Phil Smith Phil Smith The Crab Man

I come from a background in performance and music theatre, working as a writer and dramaturg, creating over 100 performed plays and libretti with companies that have included TNT (Munich), St Petersburg State Comedy Theatre, Opera North and, most recently, New Perspectives (Nottingham) and Part Exchange (for the Hidden City Festival in Plymouth, 2008). From site-specific performance-making with Wrights & Sites, my main focus is to explore the possibilities of walking as an inspiration for performance and as a performance practice in its own right. I have written and performed companion pieces on my walking, The Crab Walks (2004) and Crab Steps Aside (2005), in South Devon beach huts, lidos, tea shops and other unconventional settings, with directorial assistance from Anjali Jay and Sue Palmer, and with accompanying mythogeographic maps and cards by visual artist Tony Weaver. The texts of these two shows are due to be published by Intellect in Summer 2009. In 2007 I organised the Mobile Machinoeki project in Teignbridge, performing with Anoushka Athique and Katie Etheridge, and in 2008 followed this up with the Fabulous Walks working with 7 South Devon-based artists. With Wrights & Sites I have been curating walking-city-based festivals of work in Vienna (2007) and Fribourg (2008). I also created walk/performances for the National Trust's property at A la Ronde in 2008 (A Man About The House with Simon Persighetti) and a Royal William Yard Twalk for Hidden City. With mathematician Matthew Watkins I created for the British Association Festival of Science 2004 a performance/walk entitled The Gap (an accompanying permanent sculpture made by Tony Weaver is now installed in the University of Exeter's School of Physics) based on the ideas and life of geometer William Kingdon Clifford.

There is an account of the autobiographical aspects of Phil's South Devon walking performances in Deirdre Heddon's 'Autobiography and Performance' (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) pages 105-111.

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Walking, Writing and Performance - new book published / Thu 27 Aug 2009

A new book including Phil Smith's Crab Walks scripts (performed in South Devon) and an extended essay on walking and performance has just been published. The book is called Walking, Writing and Performance (Autobiographi...

Gardens Always Mean Something Else / Tue 02 Jun 2009

Phil Smith will be performing ‘Gardens Always Mean Something Else’, the last of three wandering performances made over the last three years at A la Ronde, the National Trust’s sixteen-sided property near Exmouth. In the ...

sculpture installed / Mon 12 Jan 2009

Tony Weaver's sculpture celebrating the life and work of 19th century Starcross born mathematician William Kingdon Clifford has been installed at the School of Physics, Exeter University. The sculpture was originally cre...