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Geraldine Pilgrim

Photo by Sheila Burnett
2010 – 2011

A celebratory gem of a performance with great music, dancing and handbags made for ballrooms, civic halls and unusual spaces. In an empty ballroom, a caretaker sweeps away the remnants of a previous event. A woman enters the space and puts down her handbag. A beat begins, a mirror ball turns and the sound of a classic dance track fills the air…

Video of Handbag at Peopling the Palace | Photos of Handbag at People’s Palace | Photos of Handbag at Open East Festival

“A witty and wistful performance that, in a few delirious moments, succinctly makes the point that no woman needs a man when she has got her handbag in tow.”

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

“positive and uplifting. Made me want to dance the night away.”

Audience member, BAC

“Not only a brilliant learning experience but a lot of fun! Having the opportunity to be part of a project by an artist that had inspired me to study performance was exactly the first hand experience I craved. Opportunities like these are a vital part of arts learning and community access. It was also a chance to share an experience with the rest of my family as we all got involved, and it’s not often you perform on stage with your whole family!”


“It is such a lovely piece that I feel the need to come back again, so see it twice. Knowing exactly what will happen on second viewing, far from taking away from the experience, adds a lovely sense of expectation, and a tingling feeling of appreciation on witnessing the completion. Somehow, the repetition seems part of the piece: as if this group of people are locked into a blissful otherworld in an eternal cycle of partying that we have been allowed to glimpse fleetingly.”

Total Theatre

Commissioned, scratched and originally performed for the Grand Hall at BAC and subsequently reconceived and perfomed as part of the opening season for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, the Transform Festival at West Yorkshire Playhouse and at Arnolfini as part of the Bristol Harbour Festival, Queens Hall, Hexham, Northern Stage, Newcastle, Preston Guild as part of their London 2012 celebrations, Brighton Dome and Festival as part of the Heartfelt season, Peopling the Palace at Queen Mary University of London, Watermans Arts Centre as part of the Big Dance Weekender and, most recently, as part of the Open East festival to celebrate the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Date Title Venue City
5–6 July 2014 Handbag Les Tombeés de la Nuit Rennes
5–6 July 2014 Handbag Les Tombées de la Nuit Festival Rennes
27–28 July 2013 Handbag Open East Festival London
14 July 2013 Handbag Watermans Dance Weekender London
24 February 2013 Handbag Peopling the Palace Festival London
16 February 2013 Handbag Corn Exchange Brighton
9 September 2012 Handbag Blaze Festival Preston
19 May 2012 Handbag Northern Stage Newcastle
30 July 2011 Handbag Arnolfini Bristol
11 June 2011 Handbag West Yorkshire Playhouse Leeds
4 June – 16 July 2011 Now and Then Queens Hall Arts Centre Hexham
4 June 2011 Handbag Queens Hall Arts Centre Hexham
Photo by Sheila Burnett