from Arts Council England to create and tour work in the UK and overseas.
CHRONOLOGY IN LISBON
28TH NOVEMBER 1999
16TH JULY 2011
FESTIVAL DANÇAS NA CIDADE, GALERIA ZDB
TEATRO MARIA MATOS , FORUM LISBOA
AND ON THE THOUSANDTH NIGHT
2ND FEBRUARY 2002
THE WORLD IN PICTURES
12TH AND 13TH JUNE 2006 – WORLD PREMIÉRE
ALKANTARA FESTIVAL, TEATRO SÃO LUIZ
14TH AND 15TH JUNE 2006
ALKANTARA FESTIVAL,TEATRO SÃO LUIZ – TEATRO MÁRIO VIEGAS
TIM ETCHELLS & VICTORIA
THAT NIGTH FOLLOWS DAY (QUE DEPOIS DO DIA VEM A NOITE)
22ND TO 29TH NOVEMBER 2008
9TH AND 10TH OCTOBER 2009
TRAMA – FESTIVAL DE ARTES PERFORMATIVAS (AUDITÓRIO DO MUSEU DE SERRALVES, PORTO)
TIM ETCHELLS & FUMYIO IKEDA
20TH AND 21ST APRIL 2010
TEATRO MARIA MATOS
MUNDO PERFEITO (TEXT TIM ETCHELLS)
22ND TO 24TH OCTOBER 2010
TEATRO MARIA MATOS
(EDIÇÃO FINAL TIM ETCHELLS)
SCHWALBE CHEATS SCHWALBE
28TH AND 29TH MAY 2012
ALKANTARA FESTIVAL, TEATRO MARIA MATOS