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“Lush and visually stunning, the films by Shelly Love sweep you off your feet. Her understanding of movement and space, combined with an unstoppable imagination makes her an artist ahead of her time. Through her work, she creates another world that brings you on a new adventure with each film. She is in essence, a star…” – Singapore Arts Festival

“The imaginings of Shelly Love was the Highlight of the festival…a retrospective of work by a British Guest Shelly love who came to filmmaking through dance, was the highlight. Her sensitivity to movement makes poetry of curious situations. Most of them surreal yet utterly human…” – The Sydney Herald – Australia

“A Baroque shock and explosion of emotions, Shelly Love, director and choreographer proved her talent a long time ago, what comes now paralyzes the breath…her films and choreography are such a unique blend of film and art that she could soon overshadow Tim Burton…She will create great things in the future, we are convinced about that ..”
– Manuel Gehrig , Black Paper – Germany

“Acrobatic performers, magicians, punk rockstars an 18th Century portrait and colossal sets exemplify only a few of the unremitting forces of nature in this extraordinary director’s repertoire..”
– The Imaginarium Interview – ‘Schon!’ magazine – Rocio Frausto.

“Shelly Love is celebrated worldwide for her subtle and uniquely choreographic works that are like dropping into a visually poetic feast…” – Reel Dance Festival Australia

the guardian

The Guardian Review: The atmospheric power of Theatres By Chris Wilkinson

I don’t like cinemas. However good the film you’re watching is, the space in which the event takes place is almost invariably drab, functional and identikit. Your average Odeon (and they are all average) feels like it has fallen straight out of the 1950s. This is one specific area where the theatre can provide an experience with which film just cannot compete. When you go and
see a live show – whether it is in a space with the rustic intimacy of the Watermill or the urban grunge of the Arcola – the venue itself can become an inherent and often enriching part of the experience.Ironically, the importance of this sense of place was powerfully demonstrated to me recently whilst watching a short film.
The piece in question was Shelly Love’s extraordinary film The Forgotten Circus. This tells the story of a lonely ringmaster (an impish but melancholic Gerard Bell) who leads (or imagines?) a group of circus performers that appear doomed to tumble and clown for eternity. “They have no audience,” the ringmaster tells us – but they perform nonetheless.
What made the piece so powerful was not just the haunting soundtrack provided by the Irrepressibles, nor the eerie visual world that Love creates as she runs footage of acrobats and jugglers backwards. Rather, it was the venue in which it was being shown. The film played on a loop in a tucked-away corner of the labyrinthine Shunt Vaults under London Bridge station. A makeshift cinema had been set up in a dark, dank space with a low, vaulted ceiling. It felt exactly like the grotesque and abandoned space that the film’s characters inhabited, and it was not hard to imagine that they might spill off the screen and run riot throughout the rest of the vaults.
The secluded nature of this cinema also allowed for another possibility. It became quite easy to imagine, after seeing the piece, that there could well be stretches of time where the film played, but with no one watching. For a piece about performers being compelled to perform without an audience ever being present, this felt particularly appropriate. Andy Field wrote recently
about the possibility of a piece of theatre existing entirely in one’s head, and it is this idea – the nightmarish, endless loop of an truly unobserved performance – that has become lodged in mine.
As I moved on from the film, I could still hear the soundtrack – on its eternal loop – echoing around the rest of the vaults, permeating the space. So the act of watching it became profoundly linked to the place where it was being viewed. Of course, one of the core advantages film has over theatre is that something can be watched and rewatched, and always be exactly the
same. But I would be very hesitant about seeing this piece again outside of this context, in case its initial impact was somehow diminished. And in that sense, the film became a highly effective piece of theatre.