- Liz Gre
- Royal Shakespeare Company
- Arts Council England
400 years after Shakespeare’s First Folio was published, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) partnered with Arts&Heritage and artist Liz Gre to examine the 1623 collection of comedies, tragedies and histories from the perspectives of refugees living in Stratford-upon-Avon today.
Artist, composer and performer, Liz Gre, worked with women from Syria, Palestine, Kurdistan and Sudan to co-produce a new sound and film installation, called ثلاثة خيوط ذهبية (Three Gold Threads), which is currently on show in the RSC’s The Play’s The Thing exhibition, until April 2024.
Acting Artistic Director at the RSC, Erica Whyman, explained:
“Three Gold Threads is part of our 2023 season which centres on the theme of power: who holds it, who should, how does it change human beings, how might power shift and what could be transformed in our world as a result?
“400 years on from when the First Folio was published, it’s time we take a look at the plays within it in a new way and from new perspectives. Shakespeare himself was fascinated by how power is apportioned according to race, gender, class and birth right and I hope that this new work will help redress previous imbalances of power and democratise the stories we hold here, which belong to everybody.”
Liz Gre used workshops, interviews and storytelling to help a group of nine women share stories of the dramas, histories and tragedies in their own lives. The voices and stories were woven together, resulting in a new composition inspired by the First Folio and presenting its themes from the perspectives of the women.
“I wanted to use the First Folio to highlight the stories of people living near the RSC now, from everyday occurrences through to monumental stories of making a life in a new place, I hope the women who have co-created this work with me feel seen and feel connected with the place they now live, and that what we’ve produced honours and protects their words.” – Liz Gre
A community leader said:
“It was a wonderful opportunity for the women and their families to be together and enjoy the hospitality and fun. These events have been so important for creating a wider sense of community and allowing the families to feel involved.”
The RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, where ثلاثة خيوط ذهبية (Three Gold Threads) is on show, is home to an accredited museum housing one of the most significant Shakespeare and theatre collections in the world, including costume, paintings and archival materials such as photographs, posters, programmes, production records, promptbooks, music scores and rare books.
The project is part of Arts&Heritage’s Meeting Point programme. Four cultural organisations – the RSC, National Trust and YHA, and Museum X – have taken part in a year-long artist-led research project to explore how artists can expand our understanding of heritage.
ثلاثة خيوط ذهبية (Three Gold Threads) is currently on show at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, until April 2024. Admission is free. More details are available at www.rsc.org.uk.
A&H commissioned the filmmaker Pascal Vossen to work with Liz Gre on a ‘making of film’ for ثلاثة خيوط ذهبية (Three Gold Threads), capturing the artist’s process.
Contemporary art magazine, This Is Tomorrow, invited Amah-Rose Abrams to write a text on ثلاثة خيوط ذهبية (Three Gold Threads):
“This collaborative way of working is key to Gre’s practice. They seek to disrupt the hierarchy of the artist-led workshop processes without sacrificing the quality of the art that is made in this process. In melding the role of artist, performer and creative leader Gre creates truly moving works that speak to a truth in their creation and response.” – Amah-Rose Abrams
Amah-Rose Abrams is an arts and culture journalist based in London. Working in features, market and criticism she has contributed to The Art Newspaper, artnet News, Time Out, Harpers Bazaar Art, Dazed and Confused and T Magazine at the NYT.
The Royal Shakespeare Company creates world class theatre, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning an exceptionally wide range of original work from contemporary writers. Its purpose is to ensure that Shakespeare is for everyone, by unlocking the power of Shakespeare’s plays and of live performance, throughout the UK and across the world.
Liz Gre (née Lassiter), b. 1991, is a composer and vocalist writing genre-less compositions with Black Women for Black Women. Her practice is rooted in storytelling and the viscerality of the imaginary. She is currently, a PhD student at City, University of London studying how ethnographic composition can best answer questions around the Black Woman immigrant/ex-pat/trans-national identity.
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