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Whenever we are hurt, traumatised, or shocked in some way, shamans tell us that parts of our soul may take flight to the otherworld for their own self-protection. In itself, this is a positive act of healing and self-preservation. The difficulties begin when these soul parts become lost, unable or unwilling to return. The shaman’s task is to journey to the otherworld to bring these soul parts back, through the process of soul retrieval.

Orphan is one woman’s journey to honour the spirits of the children who inhabited the charity school that originally occupied the Bluecoat building. The spirits of the orphaned children are evoked and invited to play in a dream that exists in the soul’s forgotten places.

Performer and children uncover and release hidden feelings of the past. The fractured soul becomes whole and gathers its energy to live fully.

Orphan was commissioned by the Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool in 2003 and performed there once. It would have been difficult to take the piece anywhere else as it was specifically made for the beautiful concert hall. But I used elements from the performance in other pieces.