`Microcosmos’ is the theme of a number of interventions from our fragile natural environment. Enormous insects are released into the urban environment to entertain city dwellers. NWSI offer a variety of performances from small scale walkabouts, like The Butterflies, with few technical requirements, to large scale spectaculars like `Taranta` which uses installations, lights, sound and pyrotechnics.
It is very strange to live in the first human era where the entire natural environment is under threat That fact adds an extra urgency to our mission to emphasise the delight we feel in the existence of these wonderful and awesome cohabitants of planet earth.
The Butterfly Collection.
What could be more festive, miraculous or memorable than the arrival of a giant flock of butterflies? These stilt characters are quite accurately based on actual butterflies, The Swallow tail, The Oakwing, The Adonis Blue the Chalk Blue, the Black Veined White, the Red Admiral and one tropical butterfly the Blue Triangle
Their main purpose is adornment, and to remind us that work is not the purpose of life. These beautiful creatures of leisure living only for sex and display and an occasional taste of nectar are an endangered species, which is typical of our era of crude material aquisition. The Butterflies are fully mobile and gently interact with flora and fauna, civic flower displays, children and adults with their prehensile probosci and signal emitting antennae. Visit the gallery for more images.
`Consider the lillies of the field for they toil not neither do they spin yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these`
The Caterpillar is a 4 metre wide x 5 metre high x10 metre long inflatable puppet operated by ten performers. It is a character in Grand Magix, an NWSI large scale performance, and a walkabout or parade performance in its own right. It has performed in large parades at the Nice Carnival and the Edinburgh Hogmanay. It has also performed at the Lowlands and Pukkelpop festivals and many other places where it has created a huge impact as it moved through and over large crowds. It can be thematically followed or preceded by `The Butterfly Collection`.
Nice Matin 18th Février 2002
Place Masséna hier après midi c’est le chenille qui redémarre Un mille pattes
extraordinaire par sa longueur, ses couleurs et surtout par son originalité.
Sid The Spider as a walkabout
Sid the Spider is a 15 metre tall inflatable puppet operated by 11 performers. It uses cold air and 36 cubic metres of helium. It is based on the Sydney funnel web. Sid is a character in Grand Magix, an NWSI large scale performance, and also a very popular walkabout or parade performance. Sid has appeared in Grand Magix in Terasson, France; Camden Town, London; Tarrega, Spain and many other places. Sid is the newest and most ambitious of NWSI’s giant puppets. Sid is one of the most impressive walkabout performances available worldwide and has appeared solo in Beijing Tarrega and a few towns in Holland . Please visit the video section of this site to see him in action.
Some notes on the Large scale performance Taranta
Sid is also the star of `Taranta` a special large scale spectacular premiered at Stockton International Riverside Festival 31st July 2004, and Sheffield Aug 2004. Taranta was received joyously but we failed to get good video documentation of some of the most important elements including the spiders `abstilting` down the side of a church. Also Taranta with a live orchestra of 15 a cast of around fifty and some special technical requirements requires quite a substantial budget. So although we are very proud of this show and very happy to perform it again, as the giant flamanco party buleria and invasion from nature worked well. You will not find it in high profile on our page. Please note that the music at the front of this web site is from Taranta.
Neighbourhood Watch Stilts International's new show Taranta commissioned by the Arts Council of England and Stockton International Riverside Festival world premiered on Sat 31st at Stockton 2004. The show was well received and lead to bookings for performances in Beijing and Ljubljana in 2005. It was followed by a second performance at Leeds on the evening of the 21st August as the finale of the rhythms of the city festival
`Taranta` combines an insect invasion with a flamenco dance party. An urban invasion/hallucination of spiders and insect life is set to the darker flamenco modes (echoes of the Moorish invasion of southern Spain) and the `compas` of the Buleria
A `Buleria` is a rhythmic pattern of stresses in a 12 beat cycle. The `Taranta` Buleria has been recorded and is available on request NWSI have assembled an orchestra to perform this original piece live. Taranta can be performed without the live flamenco dance party element using this recording as an option for a smaller budget.
1. Paul Miskin Music Director composer.
2. Graham Hardy Arranger composer and Trumpet extraordinaire.
3. Adrian Longo Trumpet extraordinaire.
4. Graham Robinson tenor saxophone.
5. Ulysses Diaz Band Leader composer vocals Palmas
6. David Wild baritone saxophone
7. Fergus Paton Flamenco composer Guitarist Palmas
8. Keith hill Percussion composer leader percussion stilt performer
9. Brendan Murphy percussion stilt performer
10. Kate Dickinson percussion stilt performer
11. Desiree Valdes Munez percussionist stilt performer Palmas
12. Sara Aguado Ferra percussionist stilt performer Palmas
13. Charlotte Campbell stilt percussion performer
14. Fosse Mateo palmas cahon
15 Marta Landeria vocals palmas
14. Steve brown keyboard
15. Christopher Dobson Bass violoncello
The dancers Raul Calderon, Carolina Esteves and Miriam faura have created a special dance interpretation of the theme.
Taranta features `abstilting` a combination of abseiling and stiltwalking which enables stilt performance on the sides of buildings.
Email from Karla Shacklock Precarious Dance Theatre Mon, 23 Aug 2004
Dear NWSI – Paul Miskin,
Just felt the urge to contact you having witnessed Taranta in Leeds on Saturday night. Congratulations on an absolutely amazing show! I thought the design was nothing but spectacular and the atmosphere was electric! I can honestly say that my jaw dropped with the entrance of the ants and did not close until the final firework!! This is the first show that I have seen by your company, but am very keen to see more!
The Drumming Ants
The Drumming ants have performed in USA Singapore and many countries.
Here is an email of appreciation received recently after our custom created
finale event for Uxbridge in Dec 2003 featuring The Drumming Ants and Dali
I was in the Uxbridge event on Sunday as a member of Bloco do Sul samba
bateria (I'm a surdo player) - your samba-playing ants were just sensational
- mind-blowing concept and costumes - 12 foot tall ants for God's sake! -
and great samba playing to boot. Incredible.
The Dali and Gala were hilarious, really up to Venice Carnival standard - in fact we were convinced that you must be from Berlin or Venice or Prague - NOBODY English could be that brilliantly and stylishly weird!!
The Ant Orkezdra
Created in 2006 The Ant Orkezdra is a sensational one hour musical parade performance for day or night to add a really memorable event to your festival program. This new performance has been joyously received in Stockton, Kirkcaldy, Durham, and Wageningen in the Netherlands and is booked for Inverness 12 jan and Doncaster 10th March 2007.
You can see and download video at u tube with the link below but if you want to see the awesome sight of The Ant Orkezdra performing at night do patiently watch this 4 minute clip to the end
The Ant Orkezdra is NWSI's newest project and is a 14 piece Brass and Percussion ensemble on stilts. Don’t miss this spectacular and original ultimate festival marching band.
The music mixes unusual interpretations of classics with original compositions in Afrobeat, Hijaz, Salsa, Ska, Reggae, Cuban and New Orleans styles.
Percussion Keith Hill, Sara Palmer, Nikolas Alevroyiannis, Chris Dobson, Sharron Levi, Nicola Rose, Cheryl Morgan.
Brass; - Paul Miskin, Neil Doherty, Adrain Longo, Nicola Woods, Trumpets
Fergus Paton, Steve Mounter, Trombones
Graham Robinson, Andy Strong, Sarah Travina Tenors, Tim Kendal soprano (saxophones)
Ralph Bossingham Toby Rathbone Baritones
Costumes Maysie Sharp and Warren Haig
The Current Repertoire :- 53 minutes
MARDIS GRAS (Professor Long Hair classic), special arrangement
FUNK I Pure percussion. (Home grown)
MAMAS GOTTA BRAND NEW PIGBAG (Pigbag)
CARAVAN (Dizzie Gillespie) (special arrangement in 7/8 by Keith Hill)
SENOR BLUES (Horace Silver special arrangement)
MARAKATU (Pure percussion, home grown)
BAION (Pure percussion’ home grown)
DESIREE (Home grown tune By Paul Miskin & percussion by Keith Hill)
SUGAR STICK (Home grown tune by Paul Miskin & percussion by Keith Hill)
BAILAR (Home grown tune by Paul Miskin & percussion by Keith Hill)
The Ant Orkezdra performance at sky High Festival Durham 2006 with Trans Express
From the teams point of the view the performance really complimented the rest of the performances of the festival, the explosive launch of the ants, their procession through the crowd and musical accompaniment really lifted our festival and the increased the sense of celebration at the event.
Here's one of the quotes from one of the visitors to the event
'We enjoyed all the activities, the kids played on the music, things ie tree trunks and xylophones with the tree branches and really enjoyed them. The favourite was the ants and we loved how they marched through the crowds'