From June – August 23 we collaborated with the wonderful Company Chameleon to devise a dance piece exploring relationships of all kinds.  ‘Consumed’ confronted how we might find ourselves ‘playing with fire’ in our human interactions, and was part of our wider ‘Playing With Fire’ arts strategy. The focus on dance was designed to push our artistic boundaries and capabilities, propelling us outside of our comfort zone with some astonishing and moving results.  It was performed over two nights at the Royal Exchange ‘The Den Festival’ in Beswick, and received great feedback.  

“Very professional after saying no one had danced before, it was hard to believe.” 

“The level of vulnerability through dance, the beauty of it, was very humbling.” 

“Emotion, dance symmetry, music accompaniment, it was escapism for my mental health.” 

It was a very positive experience for participants and staff too. 

The part in the performance where I was wiping my face really helped me to get rid of that emotion and to free myself of it. It gave me a space to process and expel all those emotions and that toxicity.”  

I didn’t know that my body could do that. I’ve got terrible coordination. If I had seen that video (of the final piece) I would have said no way!” 

“I’ve learned lots from the project, the compassion and bravery of the participants is truly inspiring.”  (Kevin Edward Turner, Co-Artistic Director and co-founder of Company Chameleon.)  

Most Significant Change Story:  


R has been a participant at Our Room for 10 months. He participated in our dance piece, ‘Consumed,’ which was developed with Kevin Edward Turner, Co-Artistic Director of Company Chameleon. R came to all the sessions throughout the ‘Consumed’ process and performed in both performances at The Royal Exchange’s Den Theatre. He is the only participant who attended every single session of the project. 

‘Consumed’ explored relationships that have consumed us for better or for worse, and looked at how we sometimes play with fire in our interactions with others. For as long as we have supported R, he has had an ongoing conflict with one of his neighbours, connected to his sex working, which has caused him a great deal of distress. This is the relationship which he chose to explore. 

 When I first came to Our Room, I was very closed minded, but after coming for a while I learnt to be a lot more open. Although I do sometimes say things that offend people but that’s never my intention…it’s just my way of communicating. 

‘Consumed’ gave me an opportunity to be involved in performing because I was never really quite sure whether I could do it or not and if there were any opportunities out there for me. When you’re in your teens, you have so many opportunities, and these get less and less as you get older. Our Room put me on a platform and I’m really grateful for that. I believed I had the ability to dance but I needed someone to bring it out of me and to help me express myself. I had done a performance piece in my early 20s and that was amazing. Performing again, and all the feelings associated with it really made me feel like I was in my 20s, which is a good thing! 

I’ve seen some physical changes in myself since participating in ‘Consumed,’ and also some more behavioural ones. I am more supple. I can stretch a lot more. And the process has helped me to be more patient. Sometimes I can get easily aggravated over some little thing. I’ve mellowed since taking part in this project. I’ve learned to respect that everyone is different, and I don’t get irritated by things or people in the same way. 

Performing for me is very therapeutic…it helps my mental health, it calms my mind. It also opens doors to other possibilities. I discussed with Kevin about possibly taking the performance to other venues – I think that would be a great opportunity and a great thing for Our Room. It would show people that we are not just sex workers, we are much more. We are artists and creators. I would love to do it again. Everyone was so amazing. It was breathtaking. 

I think I was born to be a performer. I was really nervous, but the moment the music went on, I was in the zone. I’m really grateful for being given the opportunity of a solo, and for being allowed to open the dance piece. I would love to develop this piece so there would be someone portraying me and someone playing my neighbour. 

 At first I thought I would be performing by myself, like I did in the session at Company Chameleon’s studios. But actually, dancing with others made it so much better and really heightened my performance. That connection with other people is so, so important. Obviously the situation with my neighbour was getting to me, and when I was doing the rehearsals I was wondering how I was going to get the intensity of the situation out, and how was I going to express it all. The process has shifted my perspective on my relationship with my neighbour. I’ve come to realise that no matter what I do, she will always be the same person.  

 During the performance, I got into the zone whereby I visualised the audience as my neighbour, so the dance enabled me to express to my neighbour that they would never be able to stop me from pursuing my dreams. 

 The situation before was very stressful. I was consumed by it. When we first started the sessions, I was constantly talking about my neighbour. This decreased over the weeks. I think this was because Kevin really pushed me and helped me to get it all out and to express it all creatively. I was really invested in what I was portraying so it had all the intensity and authenticity. The part in the performance where I was wiping my face really helped me to get rid of that emotion and to free myself of it. It gave me a space to process and expel all those emotions and that toxicity. 

 Since the performance I’ve not really seen my neighbour very much. If I do see her, I don’t really say anything, I just get on with my day. To be honest, I just don’t really think about her anymore. If there’s one thing I believe in, I believe in karma, and karma works in many different ways.  

 The whole process has helped me to become a better person, and to realise that I shouldn’t let things and people get to me. I am so thankful for the opportunity.