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New Work
Dress rehearsal at the Al Jaber Auditorium 2020
To see more photos click here.

Edited highlights of the Corpus Christi performance
(12 mins)

Below: images from the Forum, 2019 Migration

Edited highlights of the Forum performance
(14 mins)


Dorsal (7 mins)

Photography: Andrew Bell
Video/stills: Dariusz Dziala


"There is alarming evidence that important tipping points, leading to irreversible changes in major ecosystems and the planetary climate system, may already have been reached or passed."
(United Nations)

Inspired by the 2018 UN report that the world’s governments have just 12 years to avert a climate-change catastrophe, Café Reason's newest work presents an array of powerful themes: climate change, pollution, pillage, and overpopulation.

Tipping Point was the result of a commission by the University of Hertfordshire, part of their annual Sonic Herts music festival. Supported by Arts Council England, it premiered in May 2019 at the Forum – Hertfordshire’s biggest nightclub – a provocative, subversive encounter between the slick, conventional setting and the visceral, eclectic performance. We asked, "What do we, as a group of mature dancers and musicians, have to say to those who will pay the price of our generation’s failure to take timely and effective action? What can we, as artists, do or say to have any influence over widespread apathy?"

Using specially composed and improvised live music and vocals from both dancers and singers, together with pre-recorded soundscapes, original video and projection, bizarre costume, and a lot of plastic (!), with themes of migration, change, and crisis constant refrains, Tipping Point shines a slantwise, shifting light on our complex and evolving relationship with the Earth.

We subsequently developed the work for performance at a smaller and very different venue, the lovely Al Jaber Auditorium at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, with sell-out shows over two nights in January 2020. This production was made possible through the financial support of Oxford City Council and many generous private donors.

For the development and performance of Tipping Point, we have drawn on the energy, input, and talents of dancers and musicians new to Café Reason from around the region, including the veteran musician Maggie Nichols, who is the musical director.

To read reviews of the Corpus Christi performance, please click here (Japan Society Review) and here (Oxford Dance Writers). To see a selection of images from the dress rehearsal at the Al-Jaber Auditorium click here.


I Migration
People and animals have always journeyed, responding to the pull and push of opportunity, need, and danger.

II Lifeforms
From their first stirrings, living things evolve, explore, and colonise their finite world.

III Wrap
Constraint or possibility, resistance or compliance, hope or despair?

IV Dorsal
Troubled times in a restless landscape.

V Gaia
Earth’s riches can be honoured or abused, but the web of life endures.

VI Endgame
Inhabitants of a ravaged world look for meaning among the ruins.

VII Reef
Corals are the sensitive ‘canaries’ of the ocean environment, but the reefs have a long history of shift and regeneration.


Concept & choreography: Cath Blackfeather, Ayala Kingsley, Karen Goonewardene

Music: Maggie Nicols (vocals, keyboard), Jill Elliott (vocals, violin)

Dance: Cath Blackfeather, Cathy Burfield, Arianna Cinquatti (Corpus Christi performance), Karen Goonewardene (Forum performance), Juliet Henderson, Ayala Kingsley, Cecilia Macfarlane (Forum performance), Natalie Reynolds, Lizzie Spight (Corpus Christi performance) Sylvia von Hahn, Fabrizia Verrecchia

Costume: Fabrizia Verrecchia, Cath Blackfeather, Karen Goonewardene

Masks: Ayala Kingsley

Video: Karen Goonewardene (Lifeforms), Peter Jones/Ayala Kingsley (Dorsal)

Production: Joanna Matthews

Lighting/Sound: Dominic Hargreaves with Thea Marsh (Corpus Christi performance) Maxim Vuolo, Michael Gerard (Forum performance)

Project management: Ayala Kingsley

With thanks to: Andrew Bell (photography), Dariusz Dziala, Peter Jones (filming) and Russell Anderson, Alice Baldock, Corpus Christi College, Roberto Filoseta, Ross Freeman, Alex Howard, Cecilia Macfarlane, Thea Marsh, Marston Village Hall, Oxford Brookes University, Jonathan Ross, Andy Solway, for help and support.

Café Reason gratefully acknowledge the financial support of Arts Council England and Oxford City Council.
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