Pop Culture and Identity in Radical Performance Movement Workshop with ‘The Famous’ Lauren Barri Holstein

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this workshop will be postponed until further notice. Please feel free to email joel@sussexdancenetwork.co.uk at any time with queries about this workshop or to express your interest for updates.

About the Event

The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein leads this dance and performance-based workshop aimed at young women, exploring feminism and pop culture, through a body-based, radical performance practice.

In the current political climate, misogyny is on the rise. Women today receive confusing messages about their own representation – through magazines, through faux-feminist appropriations by celebrities, through social media – in this workshop, you will work with Holstein to explore this difficult terrain.

We will learn about contemporary, radical performance, art and dance practices that challenge our understanding of what dance can be, and push ourselves to explore our bodies as both material for creating, as well as material for meaning. We will see more clearly the way pop culture – pop stars, celebrity culture, social media, Youtube, and other things I’m too old to understand – has influenced our sense of self, and our relationship to our own bodies, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, class, ability, politics, etc.

This is going to be an intense, risky, weird, silly, inspiring, and demanding workshop, which will get you moving, feeling and thinking deeply. Get ready for some weirdness.

We are particularly interested in creating a space in which contemporary feminism can be critiqued for its ‘whiteness’ and its privilege, and we aim to bring together young women/female-identifying young people from diverse racial and economic backgrounds to participate in this workshop.

This workshop is suitable for young women (trans, cis, and non-binary inclusive),  with an interest in, or questions about, feminism, aged 15-18.

What platform is it on?


Who is it for? 

Female-identifying young people aged 15-18. No specific dance experience required. An interest in feminism and performance is desired.

How much is it?


How do I sign up?

To book, please email joel@sussexdancenetwork.co.uk with your name, age and a short expression of interest.

Meet the Artist

Lauren Barri Holstein in a pink wig with flour being thrown at her.Lauren Barri Holstein, also known as ‘The Famous’, is a NYC-raised, London-based, performance maker, primarily focusing on large-scale stage-based performances. Her practice investigates contemporary feminisms, critiquing problematic representations of women in mainstream culture whilst proposing alternative modes of female subjectivity. Being a ‘difficult’ woman working at scale, and creating space for others to do the same, has been, and remains, her most precious ambition. Her practice centres around large scale stage-based work, blurring the lines between Live Art, Dance, and Contemporary Performance.

Trained at The Alvin Ailey School and Laban Conservatory of Dance, Holstein’s background as a dancer and choreographer strongly impacts the role of the body in her practice. Playing on the borderline between the virtuosic and the abject, entertainment and boredom, pleasure and humiliation, ‘the real’ and the represented, the performances test bodily limits and ethics, and throw into upheaval what it means to be ‘a woman’ in contemporary culture, with The Famous putting her own body at the centre of the work.

Since 2010, Lauren Barri Holstein has developed a substantial body of work (Notorious, Splat!, How to Become a Cupcake, How 2 Become 1, and more) presented in Live Art, Dance, and Theatre contexts including The Barbican (London, UK), SPILL Festival (London, UK), Kampnagel (Hamburg, Germany), In Between Time Festival (Bristol, UK), Reykjavik Dance Festival (Reykjavik, Iceland), Fierce Festival (Birmingham, UK), Duckie (London, UK), Fresh AiR (London, UK), Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (Brighton, UK), FEM Fest (Girona, Spain), and Abrons Art Center (New York, U.S.), gaining respect and notoriety within the Live Art world  (‘Darling of the alternative performance scene’ – Time Out).

Lauren Barri Holstein sucking a unused tampon in an artistic piece.In 2017, Holstein premiered and toured her largest work to-date, Notorious, supported by Arts Council England, The Barbican, Reykjavik Dance Festival/Lokal, PACT Zollverein, and Koneen Saatio, and commissioned by Fierce Festival and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. It recently toured to Kampnagel, Hamburg as part of their season opener, and Take Me Somewhere at Tramway, Glasgow.

In 2018-19, Holstein created Really Real Teenz! with The Yard Theatre, London, a performance and devising process challenging local teenagers to investigate their relationship to their own identity within the context of pop-culture. This led on from a workshop with young women with The Barbican Creative Learning in 2017, has developed into an intensive workshop series at Kampnagel in 2019-20, and will be produced at Kampnagel a full stage production in 2021.

In 2018, Holstein was featured in a BBC Radio 4 Interview alongside Marina Abramovic and Laurie Anderson, interrogating the relationship between popular culture and performance art.

Lauren Barri Holstein in a pink wig, dancing with a microphone.In 2013 Holstein’s last large-scale work ‘Splat!’ reached wide audiences through its premiere at The Barbican, opening SPILL Festival of Performance to sold-out audiences and critical acclaim, including a feature on BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour. It was named Time Out’s ‘Critic’s Choice in Dance’, one of Time Out’s ‘Must See Shows of 2013’, one of The Stage’s ‘Dance Picks of 2013’, and one of The Guardian’s ‘Theatre Picks’.

Her work has been studied by international scholars and students, as it’s been featured in Kim Solga’s Theatre & Feminism (2016), and articles by Rebecca Schneider, Anna Watkins-Fisher, and Adam Alston (forthcoming) in various publications.

Holstein holds a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London in contemporary feminism, popular culture, and ‘ugly feelings’, and has been a visiting lecturer at various UK and European universities over the past 8 years. She has authored several published articles, including: ‘A Queer Family Tree’ in The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: The Performance Work of Lois Weaver, ed. by Jen Harvie and Lois Weaver; ‘Splat!: Death, Mess, Failure and Blue-Balling’, in Performance Research; ‘The Cyclical Pleasure/Death of Symbolization in How to Become a Cupcake/The Famous’ Adaption of Frankenstein’, in On Repetition: Writing, Performance, Art, ed. by Eirini Kartsaki; and several articles for Feminist Times and Dance Theatre Journal.

If you have any queries regarding this workshop, please get in touch with joel@sussexdancenetwork.co.uk