2016 National Dance Critics Award for Outstanding Male Performance
2016 Nominated for South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance
“With little more than a wooden chair and a bucketful of chickpeas, Ben Duke extrapolates Milton’s epic in a virtuoso tour-de-force.” (The Stage 5*)
LOST DOG, the highly entertaining dance/theatre company is fronted by its Artistic Director BEN DUKE whose one-man show, ‘PARADISE LOST (LIES UNOPENED BESIDE ME)’ has been performing to critical acclaim and capacity audiences since its premiere in 2015.
A one-man staging of Milton’s epic Paradise Lost which combines theatre, comedy and movement, this is a journey through the story of the creation of everything condensed into 80 minutes, beginning with Lucifer’s rebellion and ending with Adam and Eve’s expulsion from The Garden of Eden.
Ben Duke plays all the characters, creates all the scenes and, despite his best efforts, falls a little short of perfection. “It’s a show for anyone who has created anything (child, garden, paper aeroplane) and then watched it spiral out of control,” he says.
In May Ben is partnering once again with the Rural Touring Dance Initiative to take ‘Paradise Lost’ to more community spaces and rural hubs around the UK. Says Claire Smith, Project Manager at Rural Touring Dance Initiative: “We are thrilled to be able to offer 'Lost Dog' again on the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. The response from the autumn shows was so positive. Shows like 'Paradise Lost' are really switching new audiences onto dance. The high level of professionalism combined with Ben’s inventive storytelling style makes it an absolute hit with audiences.”
Ralph Lister, Development Director adds: “The aim of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative is to enable more touring and making of dance to and for rural areas. Very little dance tours to rural areas; this initiative will address issues and challenges on both the supply and demand side of the equation. More companies will be encouraged to take their work out of a regular ‘black box’ setting into village halls and it will create opportunities for many more rural touring staff and volunteer promoters to see exciting and engaging dance on a broad spectrum and to then programme and promote these shows to their local village audience. The project has attracted funding from Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund until 2018.”
Ben Duke – Artistic Director & Performer
Ben Duke graduated from Newcastle University with a First in English Literature and trained at the Guildford School of Acting and London Contemporary Dance School. His work explores the overlap and transition between dance and theatre. As well as his work for Lost Dog, Ben has directed and choreographed works for other companies including Rambert, Barely Methodical Troupe, Scottish Dance Theatre (The Life and Times of Girl A), Dance Umbrella (The Difference Engine), Phoenix Dance Theatre (Pave up Paradise) and numerous post-graduate performing companies including Verve and Intoto. He has choreographed for projects by The National Theatre of Scotland (Dolls), the Gate Theatre, London (Sexual Neuroses of our Parents) and Handspring UK (CROW). He has performed with Probe, Hofesh Shechter Company, The Gate Theatre, The National Theatre of Scotland, Glyndebourne Opera and Punchdrunk. Ben is a Work Place artist, was Associate Artist at South East Dance 2012-14 and recipient of the Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award 2011. In 2016 Ben won the National Dance Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Male Performance; ‘Paradise Lost (Lies Unopened Beside Me)’ was nominated for the 2016 South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance.
LOST DOG was formed in 2004 by Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer to create work using text, movement and music in which dance is framed by stories and characters. The company’s first work, Pave up Paradise, won 1st prize at the Burgos International Choreography competition, 2nd prize at the Hanover choreography competition, and was performed by Phoenix Dance Theatre as part of its Stories in Red 25th anniversary mixed bill (2006). In 2005 The Drowner was nominated for a Total Theatre award and won critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2005, and the company received a Bonnie Bird UK New Choreographers’ Award. Lost Dog has also created Hungry Ghosts, (2007-2008); The Rain Parade (2009); Salvage (2010) and in 2011 won The Bloomberg Place Prize for Dance It Needs Horses. Home for Broken Turns completed a UK and international tour in 2012-2014 alongside It Needs Horses. Like Rabbits, made in collaboration with award-winning writer Lucy Kirkwood and inspired by Virginia Woolf’s short story Lappin & Lapinova premiered at Brighton Festival 2014.