I have always had a complicated relationship towards British patriotism. On the one hand, I know all the words to land of hope and glory - and it has even brought tears to my eyes. On the other hand, I would feel uncomfortable with displaying a union jack. I would feel hesitant to wear one, and even more uncomfortable to wave one. And yet I wonder why? Why does it feel like it’s not all right to be proud of the country I come from, and what is so wrong with feeling patriotic? There seems to be an innate stigma attached towards people who love their country to be the same as racist and narrow minded islanders, but why should this negative connotation eclipse being allowed to feel patriotic... So..more tea anyone?
Flag is a performance exploring national identity politics - including images associated with British patriotism such as Winston Churchill, the spice girls new labour era of british optimism, and the iconic 'keep calm and carry on' brand. These images are re-assessed to find out what they mean in a contemporary context. In Flag I want to explore how much British national identity is reliant on nostalgia for the past. It is also an exploration of the emotions that patriotism stirs within us - whatever nation we belong to, what is it that makes us sing along - and can inspire someone to live or die for the love of their country?
This performance was originally supported by the Rich Mix Radical Ideas commissions and since then performed at The Rich Mix, 2016 and Camden People's Theatre 18th and 19th April 2017.
There's something brave and fine - and humorous, too - about her outpourings for such an emblem of a still united Britain - The Herald
Tossing chips from her breast in the name of Queen and Country..Dye's navigation of nationalism through a self interested celeb persona is especially potent - Only Skin
Most of what the audience learnt wasn't what they were told directly, but how they responded to certain requests.. **** Female Arts
Performed at Camden People's Theatre, In Between Time Bristol as part of their New Bloods platform, and Buzzcut festival Glasgow.
50 minute long performance, suitable for black box/studio theatre spaces, but is also adaptable to non-traditional spaces.
Video and photographs by Daniel Hughes. IBT photography Paul Blakemore
photographs at NTS by Beth Chalmers, Tron theatre - Mihaela Bodlovic