International Collaboration with the NY Butoh Institute

Surface Area Dance Theatre’s 10th Anniversary Celebration is fast approaching and as part of the evening, Vangeline founder of the New York Butoh Institute will perform the reimagining of Project Godie – Firstly performed at All Saint’s Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, on the 12 and 13 of August 2016.

“I am thrilled and honored to have the tremendous opportunity to collaborate with Surface Area Dance Theatre and return to Newcastle upon Tyne this year, in the spirit of cultural exchange and friendship between people. I am also grateful for this new opportunity to share the art form butoh with the community and support the creation of new works.” Vangeline.

Photo credit: Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts, NYC (January 2016) by Darial Sneed.


Surface Area Dance Theatre in collaboration with Greek Deaf Theatre

Company Directors, Nicole Vivien Watson and Paul Miller will begin a cultural exchange with Greek Deaf Theatre – Athens. Nicole and Paul will be present in Athens with the company from February – March 2016. The purpose of the visit, is to begin determining a better understanding of international sign language, international Deaf theatre and a wider cultural understanding of the Greek Deaf community. This giving Nicole and Paul opportunity to directly connect with Greek Deaf participants, by sharing experience and knowledge.

With thanks to Arts Council England – Artist International Development Fund and the British Council



Deficiency of Deaf Access Within the Arts

Company Directors, Nicole Vivien Watson and Paul Miller receive support from Community Development Foundation to develop an action plan that will highlight the deficiency of Deaf access within the arts.

Together, Nicole and Paul will consult with the Deaf community of the North East, to decide upon practical actions and make positive changes. Read More

Nicole Completes British Sign Language Course

Company Director, Nicole Vivien Watson has successfully completed a Level 4, British Sign Language course. ” Sincere thanks to my teacher Nathalie at CityLit – Covent Garden, for being so generous and open to talk about her experiences and Deaf Culture. Thanks also to Dancers Career Development and The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund for support and continued encouragement”

Sands Hands

Over the past seven years, Nicole has activated collaborations with No Neck Blues Band, :zoviet*france: and others to impressive effect. She remembers a performance at Judson Memorial Church – NYC, Molly performing a solo Nicole choreographed, Mico and Dave Nuss accompanying live. Their choice of instruments were, a singing bowl and a rope encrusted with shells. The sounds made, were in essence, up – lifting.

Nicole is inquisitive and listens. She has studied British Sign Language for four years and has worked with the Deaf community for two years. Nicole is very aware that the ears are not the only instrument that hears. Her venturing into recording the sounds she makes, is simply a way to remember how sound feels.

The first recording, Sands Hands, is a recording of paper, pressure and tension.

Thank you for reading.

Creation of new work

Dance City

Surface Area Dance Theatre receives further investment from Dance City

Nicole will collaborate with three artist to devise and perform Raft. Premiering in the Autumn to coincide with Dance City’s 2015 Birthday Celebrations.

Japan Local Government Centre

Links between Japan and the North East of England were celebrated as part of the ‘UK-JAPAN 150’ year of events in 2008 to mark the 150th anniversary of Japan-UK relations. Now the region’s vibrant historic links with Japan are being explored through a cultural research project which aims to tell the story of five young Japanese men who came to Tyneside to research shipbuilding in the late 19th century, never to return.

Japanese Navy

The project is the brainchild of Newcastle-based researchers Nicole Vivien Watson and Adam Dentone, who were fascinated by the story of the five young researchers from the Japanese Navy who visited Tyneside to investigate shipbuilding methods in the late 19th century but ultimately came to die on English soil rather than return home. The five are buried in Newcastle’s Elswick St John’s Cemetery, overlooking the Armstrong works where several Japanese navy ships were built to order during this time. Several of the graves currently lack headstones and the pair hopes to raise funds and identify suitable partners to provide fitting memorials.

British Sign Language

We have reflected upon how our resources are best serving and have therefore prioritised our community work to benefit young people and adults who are Deaf and are hard of hearing. Evaluations collated over the past two years indicate that our work with participants from the Deaf community has a wider social impact and potential for permanent transformative change. With support from The Royal Ballet Benevolent Fund and Dancers Career Development, Nicole Vivien Watson now studies Level 4 BSL in London.

Successful Delivery

Our most recent work with the Deaf community, includes the successful delivery of a thirty two week program involving hard to engage groups, that include disabled and Deaf participants living in wards of Newcastle upon Tyne, classified by our council as being economically underdeveloped and deprived of cultural activity. In total thirty people benefited from the project, aged 18 – 45. The activity was a user led program steered by four community volunteers, which has now evolved into a youth action group and is an ongoing priority for our company.