For one week only, Birds of Paradise Theatre Company will screen a new film work featuring the astonishing Portuguese disabled dancer Diana Niepce which was made across the latter stages of the pandemic. Orbits is a film about how we feel and what we experience when we lose something we have been in orbit or relationship with. It considers how does this change affect our experience of ourselves.
Orbits began as a collaboration between the artists in early 2021 and was filmed by Hugo Glendinning in Lisbon in December 2022. It features an evocative soundtrack throughout, created by musician and composer Scott Twynholm.
The film is a departure from the usual theatre work created by Birds of Paradise having no text or spoken word but it embodies the company’s artistic vision where disabled artists are recognised for the excellence of their work and celebrated for the stories they bring to the stage. As BOP enters its 30th year the company is pushing into new territories of practice and presentation to impact further on the diversity of the wider cultural landscape.
Director Rachel Drazek comments “It is an ensemble exploration of relationality – of who and what we are in relationship with; are in orbit with. Further, what happens when we fall out of that Orbit. How far will we go to feel ‘in their orbit’ again and what fragmentation occurs in this out-of-relation place – is it just loneliness, this dislocation from the other? In these orbits that the self moves within, relationships that continue to revolve, there is an inevitable meeting of oneself. A layering of self, of being, of skin, with more time. Like rock.”
The film explores how our lived experiences change as our lives progress and how we experience different versions of self that can still feel present even though they are ‘in the past’. Orbits is a meditation on life, love and loss and the journeys we all take.
BOP dedicates this film to the memory of our friend and collaborator Pete Edwards who set off on the exploration with us but sadly passed away in 2022 and was not able to complete the journey. Pete was a disabled artist whose practice spanned acting, writing, and devising – he worked with BOP on our five-star production Purposeless Movement in 2016 and for its re- staging at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2019.
BOP is thrilled to be working in new forms and taking out work to new venues and audiences. The pandemic forced us to find new ways of working which has opened up possibilities for us and the artists we work with.
BOP’s Executive Director, Mairi Taylor says “Orbits has been a challenging, delightful and immense project for the company to engage in. From working remotely through the pandemic to coordinating a way to safely come together, Orbits was an epic experience. We are hugely thankful to the whole team and the dedication they have shown the project – this shows through the beauty of the final work. We are incredibly excited that we can bring the work of the company to new audiences through expanding forms and venues such as Fruitmarket, Edinburgh.”
Birds of Paradise Theatre Company is Scotland’s leading touring theatre company employing disabled and non-disabled actors. Established in 1993, BOP became disability led in 2012 and now focuses on delivering work across BOP Theatre, BOP Development and BOP Strategy
strands to have the widest impact locally and internationally. The company’s work is world- renowned for its approach to designing access into all its productions and in developing work that addresses societal themes around disability with honesty, integrity and humour.