Can you help me make a movement choir?

Convener(s): Julia (Jools) Voce

Participants: Samual Wood, Lewis Barfoot, Nell Bailey, Henrietta Leyser, Jennifer Tan, Liz Porter, Anna Porubcansky, Lauren Rowley, Gloria Lindh

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Song as a great warmer- of a space, a group, an individual. Group singing is powerful in it’s possibility for inclusion.

Nell uses it in her work with community theatre participants to great effect- she teaches us two of the songs she uses- an aboriginal sun salute and a tribal warrior song. Both have movements- we are a movement choir! 

SING UP run workshops to teach people how to teach songs- Nell has trained with SING UP.

We are now seven and we move to an outside breakout space so we can let our voices go. The difference is  ‘’from Julie Andrews to warrior’’ the sound coming from a different place in our bodies. 

This leads to a discussion about the sound of pure emotion and how that can surprise the person from whom it is issued- a laugh  or cry that is so pure, unconsidered, raw and often shocking or surprising- and even widely (in the west at least) socially unacceptable. As creators, can we find this sound, shape it and bring it to an audience?

Some people that do:

  • Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs- (interestingly she puts something over her head when she does it)
  • Oswaldo’s Sound Instillation
  • Lewis Barfoot’s One Thousand Voices (unclear at time of writing if this is a performance piece or personal development)
  • Sharon Chandra
  • Irish ‘keeners’
  • Bulgarian song
  • Otis Redding 

We go on to talk about the universality of sounds and rhythms and how we can bring these to an audience transcending language barriers.

Do lulabys have a heartbeat rhythm to them,  what are the beats in dance music, how is a lament the song that carries the soul to the efter-life/heaven-across the threshold?

Is that why we seek out song?.

There is a book called- music, how it works and why we can live without it- has it got a section about song?

Singing together has been popular in the theater since music hall- there are often actions- a moving audience choir! Pantomime has this sing song singing element too.



  • Sing more
  • encourage more singing
  • share song
  • make singing accessible
  • capture raw emotion and allow people to access that in theatre- process or performance
  • sing sing sing