Cannonballista: Finding your inner Superhero

We asked live artist Liz Clarke to tell us about her work and her superhero alter ego, in advance of her explosive new show, Cannonballista.

Cannonballista is a show about grief, coping mechanisms and superhero alter egos! It brings together sheds, cannons and ridiculously high heels in a way that I’m pretty certain has never been seen before!

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Cannonballista has been a long while in the making and has been inspired by many things along the way. The show is an unhinged celebration of our struggles and triumphs and the things we do to get us through. Meet Betty Bruiser – the ‘One woman husband and wife team’ She’s a human cannonballer and my alter ego.

She’s on course for the biggest jump of her career, perhaps thebiggest of all time. She has gathered the elite audience togetherfor this very show! She’ll let you know all about her glittering career, her brushes with death and her big plans for Liz (that’s me). She doesn’t do small talk, doesn’t have time for grieving and has a penchant for blue lamé.

Betty is of course a metaphor (Shhhhh! Don’t tell her!) for the inner strength that lies inside all of us; something I have been very privileged to witness in my work with women over the past fifteen years. Through sharing my performance processes and facilitating people to explore their strengths through performance anddevising; I have heard untold bravery, determination and courage.

These ‘ordinary women living extraordinary lives’ inspired me to explore further, through various artworks including a graphic novel featuring some of these glorious characters and a programme of workshops dedicated to findingpeoples’ super hero alter ego.

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Cannonballista reflects upon my own dealings with grief and how this changes over time, how we reconcile different parts ofourselves as we age. Betty thinks that is all really tedious and so is never far away to add her own anarchic spin on things, and to make sure the audience focus on the important things in life; namely HER!

The process of making this work has been an unusual one for me and one where I have learned a great deal. Working with director Holly Stoppit has been a joyful and unique experience. We first got together at the beginning of the year and have been developing the piece in short bursts since then. This way of working; and our whole approach to the project has been an exercise in self care. Making the work to fit in with my parenting, and reflecting uponhow this whole ‘Art -Making’ thing can sit within a balanced life; I have been able to make interesting choices about the work. Dealing with such sensitive material this approach has been extremely beneficial.

To accompany the show and with the generous support of Bristol City Council and Quartet Community Foundation I am running workshops for women with and without experience of mental heath issues who would like to discover their own Super Hero Alter Ego.

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The workshops are especially suitable for people who would like to develop or return to their performance practice.

Open workshop:
10 & 11 November 2017, 10am – 4pm
The Brunswick Club, Bristol
Tickets £20 / £17 – book here

Please email [email protected] for more info about the workshop.

Show details:
21 October 2017, 8pm
The Brunswick Club, Bristol
Tickets: £10 / £8 – book here