Back to All Events

Project Godie with Surface Area Theatre - United Kingdom

Vangeline is thrilled to collaborate with Surface Area Theater (UK) on Project Godie this August 2016.

Project Godie: All Saint's Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2016.

Photography by Aaron Guy
Staging/choreography by Vangeline
Costume design and creation by Katerina Dipla

Dance artists, from left to right; Nicole Vivien Watson, Molly Procter and Vangeline.

Co - produced by SurfaceArea DanceTheatre and Adam Denton

This is the first Japanese monument erected in Great Britain”

(Japan and the North East of England, From 1862 to the Present Day, Marie Conte-Helm, First published 1989 by the Althone Press Ltd)

Project Godie:

Friday 12 Aug at 8:00pm and Saturday 13 Aug at 8:00pm


All Saints' Church - Lower Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3UF

Tickets cost £8 (full) and £6 (concession).

Buy Tickets Here :

'Dance of darkness' sheds light on Anglo-Japanese heritage

June 2016

A new project is drawing on global influences to bring to life the shared industrial, military and cultural heritage of the North East and Japan.

Project Godie is a multi platform heritage program that will take audiences on a journey through Anglo-Japanese history, celebrating the North East's strong links with Japan through dance, music, film and literature.

The program will launch in Newcastle on Friday 12 August with a performance that places the dark Japanese art of butoh at its heart - which is why producers went straight to the heart of butoh to inform their work.

Commissioning critically-acclaimed butoh artist, Vangeline ("Captivating" New York Times), and having had the opportunity to spend time with late butoh co-founder, Kazuo Ohno, Nicole Vivien Watson, Creative Director of Newcastle-based Surface Area Dance Theatre Company (SADTC) has prepared a solid training ground for her company's first butoh performance.

Alongside co-producer Adam Denton (who will also be providing the audio aspect through sonic performance duo Trans/Human), Nicole is giving focus to the political dimension of butoh, which will now be used as a vehicle to delve into a forgotten chapter of industrial history on Tyneside and its contribution to international military action.

Nicole said: "It is widely acknowledged that the region has experienced cultural and commercial exchanges with Japan, the beginnings of which can be found geographically on the banks of the River Tyne in Elswick through its shipbuilding heritage. And the legacy we see today is the region's strong business relations with Japan".

In fact, as Nicole and Adam discovered, the Japanese legacy is also captured in stone - as the graves of five Japanese nationals still lie today in St John's cemetery in Newcastle.

Nicole continued: "Through our research, we also discovered that it wasn't just those working in the shipbuilding industry who experienced life in the region during that time. Tannaker's Japanese was an acrobatic troupe who brought their version of Japanese culture to the North East in the 1870s - so these cultural, industrial and military exchanges were happening simultaneously, which is why we wanted to bring that history to life through performance."

Tannaker's Japanese and their tour of the North East was in fact the inspiration for the project's name. 'Little Godie', the baby son of two of the performers who sadly passed away aged just 15 months, is buried just over ten miles away from the five Newcastle graves in neighbouring Sunderland."

Adam said: "The fact that there was so much cultural exchange taking place is something we want to share with audiences today, investigating a heritage that is relevant but sadly long-forgotten."

Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Project Godie will take a multi-disciplinary approach, opening with a butoh performance, improv sonic performance, archive exhibits, writing and an interactive website to encourage community engagement. Additionally, community groups Search and St James Culture and Heritage Centre in the Elswick area of Newcastle will also take part in a range of events including writing and movement workshops, and activities at the local Scotswood Natural Community Garden.

The performances will take place on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 August at All Saints' Church on Lower Pilgrim Street in Newcastle. Tickets cost £8 (full) and £6 (concession).

For further information and details on how to book, visit


  • Surface Area Dance Theatre CIC resides at Dance City, Newcastle upon Tyne - UK and operates throughout the wider region. Led by Creative Director Nicole Vivien Watson, the company has also taken work to international audiences, having performed in Greece, Norway and New York.


  • Adam Denton is a trans-disciplinary musician researcher and facilitator. These combined activities have seen him present work through the UK, Europe and Japan with collaborative projects such as Trans/Human and Project Godie. He is a co-director of The Old Police House, an experimental music studio and community venue in Gateshead, UK.


  • Butoh was founded by Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. Inspired by the Hiroshima tragedy that made the 'unimaginable imaginable' butoh translates to 'dance of darkness'.


  • Project Godie choreographer, New York-based artist, Vangeline, has also taken butoh to the masses, with an appearance in Hollywood movie The Letter with Winona Ryder and James Franco. She was also recently invited by Atlantic Records to perform for Grammy award-winning American music artist, Skrillex.


  • Vangeline has also received national media attention in the US for taking butoh workshops to correctional facilities, teaching prison inmates the art of creative movement and performance.