OUR STUDIO COMMUNITY
At CLAY we have a blossoming community who have made a base here through our membership programme. There are 12 artists and companies who subscribe to studio space here with a wide range of practices focused around liveness.
Our studios are currently all occupied and brimming with collaboration and development. We are grateful to house a wonderful family of practitioners, scroll down to find out more about them!
Dancer, Performer, Artist, Producer
Lydia is a dancer based in Leeds that creates multi-disciplinary performance.
She makes performance, curates, produces, writes and interrogates culture and technology through her work. She also spends a lot of time on the internet.
Her practice is informed by a background in dance, live art and music. This has led her to create work that provides a social commentary and contains elements from altered disciplines.
Her main areas of research focus on the Performance of Self in online spaces and she is currently experimenting with ways of appropriating digital and mobile technologies to create intimate performance experiences.
Performance, Pro-wrestling and Drag
Hannah Lawless: by day an NHS nurse and by night a professional wrestler, drag king and performance artist. They use wrestling on cabaret and digital stages to make satirical, political and queer performance. Whilst counterbalancing the intensity of their job with the silliness of their art, they carry that tension through to their process, juxtaposing potent messages with ridiculous and camp. By framing wrestling in a Live Art context they politicise violence in a literal call to action whilst contradicting it with an irreverent tone.
“Wrestling is essentially drag: a physical performance with elaborate costumes, storytelling and characters. Wrestling is always good guy vs bad guy- and it is almost always guys.”
Lawless started wrestling as concepts (Brexit, the patriarchy, Karen) because wrestling is an absurd way to explore cultural discourse (why did we vote Leave, why do white women behave in this way?) with humour and spectacular delivery.
Their work enables the audience to participate in exploring rage: how it’s expressed and who’s allowed to do so. They make space for the pro wrestling trope encouraging spectators to scream, boo and cheer. The audience has a voice and their role in the piece is vital, they can make or break a performance. Lawless wants people to scream about injustice, Covid, the inequalities in our society because it’s cathartic, good for mental health, and particularly important in the context of the pandemic as people are angry and isolated.
At a Hannah Lawless show expect to cheer, boo, and dive deep into the issues via pro wrestling – the ultimate form of queer physical theatre.
The Grief Series
Performance, Design, Photography, Installation and Sculpture
The Grief Series is a sequence of seven projects by Leeds-based artist Ellie Harrison. Each instalment is a collaboration with another artist working in a different field including performance, design, photography, installation and sculpture. The Grief Series is multi-sensory with audiences being engaged as participants and co-creators. Informed by rigorous research with academics, clinicians and the public, the series aims to create safe spaces where notions of grief and bereavement can be discussed and expressed openly through a range of empowering creative practice.
Ellie Harrison is a performance maker and artist living in Leeds and working internationally. She creates a range of solo and collaborative devised performance work for studios, galleries, found and public spaces. Participation is at the heart of all of her work as a performer, facilitator and mentor of young people. Her work is often characterised by a playful and provocative approach to difficult topics, encouraging audiences to make decisions and participate. In 2015 Ellie won A Love Arts award for her work on The Grief Series. Working on Grief Series has seen Ellie travel to Prague, Paris, Mexico City, Sibiu Festival and Timisoara Romania. The Projects in The Grief Series have gained national press attention. She has been invited to speak on Radio 4's Women’s Hour and has been included in Lynn Gardner’s theatre pick of the year.
Theatre Director and Writer
Tess is a theatre director and writer. She makes socially engaged, convention breaking shows that blend the personal with the political.
Tess is the Artistic Director of TheatreState. TheatreState is currently working in association with Leeds Playhouse on Say Yes to Tess – A New Musical about Tess’ experience of standing in the 2017 general election. Previous shows include Git (The Yard), The Fanny Hill Project (National Tour), On the Benefits of Being a Troll (The Yard and Camden People’s Theatre) and Tribute Acts (National Tour).
Tess's other directing credits include Mirror Mirror (National Theatre Online) Pomona (LAMDA), The Things We Wouldn’t Otherwise Find (Leeds Playhouse) and How to Fly Like a Reindeer (The Herd and Hull Truck).
Tess was Resident Trainee Director at Leeds Playhouse and has worked with theatre companies in London, New York, Madrid, Moscow and Berlin. Tess created and led writer and director development for Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and Hull Truck. Tess is passionate about working with young people and communities. She is the director of the National Theatre’s New Views playwrighting program regional hubs at Leeds Playhouse and Theatre Royal Wakefield and has directed young company shows for Southwark Playhouse, Leeds Playhouse, Almeida and Young Vic.
Theatre Set Designer & Builder
I am a Set & Prop designer and maker of over 20 years standing in the industry. I have an extensive CV of scenic design credits working on a wide variety of projects ranging from, traditional box sets, dance performance, mid-scale touring productions, TIE, puppetry, festival work, outdoor promenade performance and multi-media projects. Working with many companies local to Yorkshire, nationally and further afield.
Based at CLAY in Leeds, where along with the scenic and prop work, I create bespoke furniture and crafts for people of Yorkshire and beyond. I have a special interest in working with reclaimed materials, hacking and upcycling old unloved furniture into new and desirable pieces for the home and garden.
samOne samTwo are an artist couplet that sometimes create postural languages out of unintentional photographic portraits; private and public…forgotten and found. These photos act like vehicles around the eyes in the world and back and forth and back; in time and location. Who are you looking at?