Go Deeper

Let Headlong give new meaning to your “home theater”

Posted December 22nd, 2011

Most of us are familiar with the timeless device used in comedy scenes where the character, falsely believing to be alone at home, spontaneously busts a move, often half-clothed and singing along into an invisible microphone, before realizing that the stunt had been public the whole time, much to their own embarrassment and much to the delight of the witnesses on scene and (sometimes) in the audience.

You can be that character. And maintain your dignity.

Headlong Dance Theater (Red Rovers, 2011 Live Arts Festival; more., 2009 Live Arts Festival) is seeking four Philadelphia households to participate in This Town Is A Mystery, a groundbreaking new performance project that will premiere during the 2012 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. The project will journey into four households, transforming each home into a theater and the household members into performers.

Headlong is looking for people eager to partner with professional artists in a real artistic process, but prior experience and professional training are not required. Combining movement, stories, music, and video, Headlong company members will work with each group to create a unique show that harnesses the talents of the participants and shares the stories of their households and neighborhoods.This Town Is A Mystery

“Who lives in Philadelphia?” asks Andrew Simonet, a Headlong co-founder and co-director. “Every home is its own universe. We are fascinated with the epic stories and the everyday rituals that live in every home. What mysteries reside in these households, and what conversations might happen if we open our doors a little? We hope to hear from households in all corners of Philadelphia and from people who are excited about sharing a cultural experience and are ready to take on this adventure.”

“Citizen dancers” are non-professional movers and shakers of any age, background, and ability who are willing to commit to a short but structured rehearsal process leading to performances in September 2012. All types of homes are considered: apartment, row home, trinity, big or small, fancy or modest. Likewise, all types of households who live together and eat together, regardless of family status, will be considered for participation.

During performances, 10 audience members will come to the house to watch a 20-25 minute show. This intimate experience will continue with dinner shared by performers and audience. Households will receive a stipend for their participation.

Applications will be available online or in person during several scheduled community events. For more information, visit or contact Andrew Simonet at or (215) 767-6881.

A Do-It-Yourself-With-Headlong option will also be offered for households that are not chosen but still wish to create a performance of their own. Details on the DIY kit will be announced in 2012.

This Town Is A Mystery has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance, The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation.