Posted: September 18, 2017


As you may have seen from the photos and trailer for The Farm’s Cockfight, there’s a full on physical dance theatre​ ‘tie dance’ at the end. So, as the company get through a number of ties during the tour, ​we need audiences around the country to help us by donating their ties!

Simon Harper, PR for Dance Touring Partnership, spoke to the company to get some background on what is needed in a tie for it to make the grade and appear in the show…

How many ties will the company get through during the tour – rehearsals, stand-by ties and performances?
The performers go through 2 ties per night plus rehearsal ties. So for the UK tour they will use 26 ties for the performances and a total of around 42 ties for shows and rehearsals. That’s assuming nothing goes wrong​! ​

We have had ties snap during shows and needed to get out spares we keep in our filing cabinet.

Style of ties
We take any, but we prefer ones that your would feel comfortable doing a double windsor knot with. We need the stitching to be strong as it takes the performers’ ​whole body weight. So if they are originals from the 60’s or earlier, they usually aren’t strong enough, even though they look really good. We do our shopping at ​charity​ shops so we’ve developed an over the shoulder testing technique which involves holding the tie stretched between two hands, putting it over your head and then hunching the upper back to put strain on all the seams. Any creaking and the tie doesn’t make the final cut. It’s a rigorous audition process​! ​

Any specific measurements
No we adapt our performance to the ties.

What ​do ​the ties go through so the audience understand the physicality of the piece
The two ties are tied together with a double hitch knot that prevents slippage. The double windsor at the neck also has the same effect so when tension is exerted the knot doesn’t close around the neck. That would be bad.

​Very bad! ​

The two performers then proceed to use their body weight as ballast to fling the other body across the stage, drag it over the floor or throw it over tables and filing cabinets.

At the end of the script for the spoken word of Cockfight the section is called the ‘tie dance’ so how would the performers (​Gavin Webber ​and Joshua Thomson) explain the use of ties in this section, the final section of the work – how did the idea to use the ties come about?
The ties reference the idea that we all impact each other. Our actions have consequences and specifically in this work (about male power and ageing) the consequences happen when the older man’s last stand is to tie himself to the younger one who has overthrown him. He may go down but he will surely take the other with him. At the very least he won’t be forgotten in a hurry. The younger one will carry the weight of him for the rest of his days.

If you think you have the tie for us, please drop it in to Stage Door at one of the theatres on the UK Cockfight Tour and see whether it makes the ‘cut’ – you could see your tie performing onstage alongside professional dancers Gavin Webber & Joshua Thomson!

Find out more about the show and book tickets for your local venue at www.CockfightTour.co.uk