A disused Welsh Chapel built in 1888 by James Cubitt (who also designed Islington’s Union Chapel) on Shaftesbury Avenue, the site of the Limelight nightclub in the 80’s before it entered a brief downturn as part of the pub chain Walkabout in the 90’s, is now being redeveloped as a performance venue by newly created arts organisation Stone Nest. The charity, which has been put in charge of running the building by an intriguingly ‘unnamed’ philanthropist who purchased the site in 2011, has said it wants to produce “highly visual work” that will “resonate with this unique space in spirit and form”. The space is being opened temporarily to host a performance from dance group New Movement Collective, a group of choreographer/performers mainly made up of ex-Rambert dancers who is presenting a new site-specific work in July. This performance should be a taster of what’s to come.
According to Hannah Myers, a producer for Stone Nest, “The building was bought by a philanthropist with the vision that it might be developed into an arts space. We have established a charity, Stone Nest, to work towards that vision.”
She added: “If it all goes to plan, then maybe in a couple of years we will open a performance space here. One thing we know about this space, the Welsh chapel, is that any artistic work that comes in needs to be really sensitive to it, and resonate with it in some way.”
Myers explained that NMC – which last year performed a piece called Casting Traces in a former dairy – has been commissioned to produce a piece for the Shaftesbury Avenue venue because the group has “an extraordinary appreciation for architecture”.
Entitled Nest, and inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey, NMC’s piece will feature ten dancers, including former Rambert members Jonathan Goddard and Gemma Nixon. Nest is designed as a promenade performance that will let audiences explore the atmospheric building, guided by a mixture of dance, live music, animation and interactive light technology.
16, 23, 24 July 7pm
17 – 21 July 7pm and 9pm
136 Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1D 5EZ
The images above are all © Laurent Liotardo
Words by Anna Bang
Tagsanna bang, Gemma Nixon, James Cubitt, Jonathan Goddard, Limelight, Nest, New Movement Collective, Stone Nest,