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Amit Lahav in Institute. Photo by: John Ferguson

Gecko’s Institute to be broadcast in BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine series

First Published 9 July 2020, Last Updated 13 July 2020

The critically acclaimed Ipswich-based physical theatre company, Gecko will present a film version of its 2014 show Institute on BBC this month.

From its intoxicating worlds and uniquely beautiful scenes to its breathtaking choreography, Institute is a visually captivating and poetic examination of the way we nurture and care for ourselves and others. It explores the psychological impact of care in a highly-pressured modern life and asks, what does it mean to lose everything and everyone?

Created in collaboration with Illuminations, The Space and BBC Arts, the debut film will be broadcast on BBC Four on Sunday 19th July at 11:10pm BST as part of the BBC Arts Culture In Quarantine series.

Ryen Perkins-Gangnes in Institute. Photo by John Ferguson.

Director and performer Amit Lahav said:“This was an exhilarating experience from start to finish. There were many elements of the process relating to visual and aural storytelling which felt natural and instinctive to me, like the blocking and choreography of scenes for the camera and the screen play narrative, which required a different approach and different storytelling techniques to the stage production. Some theatrical sequences, which felt essential for the stage required an altogether different visual language; the scale and necessity of explosive physicality on stage could be found through a more internal, emotional expressiveness using close-up shots, reimagined choreography specific for screen and some clever editing.

“The camera movement and direction required a period of learning which I’ve been enveloped in over the last 5 years through various film projects and mentors. Understanding the emotionality of camera angles and movement and the camera’s expressive power has taken time to begin to understand. That said it has provided me with some thrilling added storytelling dynamism.

François Testory in Institute. Photo by John Ferguson

Choreographer and Gecko Patron Arlene Phillips CBE commented: “I first saw Gecko’s theatre production of Institute a number of years ago and yet you would think this film was specifically made as a comment on the disturbing times we have all been living through recently. Who is telling the truth and what is the truth?  In this extraordinary film, a cross between a dream and a nightmare, movement has a liquid beauty even when sharp and aggressive, and I found myself crying at the simple moments of hope we observe through the characters, wishing their troubles would all go away and that their lives would return to normality. It is a must-see film created by Amit’s strange but telling vision of the world around us.”

Catch Institute on BBC Four on Sunday 19th July at 11:10pm and if you can’t tune in then, you’ll be pleased to know that it will be available on BBC iPlayer for a further 30 days.

For more virtual theatre fixes, check out our online calendar here.

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