DMU students stage 'immaculate' performance


An immersive physical theatre performance, where the audience becomes the centre of the story, is being staged on campus by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students.

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Performed by 13 final-year Performing Arts students, Immaculate follows the supernatural and ritualistic journey of a young girl who sets off into a forgotten community, inspired by the myth of Echo and Narcissus by the Roman poet Ovid.

The students have collaborated closely with director, choreographer and performer Vinicius Salles, who has worked with companies such as Punchdrunk and Gecko, as well as created touring performances across stage, screen and digital worlds.

Performed in a four-hour loop, audiences will experience an 80-minute immersive, digital, physical and textual performance in small groups. Immaculate is showing at DMU’s PACE building on 9 and 10 November, with free tickets bookable online now.

The annual Performance Company module gives students the chance to prepare for their future careers by working with professionals, and to develop key skills by working across all elements of a show, from storyboarding and choreographing to costuming and marketing.

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As well as performing in Immaculate, student Rebecca Summerfield is also one of the project managers for the show. She said: “Part of my role is making sure that all of our teams are supported, including marketing, tech, props, costumes, set design and more.

“The props and costumes list is huge because the show has so many elements to it. We’ve had to source large items like a bed, to small details like a vintage vase. Most of the clothes we’ve bought from charity shops.

“It’s been hard work but I’m really proud of all of us. We’ve come together to create something amazing and we’re really excited to share it. Being pushed out of our comfort zone has allowed us to grow, not only as individuals but as artists too.”

Student performers Tilly Kelly, Ellie Wilson and Hailun Luo are all also part of the show’s marketing team.

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Tilly is one of the six students playing the role of a sister, who physically guides the audience through the show. “Although we have our defined roles outside of the performance, we’re chipping in as a collective to make sure every part of production is on track,” she said.

“Working with Vinicius has been great. He’s not just directing us, he’s helped us with everything from bouncing off ideas to designing our posters, which has made the whole process so much easier.”

Playing a vital role in setting the scene and mood for the journey ahead, Ellie starts the show on her own and is the first person the audience sees. She said: “I’ve never had a role like this and despite it being challenging, it’s such an honour.

“During our first intensive week with Vinicius, we shared our own material and it was great to work with him on developing our ideas. It was a completely different way of working for me and I enjoyed coming together as a big group.”

Hailun said: “I have two different roles to perform referring to both the past and the present. I’ve never done anything like this before and it was both challenging and rewarding to connect to the emotions of both roles.

“I was also very happy to work with different people in our classroom, because a lot of our work before this was either solo or in smaller groups.”

Posted on Friday 3rd November 2023

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