Elixir at Springhead

Elixir is an interactive, cross-art form project, rooted in classical South Indian dance, which presents an engaging evening of dance, visual art and conversation and explores a world with ever decreasing clean water.

The Elixir at Springhead project was a partnership between The Springhead Trust and Activate Performing Arts. It was conceived to fulfil a number of ambitions- to bring more high quality artwork to the communities of North Dorset; to develop Springhead’s arts programming capacity and explore the use of the site for outdoor work; to support Subathra Subramaniam’s artistic development in exploring outdoor work; to display and promote the link between creativity and environmental science- the key aims of the Springhead Trust.

In April 2012 Sadhana was in residence at Springhead creating Elixir at Springhead- an open-air performance, taking advantage of the beautiful gardens and lake as a magnificent backdrop for this piece that explores our connection to, and reliance on, water. Award-winning visual artist Josh Baum’s installation was placed in Springhead’s Mill building.

During the residency Sadhana Dance delivered education workshops in four local schools using Bharata Natyam and contemporary dance and environmental science. Subathra Subramaniam created an original dance piece for children at St Andrews School in Fontmell Magna that was performed as a curtain- raiser to the main show.

During the week, there was a Springhead Open Day giving members of the public an opportunity to explore Springheads beautiful gardens. Josh Baum’s delicate and watery art installation was open all day in the Mill building, and visitors were able to catch a sneak preview of Elixir at Springhead by watching open rehearsals at the Rotunda Theatre.

On Friday and Saturday, Elixir at Springhead was performed, in Sunshine and in rain. Audiences saw St Andrews curtain raiser, and the Elixir art installation, before watching the main piece in the garden. Both performances of ‘Elixir at Springhead’ were followed by a Café Scientifique where Quentin Cooper, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Material World chaired a discussion between the artists and scientists involved in the show, local ecologists Paul McIntosh, and the audience.

Elixir at Springhead was funded by Arts Council England, Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB, the Ernest Cook Trust, Dorset County Council, DepARTure Arts, North Dorset County Council and ACE Plumbing and Heating. It was further supported by Artsreach and Dorset Visual Arts.