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We are very sorry to report the death of our valued and fantastic colleague and close friend, Lionel M Macauley, a central performer in Carthage/Cartagena. Due to his passing,Carthage is no longer available but you can   watch the production film by clicking the link on the SDC logo above 

   ‘Dance Theatre at its best’ David Crystal Cambridge

SDC's production of Carthage/Cartagena explores the profound effects on individuals displaced and isolated by slavery, human trafficking, and forced migration. The performance text, Carthage, is a series of ten multi-lingual letter song-poems from metaphorical places of dislocation, presented as a hybrid dance theatre piece that incorporates dance, theatre, music, and languages, both spoken and signed. The show explores the impact on those displaced and isolated by slavery, human trafficking and forced migration. The performance text Carthage is a series of ten multi-lingual letter song-poems from metaphorical places of dislocation. This beautiful work is presented by Signdance Collective as a hybrid dance theatre piece incorporating dance, theatre, music, and languages spoken and signed.

‘Dance Theatre at its best’ David Crystal Cambridge

Carthage is an ambitious, mad, wild journey through experimental prosody. It is a crazy mixture of writing styles ranging from ancient classical literature fused with high-flung beatnik flights of literary irreverence and empowered by fresh, informed, righteous anger at the poor treatment of people and the debacle of trafficking and, in turn, ultimately slavery right across the board. DAO

Signdance manages to create a genuine, unique theatrical world that lingers long in the mind after the performance is over …Beautiful to behold. Caridad Svich

The language

Carthage is a contemporary piece based on the very topical subjects of slavery and human trafficking. One of the key themes woven into the text is the power of language and the struggle for many who face adversity and as such, cannot speak the language of the oppressor as eloquently and, therefore, are rendered disenfranchised. This theme is amplified by using the sign as another language that is not widely understood. Yet invention and yearning for freedom by way of articulating a plea for freedom in a second language can render the language all the more poignant despite the fact. Carthage/Cartagena encapsulates and distils this dilemma perfectly in poetical terms. In partnership with sign language, the spoken word can deliver this communication crisis straight to the heart, bypassing all intellectual rumination and deflection and, in turn, exposing the devastating effects of slavery in no uncertain terms. David Bower, Artistic Director

The choreography.

Carthage/Cartegena" has four performers. Lionel Macauley, Isolte Avila, Signdance Collective's Cuban dance director and Welsh artistic director David Bower have developed a unique sign dance vocabulary which develops and unites Lionel Macauley’s Jersey Club Street Dance. Lionel is a 26-year-old African-American Artist/Actor/Dancer from Somerset, New Jersey, of Sierra Leonean heritage. He has recently worked with Beyoncé in her music video "Party" ft. Kanye West and J Cole.

The result of this combination, along with music from Austrian composer /performer Angelina Schwammerlin, development by Dutch and Spanish directors Joke Menssink, Beatriz Cabur, and Brazilian associate director Pedro De Senna, and final direction and Dramaturgy from Slovenian Goro Osojnik, Carthage makes for an exquisite, distinctive and comprehensible piece of work which speaks to the World.

The mix of styles and flite of bodies through contact work has enhanced and partnered the signdance theatre like none other.

Isolte Avila, Creative Director & Choreographer









Critical reviews…

These “letters from afar” are written from spaces of dislocation and speak from the borderlands of the real, a space beyond representation and language, encircling the edges of trauma. The performed text of Carthage/Cartagena drew on multiple languages, English, Spanish, Italian, BSL, and ASL, to approach this “unspeakable” trauma space through the disconnected space between languages and the gap between meanings lost in translation.

Signdance is the perfect company to interpret the piece because they move between so many registers of language: spoken, sung, and embodied in their specific fusion of dance and sign. Images of homeland, like a lemon tree, a cake, or a spinning top, were invoked as the final vestiges of subjectivity from the edges of the traumatic experience. Their approach was to interpret the loss of homeland as the structural loss of innocence. Coming of age in the blown-out wasteland of Carthage/Cartagena means grappling with the shock of total loss, a retracing of the missing pieces of self, and transformation in a state of absolute exile. The ritual structure of the choreography, a spiraling meditation, made room for the co-presence of these lost voices—the casualties of violent acts of displacement— as they were re-imagined in performance… intense… riveting. Eric Mayer-García No Passport

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 Lionel Macauley review of the Carthage Tour. The production of Carthage

'' Carthage is a great success. The four of us took it upon ourselves to put

equal input into the work. In other words, we became directors as well as artists. Every team goes through bumpy roads throughout their journey, but you never have a journey unless you

can overcome some adversity. No matter what we went through as a team, we went through it and

consistently executed every night we performed Carthage. I was also fortunate to work with a diverse cast that loves collaborating with others. They allowed me not only

to travel throughout Europe but also to build relationships with all types of artists and bring light to the disability arts for every race, gender, religion, etc. SDC has always taken care of me.

 They are some of the hardest working, unselfish people/artists I've ever worked with in my ten years of being an artist. And the journey continues...

Lionel M. Macauley  1992-2020


Lionel in Cartagena .jpg
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