To Kiss a Sailor

To Kiss a Sailor – Showreel , 2010 from Charlie Murphy on Vimeo.

This evocative love story of a sailor and his landlocked lover unfolds through breath-taking aerial and dance sequences that use all the creative potential of the ship’s rig as a dramatic stage.

Choreographed to an evocative, percussive soundtrack, the Sailor and his Lover perform awe-inspiring climbs and tumbling drops from yards over the water- amplifying the struggles of love, while the ship is slowly dressed with dramatic colourful streamers.

Interpreting imagery and facts from real life stories and love letters from the age of sail through to the present day, this dramatic performance celebrates the dramatic romances and tragedies experienced by all those touched by life at sea -from the first flirtatious steps on the quayside to chivalrous duets in the ratlines, the aerialist lovers perform a stunning array of counter-weight flying and corde lisse climbing and tumbling over the water.

Mirroring each other’s moves as they cartwheel and glide throughout the rig, the lovers continually try to meet but are repeatedly pulled apart through the challenges of distance, timing and bad weather……

This first scratch performance was commissioned by Walk the Plank / Liverpool City Council for ‘On the Waterfront’ festival, Liverpool, 2010. Produced by Julian Rudd (Remarkable Productions ) and facilitated by High Performance Rigging, Mersey Heritage Trust’s team and their ship ‘Zebu’, Square Sail‘s team and ship ‘Phoenix’.

Some of the choreographic material included in this show was developed in the research and development of a larger -scale project, which was supported by an individual artist grant from Arts Council England (London) , LIPA, The Circus Space, artsadmin and Mersey Heritage Trust.

Working in consultation with expert riggers and Tall Ship crews, our team can rig a variety of different aerial routes through different ships’ rigs to animate their structures and engage a broad range of audiences.


Earlier this year we publicised an aerial commission to be performed in the rigging of a Tall Ship, for the On the Waterfront Festival in Liverpool. There were a number of submissions of which Charlie Murphy’s proposal for “To Kiss a sailor “ was selected.The resulting piece of work was well devised and presented. It was loved by the audiences, and our peers who were performing at the same festival.The company were great to work with coping well with the challenging conditions and an unusual environment.

John Wassell Producer Walk the Plank

Charlie responded to the brief well, and staged a performance that was appropriate to the setting – Liverpool’s On the Waterfront weekend; high quality – with strong performances from the cast of two; and interesting to watch, once in the rigging of the ship, in terms of the aerial content. It would be good to see her develop the performance, as I’m sure there is a market for To Kiss A Sailor.

Liz Pugh, Walk the Plank

I was fortunate to be able to see your performance on the Sunday and certainly the immediate response from the audience must have been pleasing…

Judith Feather
Head of Events, Liverpool City Council

“Wow great achievement. Hope we’ll be seeing you at the Greenwich and Docks fest next year “

Cathy Wooley
Participation Officer,Southbank Centre, London