The UK’s leading physical theatre company Gecko announces Arlene Phillips and Dominic West as its first patrons, both set to bring the company’s ground-breaking work to new audiences.
This exciting announcement comes at an auspicious time for the company who have recently announced the London premiere for their most ambitious show to date, The Wedding, at the Barbican Theatre as part of the prestigious London International Mime Festival.
Arlene Phillips, CBE is a much-loved English choreographer, theatre director, talent scout, television judge and presenter, perhaps best known recently as a judge on hit TV series Strictly Come Dancing. Her and Gecko’s Artistic Director Amit Lahav became acquainted through their both having worked with the late choreographer Lyndsey Kemp, and Arlene has been a fan of Gecko’s work since 2015 when she saw Institute.
Arlene Phillips said: “I’m thrilled and excited to become a patron of Gecko. It’s exciting theatre that combines dance with extraordinary music and soundscapes and a unique and strange storytelling style that draws you in. I’ve loved Gecko from the first moment I saw the company perform, and have the utmost admiration for Amit and the company.”
Dominic West is a Sheffield-born actor, director and musician. He is perhaps best known for his role in hit TV series The Wire and The Affair but has worked extensively across screen and stage in both UK and US. Dominic is starring in the upcoming BBC adaptation of Les Misérables by Andrew Davies, and in October 2018 was awarded the Canneseries Excellence Award at the international TV showcase Mipcom for his outstanding contribution in TV series.
Dominic West said: “A Gecko show is always a thrillingly inventive concert of lyrical movement, breathtaking imagery and a wry humanity. I have loved watching them for nearly two decades, since I first met Amit through the Argentinian group ‘De La Guarda’. In 2019 we’ll see a long overdue broadening of their resources and their audience and I am delighted to be associated with that”.
Amit Lahav said: “I am delighted to announce Arlene Phillips and Dominic West as our first Gecko patrons. They have both shown real enthusiasm and encouragement for the company’s work over the years and are keen to support Gecko’s the future plans. Both Arlene and Dom have enormous experience and expertise in their respective fields in choreography, directing, performance and film and I look forward to continuing our conversations, reflecting on the industry and dreaming of future possibilities. I have always declared relationships as the central ethos of Gecko and I feel a warmth and connection with our new patrons energised by a drive to keep seeing Gecko grow and pursue its dreams. It is important to us that we have patrons who have a love for Gecko, a willingness to support our future development and who bring to the company diverse expertise – Dominic and Arlene are perfect ambassadors and great friends too”.
This exciting news marks the next phase in Gecko’s story. Since being established by Amit Lahav in 2001, the company has become the epitome of visceral, provocative physical theatre in the UK, with a unique language of movement, music and set design that come together to create a distinctive and unforgettable experience.
Now, in its 18th year, Gecko is the UK’s leading devising physical theatre company which, despite the increasingly challenging arts funding landscape in the country, creates increasingly ambitious shows performing to audiences across the UK and internationally. The company’s work is studied by students preparing for their GCSE and A’Level exams across England, and they are also guest artists as part of a new MA degree programme in Contemporary Physical Performance Making at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. In 2019 the company will begin development of its next production. As an expert on movement, Amit has recently worked with directors Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall on imagery for the new songs on The Chemical Brothers’ 2018 world tour. He has also been working on movement for BBC 2’s documentary about Austrian painter Egon Schiele, Dangerous Desires: The Scandalous Life of Egon Schiele, broadcast in November to mark the painter’s 100th anniversary of death. It is available to watch on BBC iPlayer here.