The Best of Both Worlds: A Busker’s Opera

Dates and Times

Fri 25 March at 9pm

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Presented by Ali Matthews & Leo Burtin

Stealthily scrounging your tax pennies, your guilty scratch card spendings, Matthews & Burtin are funded escapees. She from the cutthroat, self-made, individualist American dream. He from lukewarm, protectionist, socialist France. By air and by sea, and both to the best of both worlds: the UK.

Using songs, sales pitches, autobiography and live audience experiments, Burtin & Matthews take stock of what the UK values now and how we go about valuing it. The Best of Both Worlds: A Busker’s Opera is Matthews + Burtin’s first collaboration.

Informed by their backgrounds as expatriates, the piece takes as its starting point the perceived and real differences between the socioeconomic models in France and the USA, and how the UK seemingly meets in the middle. Through the project, they have investigated the performativity of street market trading (including busking), barter, ‘pay what you decide’ approaches, time banking, and out-sourcing. In making this performance, they wish to playfully utilise and disrupt these elements, in the hope of leaving audiences with new perspectives on what they value, and how they value it.

Using the archetypes of the 1930s French street singer and the 1950s American door-to-door salesman, the performance blends poetic & verbatim text, data, and song. Part-cabaret, part lecture and part participatory experiment, the sum total of these parts is a contemporary spin on the good old-fashioned workingclass music-hall.

The development of this performance has been supported by Arts Council England, ARC and the University of Salford.

The Best of Both Worlds: A Busker’s Opera is supported by East Street Arts.

Part of Sprint Festival 2016: London’s biggest and best festival of the newest, most adventurous theatre from across the UK and beyond.

Catch The Best of Both Worlds: A Busker’s Opera in a double bill with [The Machine] on the same evening. Two shows for just £16!

About the Artists

Ali Matthews is an American-born performance maker, researcher and singer, whose practice has recently focused on issues of value, labour and service economy.
Leo Burtin is an artist, creative producer and writer. His recent works have utilised food, and largely involved opening up spaces to explore memory and death & dying.

@olamerino | @bitchuationist| | 

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