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CAKE 17: The Science of Performance

This February, we will be hosting a special CAKE event, in collaboration with Dance City, Southpaw Dance Company and the Institute of Physics as part of their workshop series ‘The Physics of Dance’.

CAKE 17: The Science of Performance will take a behind-the-scenes look at dance and performance, considering ways in which science and technology enhance our appreciation and understanding of the performing arts.

Our speakers will discuss the scientific principles of performance and reveal the technical skills and expertise that make a show appear seamless. From the stage to the city streets, we will consider a diverse range of performance spaces and the technologies that bring these spaces to life.

When: Tuesday 20th February, 10:30-12:30

Where: Dance City, Newcastle
Register Here


Robby Graham, Artistic Director, Southpaw Dance Company

Southpaw Dance Company works under the artistic direction and unique vision of Robby Graham who, over the last decade, has been developing a distinctive and innovative new dance vocabulary. Drawing on the relatively unexplored vocabulary of b-boying, or breaking, the Company has developed a style that crosses the boundaries of what is defined as contemporary technique and hip hop movement, engaging audiences who have never bought a ticket to see contemporary dance, as well as to sold out festivals and theatres.

Robby has performed, taught and choreographed around the world, including the Royal Opera House in London, the favelas of Rio Di Janeiro, and New York. In 2015 he was a Hip Hop Second Round Judge for BBC Young Dancer of the Year. Also in 2015, Robby was the winner of the UK Dance Artist of Choice, Kevin Spacey Foundation. In 2017 Robby was on the selection panel for the Kevin Spacey Foundation and was Movement Director for Marianne Elliott’s acclaimed production of Angels in America at the National Theatre.

Catrina McHugh, Artistic Director and Writer, and Roma Yagnik, Sound Designer, Open Clasp Theatre Company

Open Clasp is an award winning women’s theatre company and a leading force in the North of England with a national and international reach. Open Clasp collaborates with women and young women on the margins of society to create bold and innovative theatre for personal, social and political change.

The theatre’s women-centred practice collaborates with women to draw out their collective voices and shine a light on their experiences, creating powerful professional theatre and performing to wide-ranging audiences. Open Clasp encourages their audiences to walk in the shoes of the women and make space for debate.

Dan Adams, Production Manager, Lumiere Festival

Lumiere is the UK’s largest light festival, organised by Artichoke, a leading arts charity that works with artists to invade public spaces and put on extraordinary and ambitious events that live in the memory forever. For each Lumiere festival Artichoke invites international artists to create works that light buildings and public spaces, changing the way that we think and feel.

The first Lumiere light festival took place in Durham in 2009. Originally planned as a one off, with the support of Durham County Council and other sponsors, producers Artichoke have brought the event back to the North East every other year since. In 2015, a record 200,000 visitors came to the event enjoying a ‘whale’ in the River Wear, mysterious rolling fog, and an interactive projection onto the inner roof of Durham Cathedral.

Austen Atkinson, Senior Producer, Lexicon Learning

Austen is an author, producer, director, a script doctor in film and script editor for broadcast TV drama and animation. He has developed a raft of AI and VR – notably for Google and the Google Expeditions App platform, as project lead. He has created educational films, learning apps and interactives at Twig World, children’s drama for BBC Worldwide and factual programmes for BBC, History Channel, Discovery, Channel 4 and many more.

Austen trained with the BBC to be a Creative Alchemist – specialising in taking linear storytelling and developing it for immersive experiences. He has been creative lead on projects in traditional linear, VR, AI and emerging technologies in B2B, Military/Government, Consumer, Entertainment and Education. Austen’s books have sold in 17 countries and been adapted for TV, notably Lost Worlds by Darlow-Smithson for Channel 4 and Discovery USA. Recognising the power of narratives, Austen has produced high profile full-lifecycle projects and programmes – often writing them himself – for renowned and iconic organisations such as the BBC, Sky, C4, C5, History Channel, Sunday Times, Virgin, Google and many others.

Register for this event via Eventbrite

Find out more about CAKE (Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange) events