A man sitting with an arrow in his hand leaning against a large heart, half sunk into the grass, with another man staring through a window in the heart
Photo Credit: Zoe Manders

Guest Blog: New Art Club

Monday 4 October 2021

In the run up to their return to Warwick Arts Centre, New Art Club’s Pete Shenton discusses their latest work, Cupid’s Revenge, and reflects on their 23 year career.

New Art Club is the name for the collaboration between myself and Tom Roden. We have been making shows together since 1998 and have toured our work in the UK, Europe, Australia, USA and China. Our work has been performed in big fancy international comedy festivals, and tiny little rooms in pubs; at places such as Sadlers Wells and Covent Garden and even once at Wembley stadium.    

We have often been described as the funny men of dance, or the arty men of comedy, or some version of this kind of thing, but none of that is really what we are. We didn’t intend to be hard to define, we just made the shows that we wanted to make, and they turned out the way that they did.   Our work is playful and silly and serious and sad.

We hope you are as excited about coming to the Warwick Arts Centre to see some shows as we are about getting back on tour. 

It has seemed like a lifetime since we made and premiered our new show. 

In all honesty this show also feels like it is a lifetime in the making. 

Cupid’s Revenge will be the 17th show that we have made together. It leans on our early years as a dance company as well as our middle years as a comedy double act, but is really a performance about love and life and loss.

It feels like it has really opened up new creative possibilities for us as we move into the next stage of our work together.   

It is full of words and movement and images in some kind of order that seems to work. It is sometimes funny and sometimes moving. Our way of working is to begin with accepting the chaos of life and then digging into something we find until it begins to take shape. This one started out with the myth of Cupid and Psyche, and some of that is still in there, but it definitely found it’s own form somewhere in the process. 

I don’t what to give too much away but we have had some amazing responses from audiences - we knew we were onto something good when in an early preview show a lovely old chap from Hull came up to us after the show and said: “It really made me think about my own life.”   

This comment gave us the confidence that what we were doing was worth pursuing. It has been an epic challenge as makers and as performers, but it really feels worth it. 

The thing we have been trying to do with this show is to make something that provides space for the people in the audience to reflect on their own relationship with love and loss. To consider their own lives whilst engaging in a wild entertaining and poetic rampage through the concept of love.   

It has been amazing to work on this project with Designer Will Holt, who has brought a new visual sensibility to our work, and with composer Gareth Williams, who has produced a score full of absolutely phenomenal pieces of music. 

If you are considering making this your first return to the theatre, then thanks for taking that step. It means a lot. We really hope that we can bring you a memorable experience. 

Pete Shenton
New Art Club

* New Art Club’s Cupid’s Revenge visits Warwick Arts Centre on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 October 2021. Book Now.