Hugh Hughes and Hoipolloi head to Brighton Dome
7 Nov 2012
Hugh Hughes returns to Brighton this autumn with his new show Stories from an Invisible Town; a performance that sees the award-winning ‘emerging artist from Wales’ delve into his family history and explore lost childhood memories. He chatted to us about the show and the power of stories for this month’s podcast.
“If you had met us 13 months ago you couldn’t have thought it was possible,” laughs Hughes.
“My brother and sisters relationship had broken down so badly they weren’t even talking to each other. That’s why I ended up combing my memory project with working with them. I wanted to see if there was way of resolving the conflict that existed… and that’s basically what the performance is about.”
The ‘memory project’ in question is his new show Stories from an Invisible Town. Created following a trip to his childhood home to help his mother move house, the project sees Hughes reminisce, explore and reflect on his upbringing in the Welsh town of LLangefni with the help of his brother Derwyn and sister Delyth on stage.
A vast, specially created online archive of multimedia stories and memories found at www.invisibletownstories.co.uk runs alongside the project – something Hughes hopes will add an extra dimension to his performance on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 November in Brighton Dome Studio Theatre.
“What’s great about the website is that you can lay [the stories] out in particular way that doesn’t necessary add up in a linear way at all. You’re discovering bits and pieces as you go through it – it’s quite an exciting thing just to hunt around,” he says.
“It made us understand where the heavier, more substantial events occurred in our family life – what was significant and what wasn’t. It was a process of sifting through these memories to hone down on trying to actually tell the story of our family.”
Brighton audiences last saw Hughes in town during Brighton Festival 2008 with his award-winning show Story of a Rabbit; a physical, playful, hilarious and genuinely moving personal account of his father’s death. His other shows - Floating and 360 - have also focussed on personal experiences with Hughes’ life, and Stories from an Invisible Town looks to continue this trend.
“I believe that is my function to communicate and share the experiences in my life to see how the correlate and add up to the experiences you’ve had in yours,” he explains.
“What we’re trying to do is offer a way of sharing the more intimate things that happen in family life. I think that’s what people enjoy – I think they’re taken by surprise that suddenly they can join in a little bit with the story-telling.”
To hear the full interview with Hugh Hughes, listen to the November 2012 podcast.