Laura Murphy



Laureate 2018-2019


Contra is a solo, feminist-circus-comedy written and performed by Laura Murphy. It re-enacts bible stories and biology lessons using a rope and a roll of cling film. Laura Murphy sets her experiences of her own body amidst an anecdotal tapestry of body hair observations on public transport and dinner table discussions about lesbian sex. Witty and uncompromising – Contra interrogates personal, social and historical occupations of the female body, and explores – literally – where such bodies are positioned and how we are meant to look at them.

Laura Murphy is a circus performer who cannot stop talking. Her work is highly text-driven and devised from stories, speeches, narrations or verbal explosions.

She makes experimental and affronting performances that cut across disciplines and offer personal and reflective commentary on the world that we live in. She is interested in how her aerial rope practice contradicts and intersects with the ethics of live art. How can the use of loops, knots, drops and vertical space give new meaning to ideas, which go far beyond the virtuosity of performing tricks or death defying feats? Laura uses her performance practice to talk about things that, she thinks, need to be talked about, such as: social ownership of the female body, spectacle and showmanship in British politics, mental health, and banking investment in the arms trade.

Laura has an eclectic mix of formal training in contemporary dance, music, live art and critical performance making. She is a self-taught aerial rope artist and is currently undertaking a practice-based PhD investigating aerial work as critical practice. Her work as a physical performer, theatre & film maker and academic researcher, spans circus, theatre and contemporary performance.