Emily Orley

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Searching Shadows


A performance lecture

Direction by Christopher Heighes . Sound design by Bruce Sharp and Robert Watts


With the discovery of the x-ray in 1895 came a radical shift in what we were able to see. For the first time, the bones inside living bodies were made visible. Flesh was made transparent.


After the discovery of the x-ray in 1895 people all over the world began to test it with their hands. There was a sudden proliferation of pictures of the bones in human hands.


Human hands contain 27 bones. Among them, the lunate, the scaphoid, the capitate.


In 27 segments, I will put together, as one might assemble the bones of an exhumed hand , the life of one man: a radiologist, an immigrant, my grandfather.  Lunate, scaphoid, capitate.  In the same 27 segments, I will offer a brief and fractured history of the beginnings of radiology. It will be a story of bones become visible. A story of travelling, lighting and searching shadows.


" A fascinating piece of work."

Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network


"A delicate emotional collage."  

Sally Barnden, Euston Street Diaries




Next showing:

1 July, 2pm at the Burton Taylor Studio


OX1 2LW


Past performances:


  • The One Festival at the Space Theatre, London (January 2017)
  • The first High Fidelity performance event, Chisenhale Dance Studios, London (April 2016)
  • Acts Re-Acts 3 Performance Lab, Wimbledon College of Arts, London (February 2016)