The premier of the vacuum cleaner's latest work, EXPOSURE in collaboration with Sascha Gilmour, Dr Emma Young, Rhiannon Armstrong, Dr Cecilia Wee, Fox Irving and Newham Health Workers. The production will be running from 14 to 30 October 2021 as part of the Newham Unlocked & Royal Docks Originals Festivals.
During the Autumn of 2020, the artist 'the vacuum cleaner' filmed 47 of Newham’s health workers, from ward clarks to the medical director. He asked a series of simple questions about their experiences of the first wave of the pandemic.
“What makes Newham, Newham?”
“What was the most challenging moment during the first wave?”
“And what was your most beautiful?”
Hello. I’m James, an artist and mental health activist. I make art about themes like mental health, and how we care for each other.
Filmed with one camera in an informal and honest way in the artist studio, we learnt about the complexity of each health professional's experiences. The challenges they faced, the compromises forced upon them and yet the beauty in caring for their patients and each other. We heard about the reality of how these workers coped (and didn’t) and how this compares to the official narrative of ‘heroes’ we hear so much about. Their stories reveal their moral struggles, resulting in mental health challenges and frustrations, but they also speak of their resilience in teamwork and peer support, and their hopes for the Newham community they serve.
'the vacuum cleaner and designer Sascha Gilmour would like to share some of what we caught on camera and what we've learnt with you.
join us for the premiere and following presentations of EXPOSURE. The production will be running as part of the Newham Unlocked & Royal Docks Originals Festivals from 14 to 30 October 2021.
For an evening of film, storytelling, and original music and sounds. An honest and powerful documentation of the first wave of the Covid 19 pandemic from the perspective of Newham’s health workers, from the vacuum cleaner one of the most significant and exciting artists working in the UK. A evening to remember the details of a truly extraordinary time, population and place.
FreeTicketed Performance - Subject to availability, please book in advance as capacity is limited for each performance, allowing for social distancing, all performances will be relaxed and both venue spaces are wheelchair accessible.
Captioned performance on 20th October 7:45pm at Applecart Arts
Audio Description 21st October 7:45pm at Applecart Arts Audio Description by Tony McBride at VocalEyes. Touch Tour will be available before the 7:45pm show on 21 October.
We will encourage audience members to wear face masks.
Content to consider: Due to the subject matter the production contains content that some may find distressing. Death from Covid 19, Mental Health, Pregnancy Loss, Racism.
Age guidance : For this production is 14+. Run time: 2 hrs
The stories are quietly devastatingStage : https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/exposure-applecart-arts-newham-unlocked-festival
Filmed, written, performed and created by ‘the vacuum cleaner’ aka James Leadbitte
In collaboration with Dr Emma Young, Dr Cecilia Wee and Newham’s Health Workers.
Design and Performance. Sascha Gilmour
Sound Design. Rhiannon Armstrong.
Music Performance. New YVC.
Audience Facilitation. Fox Irving.
Lead Interview Producer and Assistant Editor. Becky Sumerling.
Interview Producer. Kai-Oi Joyce Yung.
Live Event Producer. Jesse Bateson with Beki Bateson and Stratford Circus.
EXPOSURE has been created with support by Arts Council England. Newham Council, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Royal Docks Team, Stratford Circus, and Wellcome Collection. The production will be running part of the Newham Unlocked & Royal Docks Originals Festivals.
Image Credit: Richard Pelham
About the Artist and Company
the vacuum cleaner is the name of a UK based artist who makes candid, provocative and playful art about the world being messed up.
Drawing on his experience of mental health disability, we work with young people, health professionals and vulnerable adults to challenge how mental health problems are understood, treated and experienced.
With roots in activism and radical art, the vacuum cleaner has created one-man interventions and large-scale actions as well as performance, installation and film. His work has been shown in galleries, theatres, hospitals and schools and has appeared on streets and in public spaces internationally.