Accelerator - Pete Lannon

Photo by Jassy Earl
Photo by Jassy Earl

FEELS is a continuation of a long-term enquiry for me into gender and emotion. I feel like I still see a lot of conventional portrayals of gender and how this interacts with expressing your feelings, and I want to disrupt these traditional ideas, to mess things up a bit. I'm super excited to develop the show and incredibly grateful for the support from Imaginate through Accelerator - I can't wait to get started!

—Pete Lannon

Pete Lannon of SUPERFAN was selected in July 2018 to develop FEELS through Imaginate's Accelerator programme.  He spent two weeks in development in November that year supported through a residency with The Work Room and Platform, in collaboration with deviser/performers Aby Watson, Mark Bleakley, Claricia Parinussa and Craig Manson, performer/sound designer Greg Sinclair, and designer Mamoru Iriguchi.

He focused on the following main strands of enquiry throughout the creative process:

  • Exploring the differences between how we are told to express emotion depending on our perceived identities and how we really feel
  • The ways in which our emotional encounters are becoming ‘scripted’ by the media we consume, and how this is different from how we might naturally behave
  • The absence in particular of men openly talking about or expressing love, and being in love, in the stories we see repeated in our culture
  • The idea of ‘bad’ emotions that are deemed socially uncomfortable, forbidden or unsightly despite being natural (sadness, anger, grief, fear, loneliness) and the categorisation of other emotions as positive or good, and the ways that these can be used to control us or sell us things or perpetuate harmful narratives about ourselves
  • Queering the boundaries between gender and the expression of emotion
    How these enquiries relates to children’s experiences of emotion and their gender


It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to.
Cry if I want to.
Cry, if I want to.

FEELS will be a new performance for ages 10+ about how we express ourselves. Set at a surreal disco, it is an investigation into dancing, gender, and emotions – the feelings we’re allowed to feel, the ones we’re told not to feel, the ugly ones, the funny ones, the sad ones. The feelings that we’re told don’t belong to us yet, or never will. The feelings that are ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’. It will investigate how we dance, how we express emotion, and how these things relates to gender and to the social constructions of childhood and adulthood.

Imagine the audience sitting around the ‘hall’ - like awkward participants at a dance. Watching the performers struggle with the public expectations of how they should behave versus how they really feel, which we see in glimpses in a private part of the stage hidden from the other dancers. The action becomes more strange and chaotic as their emotions begin to bubble to the surface and explode out in laughter, tears, and frantic energy. 

FEELS will be developed in 2020, with the ability to play in school gym halls or mid-scale theatre venues. 

Accelerator is supported by the PLACE programme, funded by the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland.