Pony Performances

All that glitters (Gonna Make you a Star), Nov 2015 from Charlie Murphy on Vimeo.

Miss Murphy’s  fabulous troupe of performing ‘Pantomime Ponies’ perform specially choreographed ‘dressage’ routines.

These performances are improvised to respond to and reference a variety of themes, events and locations.

The process of their creation is highly collaborative – and often involves the participation of many different individuals, local communities, artists, dancers… and all those burning to express their ‘inner pony’.

We welcome new members and are always open to opportunities and invitations to explore new forms of costume, choreography and to conquer new musical territories..

ChrisfootageEofElephant_3673 from Charlie Murphy on Vimeo.

‘Elephant’ was commissioned by the V&A’s Museum of Childhood’s ‘Summer Festival’, July 2014.

Improvised in collaboration with Kay Walsh, Francesca Sanchez, Bernadette Maloney, Edward Hobson, Si & Maude Harvey and Jordan McKenzie.

in the summer time rough cut from Charlie Murphy on Vimeo.

‘In the Summer Time’ was developed and performed  with Kay Walsh, Francesca Sanchez, Bernadette Maloney, Edward Hobson, Maude Harvey, Laura Malacart and Patrick Seal.

Many thanks to Si Sapsford, Chris McDonald and Steve Smith for their video documentation contributions shown here

‘ Running up that Hill‘ was specially improvised to celebrate Kate Bush’s comeback at Mintfest 2014 ;

A Sunday Kind of Love from Charlie Murphy on Vimeo.

while ‘A Sunday Kind of Love’offered a new romantic dimension to the pony repertoire.

The Mintfest performances were created with Richard Dedominici, Charlie Murphy, Sarah Porthouse, Daneka Etchells, Ivan Frabrega, Cara Kirk, Ella Lovelady and Anna Symes.Many thanks to our camera team Frank Evans and James Davidson and to Jeremy Shine and the Mintfest team for their support and kind hospitality.

Our 2013 season kicked off with

Beware of the Boys   ਮੁੰਡਿਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਬੱਚ ਕੇ  responded to news events relevant to the local social demographic in Bethnal Green, and was created with: Andrew Downs, Claudia Kappenberg, Andolie Marguerite, Chris Mcdonald, Amy Tupman, Josepha Sanna, Kay Walsh, & pony in reserve Claire Sephton. 

Thanks also to Spike McLarrity for his fabulous filming, Flora Robertson for contributing fabrics and materials, The Lovely LUPA team for the invitation, Andy White & his car stereo & Punjabi MC for the inspiration.

All Shook Up was presented for  Shoreham Midsummer Festival  along with:

The Barnyard Boogie

Created with performers: Ana Lemond, Chris McDonald, Amy Tupman, Josepha Sanna, Kay Walsh Support team: Claire Sephton, Ana Cebrian, Stephen Kenny (Cameraman).

Many thanks to our  hosts: Fiona Macdonald & John Holland and to Louis Jordan & Elvis for our  musical inspiration.

Finally closing the 2013 season at Supernormal Festival (2013) we prepared :

The Way I Walk  and

The Entertainer

– adding new moves and musical genres to the Pony repetoire in collaboration with Performers: Jackie Adkins, Elena Coleman, Andrew Downs, Kate Mahoney, Chris McDonald, Cameraman : Spike, Music operator: Cat Picton-PhillipsMusical inspiration: The Cramps and Scott Joplin. Thanks also to Bernadette Maloney, Gill Ord, Keran James & The Supernormal Arts Team.

‘ Walk the Line’ , Guerilla Dressage performance for LUPA 7

The Deadwood Stage , created for Supernormal Festival 2012,  was developed in collaboration with Kay Walsh, Claire Sephton, Alistair Gentry, David Kefford, Ghassin Maasri. Musical inspiration from Doris Day, Howard Keel & Ray: Heindorf and His Orchestra.

Invited by the LUPA team to perform in Bethnal Green, we took inspiration from the markings in the car park and the potential of the garage to become a pony stable. Our performing troupe prepared their debut dressage performance, Walk the Line, for LUPA 7 in March 2012.

Our ground breaking debut troupe were : Kay Walsh, Josepha Sanna, Amy Tupman, Ratan Viswani & Anne Patterson.

Thanks also to Jen & Jon Cable for their invaluable sewing machine & materials support

Pantomime Pony Costume Trial from Charlie Murphy on Vimeo.

We are keen to develop new dressage performances and ponies for both country and urban contexts and are currently pursuing the potential to develop new forms of pantomime pony activities on an international level.

We are especially keen to develop new performances such as :

a Mariachi prance for Mexico’s ‘Day of the Dead’ celebrations

a new disco number for the Over 40’s;

a ‘Blue Grass and Cajun waltz  for the Mardi Gras in New Orleans,

new ceremonial Tea Dances  for stately homes across the UK and abroad,

and a specially choreographed appearance for London’s Trooping the Colour parade.

We invite you to release your inner pony by joining our travelling  troupe! 

No previous equestrian experience is necessary, however a good sense of rhythm and ability to follow instructions is required.

 Testimonials from participants:

“Yes, Yes, Yes!”  Andolie Marguerite, artist and writer

“I never thought that being the back end of a pony would be so exhilarating! From rehearsing the choreography together, then donning the costumes and performing in front of enthralled audiences, it’s always such a fun and rewarding experience” Chris McDonald, Advertising Creative

” Being a pony was a liberating experience – in your pony guise, you’re free to move and act in ways that you normally wouldn’t. The partnership between the front and back of the pony is wonderful for developing trust, communication and social skills. As a teacher, I’d recommend everyone tries being a pony – I know my class would benefit from the sheer fun and playfulness of it!” Amy Tupman, artist and educator

“Being a pony allowed me to get in touch with the playful part of me that is not usually part of my own art practice. For me being a pony performer had a certain gravitas and I enjoyed repeating this to friends on a regular basis “I’m busy this weekend doing a performance as the back end of a horse if you’d like to come….There is a certain ridiculousness to the act of being a pony with strong memories of childhood pursuits but oddly it does awaken a sense of pride in doing a good job of it and taking oneself as a back end of a horse really quite seriously…….memorising steps and not wanting to let the team down.  The experience changes each time and for me the most memorable performance was as a black stallion in a car park entering the space via a lock up swishing our tails to Bhangra music.It allowed me to engage with the not so grown up in us all and truly horse about in the name of Art”
Kay Walsh, artist and educator
“I have performed as one of Charlie Murphy’s panto ponies, in a front end role, in three events. From a performer’s point of view it’s like standing-in at the eleventh hour after the booked panto ponies have bolted after weeks of rehearsal but without the director seeming to have noticed.
There are other frightened performers, many, many cable ties, some bicycle helmets and gales of fabric. Fore and hind legs are selected for a shared hopeful outlook and, provided their inside leg measurements vary, are married together. 
Then comes the theoretically impossible devising and learning of a dance without really being able to see, even if you’re the front end, involving direction, synchronised steps, beats, counting bars, rhythm, entrances and exits and, get this, repeatability.
The enthusiastic response of the audience is testament to Charlie’s genius in assembling the right elements that, when thrown together with her sheer belief, create the delight and magic of theatre”. Andrew Downs, artist and performer
“Being a pony was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the collaborative choreographic process with a group of folk who were mostly new to me, with various levels of expdrience of being a pony or performing/dance. I liked the celebratory feeling of the pony troupe-people smiled when they saw us. There’s an innocence about the ponies as well as playfulness. I’d be a pony again!” Jackie Adkins, artist and pony participant, Supernormal

We welcome performance invitations, donations, musical suggestions and commissions….