Professionals & Artist Development

Ben Duke is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Lost Dog. He trained at the Guildford School of Acting, London Contemporary Dance School and gained a degree in English Literature from Newcastle University.

Winner of the Dance Critics' Awards 2015 for Outstanding Male Performance (Modern) for Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me).

Lost Dog, was formed in 2004 with the aim of creating work that is both theatre and dance. The company work with text, live music and movement and blend these elements to create work in which dance is framed by stories and characters.

“We began with an idea and we continue to wrestle with it, to say what needs to be said and dance the rest.”

Lost Dog’s work has toured nationally and internationally, was awarded first prize at the Burgos International Choreography competition, second prize at the prestigious Hanover choreography competition, and has been toured by Phoenix Dance Theatre. Their newest work, Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) based on Milton’s epic poem, premiered at Battersea Arts Centre in May 2015.

The company’s previous work Like Rabbits, made in collaboration with award winning writer Lucy Kirkwood and inspired by Virginia Woolf’s short story Lappin & Lapinova premiered at Brighton Festival 2014 and was originally presented as a work in progress at the Almeida Festival 2013.

In 2011 Lost Dog won The Place Prize for Dance with their duet, It Needs Horses. Prior to that the company have created and toured six other full length works which have toured nationally and internationally: Pave up Paradise, The Drowner, The Rain Parade, Salvage and Home for Broken Turns.

As a choreographer Ben has been commissioned to create work for Scottish Dance Theatre (The Life and Times of Girl A), Dance Umbrella (The Difference Engine), and numerous post-graduate performing companies including Verve and Intoto. He has choreographed for projects by The National Theatre of Scotland (Dolls), the Gate Theatre, London (Sexual Neuroses of our Parents) and Handspring UK (CROW). He has co-created and performed in Pave up Paradise, The Drowner, Hungry Ghosts, The Rain Parade and Salvage.

As a performer Ben has worked with Probe, Hofesh Shechter Company, National Theatre of Scotland, the Gate Theatre, Punchdrunk, Maresa von Stockert and the Darkin Ensemble.

Ben was an Associate Artist at South East Dance (2012-2014) and a recipient of the Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award 2011. Ben is a Work Place Artist at The Place.

 


CURRENT TOURING PRODUCTIONS

Paradise Lost (2015)

★★★★  "A heavenly new take on Milton" The Evening Standard

★★★★★ "The comedy is divine, but the images of love and loss are achingly human" The Independent

★★★★★ "Like all the best fringe productions, Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) achieves great things with brilliant economy of means" The Observer

★★★★ "A triumphant gallop through the story of creation" The Guardian

★★★★ "Comic yet touching" The Times

There is a possibility that God made everything because he was terrified of doing nothing. Here is a re-telling of the story of the beginning of everything inspired by Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, only with less words, more dance and never before seen levels of divine incompetence.  A show for anyone who has ever created anything (a child, a garden, a paper aeroplane) and then had to watch that wonderful thing spiral out of control.

Duration approx. 75 minutes

People on road 3 (1 Performer, 1 Technician, 1 Producer)

Freight Please discuss details with the Company

Wraparound Masterclasses for dance students, graduates and professional dancers; School workshops for 14 yrs+; School talks for English Literature Students studying Paradise Lost; Pre- and post-show talks.

Co-commissioned by The Place and Battersea Arts Centre with further commissioning support from ICIA Bath University. Developed with support from The Point, Eastleigh and South East Dance. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Ben Duke is a Work Place artist.

Awards Ben Duke winner of Dance Critics Awards 2015: Outstanding Male Performance (Modern) for Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) and Ben Duke was also nominated for Best Modern Choreography for Paradise Lost.


 

PAST PRODUCTIONS

Like Rabbits (2013-2014)

by Lost Dog & Lucy Kirkwood

Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s short story Lappin and Lapinova.

On a night in a city a man and a woman meet and have sex and fall deeply in love.

Each night the lovers slip away from their real lives and disappear into a world that exists only in their shared imagination. A world that belongs to them, in which tax returns and shopping lists and commuting do not exist. A world in which they are not their normal selves, but King of the Rabbits and Queen of the Hares. But what begins as a game soon becomes a battleground, and the couple hurtle towards a tragedy of the quietest, saddest and most ordinary type.

Duration 50 minutes

People on road 4 (2 Performers, 1 Technician, 1 Producer)

Freight Minimum of 2 items of excess baggage required plus venue required to source some items locally. Please discuss details with the Company

Wraparound Masterclasses for professional dancers; Schools workshops for 16 yrs+; post-show talks

Watch Like Rabbits Trailer

“Stunningly staged and beautifully lit, Like Rabbits is taught, compact and moving.” Latest 7

“Duke's choreography is gorgeously inventive… This quiet retelling of Woolf's story stays in the mind and has an unexpectedly lasting emotional power.” Bachtrack

“Loved it. Witty, wry, delicate, physical, and smart physical theatre. Brilliant observation on relationships” Audience member

“When I watch Lost Dog, particularly tonight, I feel it is so completely odd and yet so completely "normal". The patterns in this story feel like the patterns of my life. The vulnerability and animalness of our personalities are explored and feel beautiful and honest to watch.” Audience member

Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival and The Place, and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Additionally supported by South East Dance and CCN de Caen / Basse-Normandie, Direction Héla Fattoumi – Eric Lamoureux, under the programme “Accueil-Studio” / French Ministry of Culture and Communication through DanSCe Dialogues 2 funded by Interreg IVA and co-financed by ERDF. Originally commissioned by the Almeida Festival.

 

Home for Broken Turns (2013-2014)

[*Presented in a double bill alongside It Needs Horses]

The Home for Broken Turns is the kind of place that makes you dream of running away to the circus. But it is also a sanctuary, a place where the few remaining occupants could be described as family. This is the story of a group of women who exist on the outskirts, fiercely protective of each other and ready to savage anything that threatens to break up their dwindling pack.

Duration 40 minutes

People on road 8 (5 Performers, 1 Artistic Director, 1 Technician, 1 Producer)

Freight We travel with 4 items of excess baggage (3 x suitcases and 1 oversize cardboard tube of approx 1.6m). Venue required to provide wooden pallets. Please contact the company for technical rider and drawings.

Wraparound Masterclasses for professional dancers; Schools workshops for 16 yrs+; post-show talks

Watch Home For Broken Turns Trailer

“…profoundly moving and exquisitely crafted…the very best of dance and theatre” Total Theatre

“Dark, moody, revelatory, rich, and complex” Fringe Review

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and commissioned by The Place and the Almeida Theatre. Produced by Lost Dog, The Place, Danshuis Station Zuid and Mercat de les Flors, in the framework of Modul-Dance with the support of the CULTURE programme of the European Union.

 

It Needs Horses (2011-2014)

[*Presented in a double bill alongside Home for Broken Turns]

It Needs Horses tells the tale of a down at heel circus duet and their increasingly desperate attempts to entertain the crowd. The glamour has faded and the performers have forgotten their acts, but the show must go on. Winner of The Place Prize for Dance 2011.

Duration 20 minutes

People on road 5 (2 Performers, 1 Artistic Director, 1 Technician, 1 Producer)

Freight For It Needs Horses only, we travel with 2 items of excess baggage (2 x suitcases) Venue required to provide wooden pallets. For double bill of It Needs Horses & Home for Broken Turns see Freight details above. Please contact the company for technical rider and drawings.

Wraparound Masterclasses for professional dancers; Schools workshops for 16 yrs+; post-show talks

Watch It Needs Horses Trailer

“Pure theatrical entertainment” The Metro

“One of the best short pieces of dance theatre in recent times” Total Theatre

Commissioned by The Place Prize for Dance sponsored by Bloomberg 2011.

*It Needs Horses & Home for Broken Turns are generally presented as a double bill to create a full length show of 80 minutes: Home for Broken Turns (40 minutes), Interval (20 minutes), It Needs Horses (20 minutes). For more details please contact the Company.


PAST PRODUCTIONS

The Difference Engine (2011)

Discombobulator (2010)

Salvage (2010)

The Rain Paradise (2009)

Hungry Ghosts (2007-2008)

The Drowner (2005-2006)

The Overhead Project (2005)