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A unique theatre performance explores what touch means in an age of lockdown

From an end to handshakes between acquaintances, to dates meeting via Zoom, to grandparents unable to hold their grandchildren, COVID-19 transformed how we touch. In response to this dramatic shift in human experience, in June 2021, the London-based theatre company Dante or Die created Skin Hunger – an interactive work intended to explore touch and its vital role in our lives. Staged at a chapel in the West End in London, the show featured three actors sharing stories with touch at their centre. With the performers surrounded by cascading walls of touch-safe plastic, each of these encounters invited moments of touch between actor and audience. Skin Hunger is documented in this short film from the UK filmmaker Pinny Grylls, which features three audience members – a dementia care worker, a professor of neuroscience specialising in touch, and a former prisoner – attending the show. As they move from piece to piece, each brings their own unique perspective on touch to the performance.

You can watch a full archive recording of the live production of Skin Hunger here. An audio-described version of this film is available on YouTube.

Film by Dante or Die

Created by: Daphna Attias, Terry O’Donovan

Director: Pinny Grylls

Producer: Sophie Ignatieff

Co-producer: Anna Snowball

11 November 2021

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