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The Isthmus Project

Sept 2013 - Feb 2014



noun: isthmus; plural noun: isthmuses; plural noun: isthmi

       1. a narrow strip of land with sea on either side, forming a link between two larger areas of land.

       2. Anatomy a narrow organ, passage, or piece of tissue connecting two larger parts.  


The name Isthmus Project came from a desire to connect those imaginative spaces to something tangible in the physical body.
I was awarded an emerging artists residency from the Canada Water Culture Space and got together 8 creatives from a variety of backgrounds (puppetry, movement, classical music and jazz) to explore collaborative making through improvisation. Within this cross-disciplinary collaboration we wanted to create links between bodies... 
Taking Cortazar's surrealist novel Hopscotch as a starting point to explore themes of heaven on earth, estrangement and entanglement, we worked on developing a messed-up melodrama, in which the audience was co-opted by a host to choose the fate of two possible protagonists.

- To create experimental, devised theatre that moves and resonates and where the fantastical, grotesque, and clown meets the perceived real

- To allow the performer/ creator to make from their own impulses, through play and improvisation

- To join up different practices in new collaborations

- To find in theatre a place where artist and audience commune



Written & Directed by Pip Hambly

Performed by Tunde James, Joanna Dahlgren, Johanne Lange, Zac Gvi, Teele Uustani, James Riordan

Community Bridges facilitator: Raquel Varela Pessoa

Marelle is the french word for the game 'hopscotch'. If the journey to heaven is a game of hopscotch, with each throw of a stone the journey changes and a new story is made.

But what if the fate of this story was already determined? Then the task for each of us here on earth is just to work out how this story goes.

Into this multiverse of possibilities, we place the fractured remnants of two families, caught in an infinite reflections of each other. 

Guided on this journey by the oceanic ruminations of Jacqueline le Poisson, and the joyful all-singing-all dancing Prawn Cocktail Chorus, the audience unpack the stories of Frank and Annie. In an evening of cabaret style theatre, the order of things is a matter of desire… all you have to do, is choose.

Music composed & arranged by Zac Gvirtzman, Johanne Lange & Joanna Dahlgran. Copyright of artists. 


Let The Circle


Alongside our research, we also ran a series of workshops with library users, introducing others to parts of our process and exploring other ways we could connect the work to the wider community.
The workshops explored:
- writing from dreams
- moving from dreams
- writing through movement
- creating ensemble

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