About the company
NWSI Wizards of WOW 21 years old @2014
The story in brief.
In 1993 Paul Miskin was inspired by the sight of Catalonian performance ensembles Artristras and Burbuka. In the last of the ten street festivals that he directed in Newcastle upon tyne he decided to create a stilt theatre based site specific event. A team was convened and trained with the help of samba drumming experts and Scarabeus stilt trainers.
Following the success of this event, the new group met regularly for extreme stilt sessions across lakes, rivers, up rocky faces, in the sea, in moonlight across the snow and through the forest. Early rehearsals in the park with stilts hand held fireworks and extreme costumes attracted some curtain twitching in nearby streets. That was how we acquired our name. With this team we devised our large scale shows and interventions which subsequently toured 40 countries. On Monday, 11 March 2002. Maysie Sharp became a partner bringing her excellent performance, making, and administrative skills into the company.
A Partnership of Paul Miskin BA hons MA and Maysie Sharp two Artist/administrator/maker/performers.
A core of around 50 performers /musicians/ inflatiblists/ pyrotechnicians/ stilt-walkers/aerialists etc.
Networks of performers and technicians that have worked with the company in the past and will again in the future.
Many of the performers have performed with the company for all its duration.
NWSI perform street theatre and music, make art and run workshops. For NWSI art is `oxygen` and for everyone. The performances cross genres and playfully promote public ownership of space, reinvention of the urban context, freedom of expression, valuing of the environment, of natural species, and difference. Though some of our larger and more fiery shows necessitate some barriers between audiences and spectator it is our aim in general to remove those divisions and concentrate on theatre `of` rather than merely `in` the street, a hybrid theatre in which the fictional and the factual meet face to face, and an ontological theatre in which the context is incorporated into the performance.
Since the first site specific performance in Exhibition Park in 1993, Over 500 performances have been created in Britain and forty countries world-wide including China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, Iceland, USA, Romania, Turkey and all over Europe.
NWSI have been chosen for ten years for inclusion in the British Council `Performance in Profile` UK brochure and to represent the UK as cultural Ambassadors with many smaller to middle scale performances world wide for the British Council.
International media presence
NWSI have been broadcast to millions. A half hour documentary was made about them in Poland. They were broadcast to 50 million on Globo tv in Brazil and to point 8 of a billion on CCTV Chinese national news.
Large-scale street theatre
They have worked at the truly large-scale providing the opening or closing show in many festivals including Poznan, Gdansk, Singapore, Stockton on tees, Terrason, Kortijk, Dunkirk, Greenwich, Camden Leeds.
Multi-disciplinarity and innovation
NWSI perform a unique high impact blend of fine arts disciplines with athleticism, carnival, theatre, music. Here are some of our activities.
NWSI have performed giant puppets the size of buildings.
NWSI have abseiled (abstilted) on stilts down the side of a church tower in a giant spider costume.
NWSI have featured the burning of temporary sculptures `fallas`, kinetic theatrical fireworks, fire drawings, and Catalan style hand held fireworks on stilts to celebrate Salvador Dali’s art.
NWSI have performed an abstract expressionist ballet Chromarama on 2 metre stilts inside colored bags out side the National Gallery in London and world wide. In Stockton, Gateshead, Glasgow, Cardiff, Washington, Detroit, Singapore Vlissingen, Delft, Sao Paolo, Rio, Poznan, and Gdansk.
NWSI have performed with both performers and puppets suspended over the crowds in their own light aircraft… a helium balloon. Grand Magix
NWSI have created an insect orchestra on stilts performing original cross cultural fusion and classics in Stockton, Durham, Kirkcudy, Leeds Doha, Genk, Sibiu, Almeria Barcelona Steenvoorde .
In Durham Brass festival a smaller NWSI surreal new Orleans/street theatre ensemble The Mute-Antz has also played to great success.
NWSI have released an album of original multicultural fusion music with their band Soznak released by Harmonia mundi. See national reviews http://soznak.com/reviews
Played on radio 3 etc
NWSI won first and second prize in a Northern Film & Media music for film competition with the music for the film `Breather` http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3TnYpOVX0g
In the spring and early summer NWSI run open and free weekly and bi-weekly workshops in Exhibition Park in the skills relating to performance see above. When a large performance is imminent workshops become rehearsals. We record skills learned and workshop attendance, with approx 100 people per year and 10/20 regular new performers appearing per year who perform with NWSI and other groups. These workshops are the creative core of the group. They are both hard work and enormous fun and create a whole new community/family touring and travelling together and creating new shows.
Throughout the year NWSI run bi-weekly drumming workshops and musical workshops and rehearsals for all the musical ensembles and for beginners who aspire to join an NWSI ensemble
The Ant Orkezdra,
The Mute Antz,
Soznak multicultural fusion ensemble,
The Drumming ants/The Drumming Robots.
These rehearsals take place in the NWSI base at Blackfriars square and in Exhibition Park.
With support from the Arts Council NWSI have acquired amazing pneumatic stilts and are learning new skills.
NWSI are working towards a dramatization of Swift`s Gulliver`s travels
NWSI are The Wizards of WoW.