Brighton Fringe preview: And the Summer Shall Follow

Alauda Dance explores the link between mental well-being and the environment in And the Summer Shall Follow at Brighton Fringe 2023.

This comprises the following two pieces:

And the Summer Shall Follow (director and choreographer: Catherine Sleeman)

Set to music by Spell Songs, And the Summer Shall Follow draws from the natural rhythms of light and seasons.

The piece, inspired by Seasonal Affective Disorder and the way people experience natural and environmental change, also turns the focus on human-led climate change and its impact on humanity.

TRASH (director and choreographer: Liezl de Wouters)

Choreographer Liezl de Wouters uses emotional blankets of candy wrappers and a chain of litter to accompany the dancers in her richly metaphorical piece.

TRASH is a visual tour of how our well-being and the way we handle it can have a profound impact on not just our own lives but also our wider environment.

Where: Caravanserai, Luna Parc

When: 6 May, 3 pm


Promotional image for And the Summer Shall Follow

We caught up with Catherine to find out more about this show.

What’s the best thing about being part of Brighton Fringe?

Participating in such a varied programme of events in which there is such creative freedom and openness is really exciting.

As a recent dance graduate, it’s a great framework for me to explore and present my ideas and an opportunity to learn and get inspiration from other artists.

Your show, And The Summer Shall Follow, is a double bill of dance exploring the link between personal and planetary well-being. Where did the inspiration come from for your pieces?

I’ve grown up observing this social narrative of two parallel issues – a climate crisis and a mental health crisis – and by observing these two concerns side by side I began to think that there has to be an area of overlap somewhere, where one feeds the other, and vice versa.

Promotional image for And the Summer Shall Follow

Climate change, and how we as human inhabitants of the planet contribute to it, is a hot topic right now with opinions on both sides sometimes becoming heated. Do you think it is too late to make a difference?

In all honesty, I think we are well past the point at which we should have started making big changes to how we live and interact with our environment – we’re already seeing the effects of climate-related changes to our weather and wildlife. But even tiny actions have the potential to ‘make a difference’ and so I don’t think we should give up on trying just yet!

Many shows currently tackle the mental health space, often with humour. How do you see dance shows developing which focus on these themes?

As someone who has lived with, and overcome mental illness, I think mental health will always be part of any story I choose to tell. The amount of art and performance that deals with mental health at the moment speaks to how widespread mental health struggles are, particularly on the back of covid lockdowns.

Because dance doesn’t hang on verbal communication or language, there’s a sense of universality and openness that feel appropriate for such a diverse and broad topic, while emotional intimacy of live dance performance addresses the intensely personal nature of mental health.