I was lucky to join The British Paraorchestra and the creative team behind The Nature of Why at one of their rehearsals last week. It was fascinating to watch a preview of this ambitious new show that brings together dancers and musicians, audience and performer as one. The show is choreographed by Caroline Bowditch, with direction by Bowditch and Charles Hazlewood and features a live score by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory. Here, Will, Caroline, and Charles share a few words on the inspiration, creative process and experience of bringing The Nature of Why to life.

Three dancers in rehearsal - one standing, one mid height, one on the floor

Will Gregory tells us a little bit about this inspiration for his new live score: “In writing for The Nature of Why, I was drawn to thinking of composers like Bach, elements of science, the resonance of mathematics and the ‘truths’ of musical composition having heard the words of Richard Feynman, whose theories triggered by a seemingly simple question unfurl to become something more and more complex. Writing with the knowledge that dancers as well as musicians would respond to it, Feynman’s theories were firmly held in mind, yet what you hear is far less a tribute or literal interpretation, but an appropriation of that influence.”

A horn player and a percussionist play as a dancer mingles amongst the percussion.

Choreographer and director Caroline Bowditch says: “This has truly been a joyful integrated process, with dance having as much importance as the music. I’ve been fascinated by the willingness of the musicians to explore options of movement as well as playing and smash their way out of their comfort zone. The flexible configuration of the final piece is exciting because I know that, in a way, every audience member will be able to choose their own adventure and get their own unique version of the show.”

Horn player plays centre 'stage', a dancer to his right reaches across him.

Director Charles Hazlewood says: “The Paraorchestra and Friends allows us all to stretch our wings and really let go, bringing in brilliant collaborators like Will and Caroline to set light to completely new ideas that the orchestra and I can enjoy bringing to life. A formal, on stage orchestral performance has it’s time and place, but The Nature of Why couldn’t be further from it, and it is with huge thanks to Unlimited for commissioning this project and challenging us to deliver something truly unique. It’s rare to see dancers and musicians taking equal responsibility for illustrating the music and vice versa. Richard Feynman’s influence in showing the beauty of the enquiring, human mind and the infinite possibilities of seemingly simple questions are brilliantly expressed in Will’s score and in Caroline’s sensitivity to how movement affects us all.”

Various musicians play on the outskirts of three dancers performing in the centre of the room

The Nature of Why WORLD PREMIERE is on Thursday 10th May and runs until Saturday 12th May, at Bristol Old Vic.

Buy The Nature of Why tickets here

(all images from the Research and Development week for Nature of Why, November 2017, Credit: Paul Blakemore)