Cotton, a captivating exploration through dance and sound, illuminating processes of cotton production in Lancashire.

We are so excited to present our brand new documentary film which follows the making and touring of ‘Cotton’

This new work is intertwined with traditional Lancashire clog dancing, mesmerizing sound design and intricate choreography. Performers discover the working conditions in Lancashire’s Satanic mills and the lives of mill workers at the turn of the century.

The stunning costume design is by Katie Duxbury and beautifully reflect the era but with a modern twist. The inspiration for the work came from Jenny’s fascination with her family history and their working lives in the mills. Her great grandmother Ada was born in 1901 and lived in Great Harwood. She was a piecer and as such she would have been responsible for piecing the together the cotton roving on enormous spinning mules. Jenny’s Grandmother Winnifred worked as a weaver and this sparked Jenny’s interest in the continuous rhythms of the looms.

Watch the story of Cotton (2017)

Within the work you will hear original Lancashire poetry which has been reimagined by Sid Calderbank, a Lancashire dialect historian.

Within the soundtrack for ‘Cotton’, there are multiple layers of cotton mill machinery reflected intricately with detailed and complex choreographic movement. ‘Cotton’ is woven with rhythms and a very physical movement vocabulary, however the flow to the work also has an interlude of traditional Lancashire clog dancing, a Lancashire Waltz, choreographed by Sam Sherry himself. Clogs were the preferred footwear in cotton mills and the sounds of the machinery were often replicated by workers creating complicated rhythms with their feet. Within the work there is a particular clog dancing step featured called an ‘Arkwright’ who as we know invented the spinning Jenny.

“Fresh, beautifully performed and choreographed, wonderfully paced and nuanced, and had such a strong emotional impact. It’s rare to see a daytime, outdoor performance in a public space which can hold the audience theatrically”

George Harris, Mirador

“This is the first time I have ever interpreted contemporary dance, there is so much detail, right down to the spindles,
I loved it all”

Peter Sweetmore