‘What Am I Worth?’ The Making of: A blog post by Jamie Beddard

Co-Artistic Director of Diverse City, and Extraordinary Bodies Artist & Creative Team member Jamie Beddard has written a beautifully considered piece that finds parallels between Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp and the making of ‘What Am I Worth?’

“The hangars of Newbury 101 are a hive of activity, as Extraordinary Bodies continue the journey and development of their latest show. The backdrop of the former Greenham Common airbase provides an evocative setting for the continuing exploration of ‘What Am I Worth?’. Where once nuclear apparatus were housed, now a huge revolving circus rig dominates. The protests of the women’s disarmament camps of the 1980s, echo in a modern context of human value, and whilst gratifying that military paraphernalia has been replaced by circus rigs, the battles for humanity, justice and equality remain as prescient as ever. Devaluing, enslaving and fostering fear merely changes spots, as long as those in power continue to protect and grow their interests. Through our creative explorations and devising process, Extraordinary Bodies has been exploring the way people feel valued or not. What is clear is the artificially created matrix of value ordained by policy makers and elites bear little resemblance to real and embodied sense of worth. We are continually filling out forms, being assessed, justifying our crumbs whilst the cake is getting ever bigger. Worth cannot be a paper exercise but is rather around connection, community and compassion. We are greater than the sum of our parts. The narrative of austerity is reliant on competition rather than collaboration, scapegoating the other and pulling up the drawbridges. Circus is an antidote to this narrative. We need to collaborate in order to be safe and make spectacle. Individuals can only shine because of each other, rather than in spite of each other. We hope Extraordinary Bodies is this collective ensemble in which everyone brings their unique talents to the party, but the party can only exist if everyone’s there. And this particular show, these values, are starkly contrasted to those falling from above. As with the women of Greenham Common, we are trying to reimagine a world in which we can take care of each other, we can value each other and we can create something great together.”

Photo by Paul Blakemore