This week I returned to Blackpool Uk to work on Marisa Carnesky’s Ghost train. It has been almost 10 years sense myself and 6 other performers entered a wear-house in Dagenham to begin devising performances that would animate this live art / fairground ride. At the time of its creation burlesque, circus-theatre and magic illusion had only just begun to experience a revival. Yet this show was not only mixing these ‘about to be popular’ performance modes into a large scale performance, but this was a show that was housed in a traveling carnival ride with working train and tracks! Ten years on the Ghost Train now has a residency in Blackpool. It sits along side traditional seaside entertainment and other scare rides, perhaps it is not immediately apparent that once you enter the ride your experience will be distinctly different from all the other rides and games that surround you at the Pleasure Beach. But once the live performers begin to speak and move, re-enacting shadowy stories of lost daughters and forced migration, it is clear that this is not just a scare ride resorting to blood and shock, that this is a narrative mini play, a piece of art chameleoned into sea side attraction.
It was also very enjoyable to return to the Ghost Train, not as a performer doing the daily 6 hours of gruelling aerial harness performance but rather as an assistant director, trapeze teacher and prop maker. I feel very lucky to have been involved in this project and to have worked with Marisa, she is a very clever business woman as well as artist and her ambition to tackle large scale projects, secure funding and propose excellent ways to make both money and art seem endless.