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Contemporary Art Practice (MA)

Theo Dunne

a blue square with a white squiggly line in a loop sits in the middle of a blue rock background with text on it



foaming at the throat once more, a crescendo of noise and ho!

whose fault is this? that i would end up some lonely murderer

a beast of labyrinth, the goo expelled from unholy orifice, the product of a blood-stained pitchfork 

the original script says: this is not about you

only me and dying and dying again 

autoplay after end credits 

after all

what happens when tales tucked up begin to unfurl

and i must have birth after birth again 

each time truer than before?

Once this world is over, we can all go home

home being the middle rung of a rope ladder

being can you hear me when i call 

being a constant sprouting of sequels and this time around, 

chest tubes - draining 

exorcising what once stuck, resisting squash and slouch

and feeding this new life

part x of I’m not counting anymore because I’m too busy melding / coalescing 

returning through each finale so much so that structure does not hold me 

unfettered! at best! what glory, I undress

and host birthday parties year round

to thrash and thrive outside of this line

to wield my half-finishedness like a battle-axe o’erhead 

and scream out from under, songs that secrete 

here this lovely fresh raw voice 

once this world is over, we can all go home


Chain Mail 

Compression socks

Flint, blade

Shooting o shooting up

Gentle recognition

Switch, drain

Pride of place 

Paw, angel


And clean t shirts against the skin


an improbable fruition of necromancy, who came about as soon as Sunday Lunch was mentioned

can you hear me when I 

adjust accordingly, shake old dirt and wood splinters off my clothes 

apocalypse gardeners follow final girls

and to what we supposedly owe the word ‘mother’, as it has been called:

this creature bearing a creature baring teeth 

through a pub window I spy 

the back of my head that would not be known to her or him

by name nor by shape

after peeling and planting and ripping and sliding 

this body is archaic, sacred even, in infancy and novelty 

this body was dug up from earth on high and shines anew 

this body has not succumb to the tumbling track from here to there

no instead this body is building its own ground 





We gave birth in a stairwell

the intention being something along the lines of

give me something to break

give me something to break

I offer you this battlecry 

smack chest embrace

come home to me loving you


it’s my way, my way or

rubble to ribbons to another rewrite 

hath I not been whole this time around? 

when i asked to be cut open and sewn anew? 

aren’t thou scarred and weightless?

are you ready to get out now?

don’t you feel so tall? 

i went looking for serenity and am granted so 

in this body as a book I can decipher no matter which way it goes

blow blow blow

the flag

all the way from dyke to fag

and so the song sweetly sounds

cut cut cut me up! and fuck fuck fuck me up! 

cut! cut! cut me up! and fuck! fuck! fuck me up!


where here to ‘cut’ is to ceremoniously drain:

a water balloon on a hot summer pavement, an abscess in an unkempt horseshoe, a pod of sap trapped under the tree bark

the synonyms are:

get rid of


free from 



and where to ‘fuck’ is to righteously liberate: 

an under qualified male in the boardroom, a magnificent chord in a debut symphony, the homecoming after a lifetime away 

the synonyms are: 

get out from under

save one’s neck



a warbling so smooth it renders me found  


in another life i was a sailor, 

i mean to say that i was a splinter

milestones / gravestones

silly things like that

cable ties / neckerchief

floorboards / quicksand 

and thou art sick / saved

and this is getting a little too poetic for my liking

i will sink this ship on high or so help me 


smelling a dead magpie



an amoeba puddle to a rock to a human person standing up to a tree falling over in a storm to a shard of glass in the sand 

and what if that’s the welcome feeling?

come put it in the car and take it home

come fetch the glue and take us home  


Theo Dunne (they/them b.1996) is a trans maker, crafter and story weaver of alternative realities. Pulling on the thread of folklore, and hidden queer histories, Theo builds mystical environments out of found scraps. They tie loose ends together in the form of words, sounds, images, matter and movements. To translate their experiences of trans identity, grief, death and uncertainty through non-linear narratives, they choreograph happenings and moments that invite a comforting chaos. The act of building a whole new reality as a queer person is reflected in their desire to forge a theatrical, hectic, tangible segment of a world. All are welcome to visit, and perhaps stay a while.

Theo stands in a living room wearing chest drains and compression socks and vest, their head is turned to the side

A flimsy rope ladder swaying in a vacuum, post-surgery bodily fluids sitting in plastic tubes, fluctuating pangs of grief, dead-names, misheard Slipknot lyrics.

Transitioning / healing - point A / point B - beginning / end tied up with a ribbon.

Outro, Forever is a chaotically choreographed allegory of the trans body existing through apocalypse and rebirth, which takes place in a hand-made site waiting to be activated. Through an open call, I gathered a group of trans, non-binary and gender-queer performers and began workshopping movements to embody the non-linear narratives of transness, death, and a never-ending loop of apocalypses. 

This project consists of a world built from multiple elements that come together sporadically. The written part is made up of prose split up into 5 segments and scattered throughout the performance. The physical part is a haptic habitat made up of a bendy pillar and curly gate post joined in an arch from which a silk banner hangs, stating: 

Once this world is over, we can all go home

And a sprawling mess of astroturf, floor tiles, moss, tubes and branches spills onto the floor. A rope ladder in tatters appears in the space via a semi-spontaneous performance. 

The performance stems from a culmination of text and objects, gently guided by prompts and a ChoreoGraph. I made this up (I made it all up), and the graph gives hints as to when each portion of text should be inserted into the performance, and the level of energy that will be given to it. 

Influences include: Holly Blakey’s choreography in Cowpuncher My Ass, Charlie Josephine’s play I, Joan, the music of Caroline Polachek, Alex Margo Arden & Caspar Heinemann’s The Farmyard installation, Dykegeist by Eve Stainton, the writings of Ali Smith, Jordy Rosenberg and Travis Alabanza, and the awkward masculinity afforded to me by early 00’s metal music. 

This work would not be possible without the wonderful performers:

Dan Hardwell, Sans Rewatkar, Louis Thornton, Adri Sao Bento and additional support from Laura Bowels and Mithago Craze