Where: New Steine, St James’s Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 1PB
What is it?
Interactive, alternative, entertaining and totally life affirming, The Unfair is an immersive world from acclaimed artist and performance maker, Ellie Harrison.
At a time when there appears to be many reasons to be angry at the world, visitors to The Unfair can let off steam and release their wrath through a selection of specially created and artistically curated fun and games, from ‘angry Jenga’ to ‘passive- aggressive note writing’ via ‘boxing karaoke’.
The fourth part of The Grief Series, a series of enjoyable installations and artworks based around the seven stages of grief, The Unfair has been conceived by Harrison in collaboration with artists Adam Young, a performer from Leeds, and professional performance designer Bethany Wells.
Created to help people work through issues surrounding anger, irrespective of whether in direct relation to loss, The Unfair features seven distinctive ‘stalls’, each offers audiences a contrasting approach to taking out their frustrations. Visitors can, for example, ‘Let off steam’ in the company of a punchbag and their favourite angry song, or literally ‘Bottle it up’ by writing down their most personal feelings which are then bottled, sealed and kept in a vault, never to be read or opened again; completely without judgement.
Each stage in The Grief Series takes a distinct form and Harrison works with different artists and specialists to ensure there is an authenticity and originality to each piece. Harrison’s work through stages one to three have been well received by critics and audiences.
Audiences of The Unfair when it was performed in 2015 commented that it was ‘Better than therapy!’, ‘a great experience for children and adults and shows children how to express their anger in different ways’, with many realising for the first time that they were angry, or quite how much they ‘needed’ the catharsis provided by The Unfair.
The Unfair is an original and engaging opportunity for people to channel any negative perceptions and feelings surrounding death into a more positive energy, that can be used in a more productive way. Professionals working in the field have found The Grief Series to be valuable in their practice, and Harrison has performed at conferences and trade events, engaging directly with those dealing with death and bereavement in their working lives.