Gemma makes theatre shows, on both epic and intimate scale, that surprise and challenge audiences - particularly with radical use of spaces. Her experience has been built up over a wide range of work over nearly 20 years, as a director, performer and particularly as a founder of SHUNT - 'The daddies of immersive theatre' TIME OUT.
Her most recent production - KINGDOM COME for the RSC - is part of an ongoing project of work on the English Civil War.
This is bold, brilliant work. An almost orgiastic visual experience.
THE STAGE ****
Gemma Brockis and Wendy Hubbard's ambitious production for the RSC unfolds like a series of old masters. A dense, playful evening that chimes with the times.
THE GUARDIAN ****
Kingdom Come Images: Hugo Glendinning
In 2000, SHUNT created their first award-winning immersive shows, plunging the audience into the heart of the experience: THE BALLAD OF BOBBY FRANCOIS and THE TENNIS SHOW. The work produced a shock wave.
An extraordinary piece of theatre. Radical. Original. Incredible.
By 2002, they were drawing international audiences to their home in Bethnal Green for a 9 month run of DANCE BEAR DANCE. Among the crowd was Nicholas Hytner, soon to be artistic director of the National Theatre.
It really felt, watching Dance Bear Dance, like something new was happening... It was, in the best way possible, completely mind-blowing. It was strange, wild, beautiful and funny, and it conjured astonishing things out of the darkness. I've never seen anything like it.
Tropicana Images: Lizzie Clachan, Kevo Thompson. Perspective Installation: Tom Duggan
Never settling, SHUNT's next project transformed their show home (now a huge network of arches under London Bridge Station) into a curated arts nightclub. The iconic SHUNT LOUNGE ran 4 nights a week for 4 years (2006-10) and hosted over 1,000 artists, indelibly imprinting itself on the London arts scene. Gemma co-managed the club, curated events and created work specially for the environment. For footage and info on the Lounge - SEE HERE.
In 2007, Gemma started taking audiences out of the recesses of SHUNT into real landscapes. With SILVIA MERCURIALI, she made PINOCCHIO, in which an audience of 3 was squeezed into the back of a Fiat and driven through the city. Real car radio blended into fake news. Street sounds into an epic car chase. And sunsets and city skylines were transformed into filmic scenography.
This work has toured to 4 continents. For more details go to CLOSE-UP.
Pinocchio Images: Britt Hatzius, Susanne Dietz. Monument: Gemma Brockis
In 2009, with the Lounge in full swing, SHUNT took a second London Bridge venue - a warehouse in which they built a two storey victorian 'machine'. This housed their next show - MONEY - that ran for 14 months.
MONEY makes you feel buried alive – psychologically, physically and sociologically. I mean this as praise... I find it hard to imagine any other play about finance having the visceral impact of this one.
BEN BRANTLEY - NEW YORK TIMES
After leaving their London Bridge home, SHUNT collective entered a new phase, working both as individual artists and coming together in collaborations. They continue to challenge audience expectation - in theatres, in total darkness, in busy stations, on a jetty in the middle of the Thames...
The Boy Image: Susanne Dietz. Money & Dance Bear Dance Images: Lizzie Clachan.
As well as touring new shows with Silvia, Gemma co-directed THE ARCHITECTS (2013) and THE BOY WHO CLIMBED OUT OF HIS FACE (2014), and collaborated with WIRETAPPER (2015/16). Other ongoing collaborations by SHUNT founders can be accessed through the project archive.