– its not a thing to put in a box –
Dog Kennel Hill Project is the coming together of Ben Ash, Henrietta Hale and Rachel Lopez de la Nieta. In 2004 they each had careers as contemporary dancers, but were hungry for something more. They decided to form a lab to support and challenge each other artistically and we collaborated that year on our first piece – a Place Prize commission – under the Dog Kennel Hill Project umbrella title. Since then it has been a slowly evolving journey characterised by the need to trust, respect, re-learn, deconstruct, push, be bold, throw everything away, move away from the theatre, understand why they are doing this, understand commitment, find joy, come back to the theatre and fall in love with ideas.
The company is currently based in Hertfordshire.
Their work is characterized by its subtle wit, resistance to definition and ability to surprise and intrigue. It has been described as intriguing, slippery, mind-blowing and laugh-out-loud funny. They see it as both formalist and anarchic.
Their creative practice is stimulated by rubbing up against conventional preconceptions structures and expectations.
They see their work not just as making single products but as a series of relationships, negotiations and experiments. These have been collected under umbrella titles that are called “projects’ from which many shows, productions, screenings, talks, etc. can emerge.
Projects generally have a socio-political, historical or philosophical starting place and involve practices of meeting people, moving, shifting locations, interviewing, writing and framing things that exist naturally. They usually span a few years and inform many of the shows, commissions and education work like a web of intersecting pathways.
‘Each of us has a personal and shared need to question what is assumed, expected or somehow fixed. We are living in a world that feels it is becoming tighter and forced into easy explanations and knowledge. We are interested in putting ourselves in situations that we might not know or understand. Our work is a continual negotiation, a living thing, which means that there are times when it is difficult to define what that is, or to do so risks compromising it.’