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Director profile: Ian Smith

Ian Smith is artistic director of Mischief La-Bas Performance Company - founded with his wife Angie Dight in 1992.

Ian Smith with Headphones; Photo by and Courtesy of Ian Smith Ian’s involvement in performance art began at an early age with 'The Mummy'. Staged in a corrugated iron shed, 5 year old Ian spectacularly burst forth from a pile of cardboard boxes swathed in bandages to the delight of the small neighbourhood audience.

Since that early beginning Ian went on to graduate from Brighton Polytechnic in 1981 with a First Class Honours Degree in Expressive Arts (Fine Art/Theatre Practice). Although he maintains nobody has ever asked to see it.

Ian Smith; Photo by and Courtesy of Ian Smith Amongst all the activities Ian was involved in after graduating, performance art continued to be a strong interest. During the eighties Ian personally represented Britain at International Art Fairs and Festivals in New York, Lisbon, Kassel (Documenta 8) Nuremburg, Frankfurt, as well as on several tours of North America and Holland.

Back in Britain Ian worked with Neil Butler founder of The Zap Club an experimental multi-media performance club. In keeping with his fondness for irreverence, Ian also meddled with the Fine Art world by inventing PULPTURES (he says like Sculptures, but not as good).

In 1989, looking for fresh challenges, Ian and Angie moved to Glasgow where they established themselves at The Arches creating weekly installations which led to the founding of Mischief La Bas in 1992. The company has since grown to a walkabout theatre company with a pool of over 25 performers presenting 150-200 gigs a year. The company never rehearses, never auditions or interviews new members, and has managed to grow completely organically over the past 12 years.

Ian Smith; Photo: Alan McAteer, Courtesy of Ian Smith Noteworthy projects devised by Ian and featuring Mischief La-Bas include a spoof approach to traditional male choreography Bullballet (Blokes Dancing Round a Stick) which toured to Brighton and Stockton Festivals, and Toonhoose an orchestrated live cartoon designed for the windows of a city centre building in Glasgow

With the current Painful Creatures project, many of Ian’s previous experiments and interests have melded together, particularly the mixture and crossover of popular culture, Fine Art and traditional theatricality. The international touring project is structured as a startling 'walk through the woods' incorporating the work of international artists, core members of Mischief La-Bas and local artists from each host city. As ever the work is accessible, public, and free. 

the future - Ian is currently in consultation with producing partners to create a new large-scale project involving theatre, circus and food. …..

Street art
* Theme - Street art
* Focus on - Big in Falkirk
Related links
* Mischief La Bas
* The Arches
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