Project Godie ‘Dance of Darkness’ sheds light on Anglo-Japanese heritage

Project Godie is a multi platform heritage programme that will take audiences on a journey through Anglo-Japanese history, celebrating the north east of England’s strong links with Japan through dance, music, film and literature.


The programme will launch with a performance that places Butoh at its heart – which is why producers Nicole Vivien Watson and Adam Denton went straight to the heart of Butoh to inform their work. Commissioning critically-acclaimed, New York Butoh artist, Vangeline (“Captivating” New York Times), Los Angeles Times, (“moves with the clockwork deliberation of a practiced Japanese Butoh artist”) and having had the opportunity to spend time with late Butoh co-founder, Kazuo Ohno, Nicole Vivien Watson, Creative Director of Newcastle-based Surface Area Dance Theatre has prepared a solid training ground for her company’s first Butoh performance. Alongside co-producer and cultural researcher Adam Denton (who will also be providing the audio backdrop through sonic performance duo Trans/Human)

Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Project Godie will take a multi-disciplinary approach, opening with a Butoh performance, that will lead to archive exhibits, commissioned essays, film and an interactive website to encourage community engagement. Additionally, community groups Search and St James Culture and Heritage Centre in the Elswick area of Newcastle will also take part in a range of events including writing and movement workshop.

Nicole Vivien Watson: “It is widely acknowledged that the region has experienced cultural and commercial exchanges with Japan, the beginnings of which can be found geographically on the banks of the River Tyne in Elswick through its shipbuilding heritage. The legacy we see today is the region’s strong business relations with Japan”.

Adam Denton: “We feel there is so much more to discover and our research activities will continue beyond the project’s launch and into the Autumn, culminating with a presence within The Discovery Museum’s permanent exhibition space in Newcastle.”