Imitating the Dog (Ltd.) has been creating and touring original performance work since 1998. Over this period the company has built up a reputation, both within the UK and in mainland Europe, for making high quality pieces of theatre that challenge theatrical convention through exciting and testing viewing experiences for audiences.
From the outset, Imitating the Dog has been committed to developing scenographic techniques that explore the narrative potential of theatre, and to locating new modes of story telling in a culture where the concepts of narrative linearity and coherent identity no longer seem to hold sway. The aim of the work is to be innovative and, at the same time, to make performances that are accessible to their audiences.
Its work aims to explore new dramaturgical techniques through incorporating approaches in stage design, media and writing, and drawing on the aesthetics and fictional techniques of the cinema for its scenographic and thematic inspiration. The company's overarching aim is to create bold and striking stories that are relevant to contemporary living.
Hotel Methuselah is a contemporary ghost story that explores fears around mortality, sexuality and the terrifying sense of responsibility that comes with having children. In a stunning homage to post-war British cinema and the French new wave, Imitating the Dog creates a unique and disturbingly immersive experience for the audience.
Any performance of Hotel Methuselah can be accompanied by pre- and/or post-performance talks, full workshop programme, lectures and master classes.
Taking as its starting point the final moments of the Second World War in Berlin, The Zero Hour follows the stories of three couples living through three very different versions of the same historical events. In one version two Russian soldiers celebrate their survival amid the ruins of Berlin as, at the same time, they prepare to say goodbye. In another, a British intelligence officer visits a Germany, allied with Britain, which has almost won the war against the Soviet Union, and where the Red army may have discovered a way to send messages through time. In a third a triumphant Soviet Union has occupied all of Europe except for Great Britain, with which an uneasy truce is maintained.
Across these different histories the protagonists’ lives connect or fail to connect in ways which echo and resonate, and gradually build a picture of human stoicism in the face of the wave of history. The Zero Hour asks difficult questions about how we understand ourselves in relation to the times and the universe in which we find ourselves. It is work which is overtly philosophical and we hope humane. It is also unapologetically romantic and shot through with the obsessions (sex, babies, death, WW2 and time travel) which are the hall marks of ITD’s narrative inventions.
On a formal level The Zero Hour continues ITD’s exploration of the relation between live action, computer-generated animation and recorded material. In particular, the events of the stage are filmed and projected by a Chinese film crew, a device which helps to frame the audience’s interrogation of the process of the writing of history and the production of fictions.
6 Degrees Below the Horizon is a playful tale involving sailors, barflies, chorus girls and nightclub singers. In this visually stunning new work the audience view the action through windows and moving frames, to piece together a modern fable of failed dreams, lost love and the guilt of absent fatherhood.
Any performance of 6 Degrees can be accompanied by pre- and/or post-performance talks, full workshop programme, lectures and master classes.
Imitating the Dog offers a full range of activities to support all touring and festival work. It has experience of running residencies in the UK and in mainland Europe, and has a wide range of workshops that can cater for artists, teachers/lecturers, post-15 school children, students and the general public. The company offers pre- and post-production talks, and two of the directors are lecturers in Higher Education: Andrew Quick, Director of the Institute of the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University and author of The Wooster Group Work Book (Routledge, 2007), and Pete Brooks, Director of the MA in Scenography at Central St. Martins, University of the Arts, London. Both offer lectures and workshops on contemporray performance, devising theatre, new scenography and new dramarurgical approaches to theatre making. Details of the company's wraparound work can be found on the company website.
"a company at the forefront of testing the nature of theatre"
“multiplatform theatre-makers of rare ambition and invention”
“…utterly engaging, challenging and compelling piece of contemporary performance.”
Total Theatre on The Zero Hour
"Overall, 6 Degrees Below is the best I have seen of its kind. The plot is intriguing and gritty and the whole experience is a masterful and delectable fusion of theatre and cinema."
What’s On Stage on 6 Degrees Below the Horizon
"A mesmerising piece of contemporary performance"
Metro on Kellerman
"...headily ambitious... technically and visually a treat..."
The Guardian on Hotel Methuselah
Simon Wainwright, Andrew Quick, Pete Brooks