We are proud to announce plans for our next production!
Margaret Morris: Coming to Life
by Anna Carlisle
We are in the process of devising a touring production for 2020/21 based on the life and work of Margaret Morris, the creator of a comprehensive modern dance and movement therapy system that continues to be taught and enjoyed around the world today.
2020 will mark the 110th anniversary of the founding of Margaret Morris’ movement method – MMM – which she inaugurated in 1910 at the age of 19 – with its origins in the six key classical Greek poses. MMM evolved – throughout the decades of the early twentieth century and over the period of two World Wars – into a comprehensive recreational, therapeutic, athletic and creative system of movement and exercise for all ages.
Margaret Morris’ early start in the world of professional dance was facilitated by her encounter with Raymond Duncan (brother of Isadora) and her connection with the novelist and playwright John Galsworthy. Subsequently, Margaret established annual MMM summer schools in both Britain and the south of France, set up a series of permanent schools in London, Paris and key British cities for the teaching of dance, music and painting, and implemented a significant teacher-training programme – all with the support, encouragement and artistic input from her life partner the Scottish ‘Colourist’ painter J D Fergusson.
Morris’ work outside her own schools encompassed demonstrating in hospitals and rehabilitation centres; instructing athletes and military trainees; giving mobility to disabled children; and offering exercise regimes to neo-natal and post-maternity women. Although the intervention of the second World War led to the closure of most of her schools, her annual summer schools continued with barely a year missed – right up to 2019 – and, post-War, she established the Celtic Ballet Company (and later the Scottish National Ballet) which toured to the US and Europe.
Margaret Morris’ training of dance and movement teachers continues to this day, with the Margaret Morris Movement International continuing to be a vital organisation, drawing together teachers and participants of all ages and from a wide range of countries, meeting annually at the MMMI summer school in the south of England.
Margaret Morris’ chief legacy was a system of movement practicable and achievable by people of all ages and most abilities. She left us with an enjoyable way of exploring and building trust in our body’s potential and the poetry of its movements, to enhance the quality of our daily lives and extend our capacities into older age.
Margaret’s life story combines ambition, passion, conflict and gigantic personal achievement. Her ‘suffragette’ instincts, cultivated in her girlhood by her mother, stood her in fine stead. She was a feisty, formidable and flamboyant character who gave scant attention to any contemporary obstacles to her march through life. On the career and collaborative levels, she was a force to be reckoned with. On matters of the heart, she was convention-breaking. On the matter of dance and movement, she was emphatic: that the beauty of glowing good health and perfect co-ordination could be experienced by everyone, despite their different abilities.
Margaret Morris: Coming to Life will be Anna Carlisle’s eighth play for Heroica Theatre Company. It will seek to integrate music and dance/movement sequences into a life-based play. A series of development workshops - involving performers, dancers and audiences - will be devised over the next twelve months and we will keep you informed as they are scheduled.
The play is coming into creation with the support in principle of personnel at MMM International, with active support from a range of community dance/movement exponents from across the UK. We are devising a tour schedule that will encompass a broad range of dance and community centres as well as dance performance spaces across England and Scotland. Financial support will be sought from key UK arts-funding bodies, and support in kind from venue providers and individuals.
Anna Carlisle wishes to thank all those who have already assisted greatly, and are continuing to assist, with the research and development of this production. She would particularly like to thank: