Jennifer Essex

Choreographer, performer, and teacher. Co-artistic director of Fully Booked Theatre, which creates interactive dance theatre performances for children.

Jennifer Essex works as a choreographer, dancer, and teacher on projects across the UK and internationally. Her choreography for award winning visual artist Corin Sworn was shown at the Whitechapel Gallery as part of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. She has developed movement for innovative projects including a stop-motion film for French fashion house Hermes, an interactive video with the award-winning team from Studio Murmur, and a “choreophonic prosthetic” with high tech designer Di Mainstone. Her work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Arts Council England, Dance City, Middlesbrough Council, Stockton international riverside Festival, and Pavilion Dance. She is a 2015-2016 BENCH fellow. Jennifer has performed in the feature films Anna Karenina and Les Miserables and in adverts for Hermes and Honda as well as in works by world-renown choreographers including Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Liam Steel, and Luca Silvestrini.

Current research includes developing projects that use technology to develop inclusive and interactive experiences and exploring at how new technology affects social interactions. In her work REPLICAS she has been experimenting with multiple Twitter feeds and sending text messages in real time to audiences throughout the live performance to see how different mediums can convey separate sets of information and how these can provide emotional counterpoint to the action onstage. REPLICAS premiered at the Stockton International Riverside Festival and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art in the summer of 2016.

Jennifer is currently touring an interactive dance theatre work for children, Space Rebel Princess, through a commission from Dance City and Middlesbrough Council. The work has received support from Tees Valley Dance, Includ Fest, Spare Parts Festival, and Young Fest and toured across the UK.

In 2019 she received an Arts Council England grant to develop Once Upon A Wall, with further commissioning support from Middlesbrough Council and Stockton International Riverside Festival. An inclusive, interactive work for children and families it will tour to festivals across the UK.

Jennifer also has a special interest in sound and music as they relate to the choreographic process. She was selected as one of four artists in residence at he National Choreographic Centre to explore collaborative process between choreographers and composers under the mentorship of Kim Brandstrup.

Jennifer has created a pilot programme of dance classes for people living with dementia which has been supported by Age UK Darlington and Tees Valley Dance. Jennifer was recently an artist in residence with Age Concern Central Lancashire where she worked in care homes with people living with dementia. The series of films developed through the project have now been screened at the Museum of Lancashire, as well as internationally in Athens, India, and in London at the Free Word Centre and Trip Space. She has spoken about the critical and theoretical aspects of arts in dementia care at the Annual General Meeting of Age UK Central Lancashire, at the Free Words Centre in London, Festival of Learning at Teesside University, Pint of Science, Lighting the Fuse: better engagement in public health through arts & media (Fuse, the Centre for Transnational Research in Public Health), and Older Persons Day at National Dance Agency, Dance City Well-Being Conference 2016, and as part of the Aging Well Festival in Torquay. She is currently working with Helix Arts on their project for older dancers: Falling on Your Feet.

Jennifer is the Artistic Director of Fully Booked Theatre, a company creating interactive dance theatre for children and families. www.fullybookedtheatre.com 

Jennifer also performs with award-winning Tmesis Theatre, Liverpool, currently touring Beyond Belief http://tmesistheatre.com

She is a Senior Lecturer in Dance and Performance

Portfolio

Space Rebel Princess

A fearless young princess raised for royalty but not for rocketry, dreams of becoming Uppity Chuck’s first astronaut.

Outsmarting the confines of her palace upbringing, and with the help of the audience, the princess must break free of the fear that holds her back, and boldly go where no princess has gone before!

Inspired by the likes of the first British astronaut, Helen Sharman, engineers and flight controllers throughout the world of space science, who have ignited curiosity and passion in successive generations of young people to pursue science and engineering, Space Rebel Princess seeks to empower young people and to inspire in them a life-long love of stories.

• For children 5-9 and families • Collaborative with audience participation: – Decipher alien messages! – Assemble a giant rocket! – Float with the princess in zero gravity! – Save the world!

Children get involved, helping the princess to achieve her mission as she constructs her first ever rocketship in a land where reading and writing has been outlawed…

This is a small-scale work focuses on innovative audience engagement and adventure. Space Rebel Princess combines clowning, physical theatre, dance, craft and poetry to create a piece of joyful, genre-bending performance. Suitable for indoor and outdoor spaces Runtime: Approximately 25 minutes www.fullybookedtheatre.com

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Once Upon a Wall

Join Hum-T on her fast-paced dancing adventure through the streets of Lost Sandwiches. Build a giant wall, throw down some signature moves, and watch one very large egg scramble to the top! Kids and adults alike join in the fun on the egg-venture of a lifetime, becoming hoofed horses, hip-hopping with the Royal Rebels and helping an egg to see the sunny side of life. Commissioned by Stockton International Riverside Festival and Middlesbrough Council and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England www.fullybookedtheatre.com

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