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Beautiful Bones

Surge Festival_11Aug23_photo Brian Hartley_3614_lo.jpg

Beautiful Bones is a large-scale street spectacle and musical pandemonium that reframes the rituals of death as a celebration of life. The central question being – why are we so afraid of death?


Western contemporary culture appears spectacularly disinterested when it comes to the subject of death, especially our own. We leave the mechanics that surround it to others. In Beautiful Bones a theme of general celebration, comedic irreverence and blissful acceptance challenge our own dour and often miserable rituals.

Beautiful Bones is designed as an inclusive community participation project, creating a high-quality performance platform for up to 90 non-professional musicians, performers and dancers. The work is multi artform in its essence, integrating theatre, music and dance, with multiple access points for players and performers depending on their experience and skill.


A professional core of top UK musicians and performers will lead a massed community ensemble through a series of promenades, high impact choreographed street interventions and a final stand-off between four professional trombonists drawn on chariots by wild performers (the horsemen of the apocalypse), a community trombone orchestra, and a local brass band.


Original music and sound design by award winning composer Stephen Deazley takes inspiration from 1990’s rave, British SKA, and medieval secular dance music, bound together with the energy and colour of Mardi Gras. 

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Artistic Team

Beautiful Bones is a collaboration between Surge (Alan Richardson, Director), Stephen Deazley (Composer & MD) and Alex Rigg (Designer).

These partners are experienced outdoor arts practitioners and collaborate frequently, notably for Festival 2014 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.  Perch involved 200 performers and 2 symphony orchestras integrating street performance, orchestra, film and circus performed simultaneously on two continents.

For more information about booking Beautiful Bones, contact Alan Richardson at

"Beautiful Bones (****) proved an ebullient crowd-pleaser, pitting four skeletal horseman of the apocalypse in chariots against a tribal trombone orchestra. The result was a jaunty interrogation of graveyard humour combining Mardi Gras with Mad Max, and mashing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony into Prince Buster’s One Step Beyond. Mixing professional UK ensemble Pandora’s Box, Scottish music graduates and talented locals was a nice democratic touch too. No bones to pick here."

Review - Beautiful Bones - Scotman

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