Prosiectau Blaenorol – Butcher


Three women dressed in pinks running-in-circles for cancer question the possibility of a cure.

In 2011 Asking4It Productions produced Butcher in Chapter, Cardiff.

Written by Sue Jickells and Jane Fox with original score by James Flight, Butcher was an examination of the highly profitable cancer industry.


The medical profession.
Pharmaceutical and cancer fundraising industries.
Surgical removal of healthy breasts and other organs.

Butcher tackles them all.

Circus top set, seating in-the-round. Performers examine audience members with probes and sculptural appendages. Film of DNA and surgical incisions is projected on the red drapes.

Many people believe cancer is fatally encoded in the genes and is unavoidable. After all, we’re told there’s a fatalistic ‘killer-gene’ on the rampage. And why not when the pharmaceutical industry, research departments and NHS all depend on its perpetuation?

Butcher is a provocative attempt to re-define cancer and challenges the status quo within the field of biomedical science:- genetics, the pharmaceutical industry, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Ashley John Long - Double Bass

It questions the surgical removal of healthy breasts if there is a positive family history or predisposing BRCA genes are present.

Authentic public health promotion remains side-lined even though research findings have been available for decades to show that most cancers are preventable.

Epi-genetic scientists examine the impact of fear, our belief system, culture and environmental pollutants on the health of the cell. There is the potential for the reversal of damage within the plasticity of the cell.

But, tragically we live in an increasingly polluted world:- our domestic and personal choices, our air, water and soil have changed dramatically. Is the reversal of toxicity still preventable?

I admire your great courage in tackling such a contentious and frightening subject. Butcher has been one of the most memorable theatrical performances I have ever seen. Brenda Oakes

Blinded butcher

The sculptural heads explore organ accumulations; internal matter becomes external and explicit and the tools of the trade such as examination probes and flashing lights are embedded in the tissues. Multiples of spectacles are used to question sight and myopia and mirrors to reflect. The reversed white cross on the red apron references doctors-as-gods.

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War mongering

Strait-Jackets lending the hands into stumps and military references were used to juxtapose wars with bodily invasion and occupation. Design ideas for military uniform were global but non-specific with the intention of exploring universal themes of brutalism within Butcher.

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Asking4It Productions are archived at intervals by The National Library of Wales since 2016

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