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Victoria Melody with Major Tom National Tour

Major TomThe true story of how Victoria became a beauty queen and her Bassett Hound (Major Tom) became a champion show dog, reflecting the British fascination with celebrity, beauty and winning.

Performer and artist Victoria Melody entered Mrs Galaxy UK (the “married” version of Miss UK) to explore her own prize-winning potential after becoming inspired by the struggles of her Bassett Hound (Major Tom), a star of the amateur dog show circuit, but widely criticised once in the professional realm. She spent the last year appearing as “Mrs Brighton”, after winning her regional round, and has undertaken a wide range of public appearances as a beauty queen, documented through film and video in the show. An artistic experiment that took over Victoria’s life as she delved further into an obsessive and confusing realm of personal scrutiny, Major Tom questions the seductive power of beautification, celebrity and competition.

When Major Tom graduated from the amateur to professional dog show circuit, he kept coming last: the judges would never take his personality into account, only interested in his looks, from his ears, to his colour, and even the size of his ribcage. While he wasn’t perfect, (a bit smelly, perhaps, and with a voracious sexual appetite for Greyhounds) Victoria felt guilty that “Major Walking Prozac” was being subjected to such criticism. If Major was being scrutinised, Victoria believed she should be too, and so she stared to enter beauty pageants.

Victoria documented her year through film and photography and the performance has a strong multi-media element. Victoria’s eccentric, ethnographic approach to making performances finds Victoria immersing herself in other people’s worlds, Victoria examines national characteristics, focusing on the extraordinary in the everyday.

Victoria Melody said “I create the material for my shows by becoming an active participant in other people’s sub-cultures. Audiences re-live mine and my dog’s experiences, as we become in this case a beauty queen and a champion show dog. I believe art is for everyone, the audience is at the heart of the work and that is why I have tried my hardest to create a piece of theatre that not only appeals to the most ardent art critic or political activist, but also to people who are just up for a laugh or to people who are intimidated and skeptical about art like my Nan.

Victoria Melody is a British artist with a background in fine art. She makes one-woman theatrical shows, performance interventions and films mainly about England’s pastimes, passions and tribes. Fascinated by anthropology, she immerses herself into communities and becomes an active participant in their rituals as research for her work. Aside from her work as a beauty queen and championship dog handler, she has also been become a pigeon racer and northern soul dancer. She is currently tracing her human hair extensions back to the humans who grew them.

Created by Victoria Melody Performed by Victoria Melody and Major Tom
National Tour 10th March to 20th June 2014

Major Tom
Running Time: 65 minutes
Suitable for Ages: 14+

Company Information
Created and performed Victoria Melody, Dramaturg Paul Hodson, Designer Victoria Melody, Lighting Design  Greg Mickelborough, Commissioned and produced by Farnham Maltings

Developed at BAC, MAKE Ireland and Nightingale Theatre
Supported by Arts Council England, Harlow Theatre and Escalator East to Edinburgh

Victoria Melody is produced by Farnham Maltings. Farnham Maltings supports, collaborates with and invests in artists to make new theatre and reach new audiences.

Listings Information
10th to 15th March Battersea Arts Centre
Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN
020 7223 2223
7.30pm, £12 (£9 concs.)

18th March Wales Millennium Centre
Bute Pl, Cardiff Bay CF10 5AL
029 2063 6464
8pm, £12 (£8 concs.)

20th March Contact, Manchester
Oxford Rd, Manchester, Lancashire M15 6JA
0161 274 0600
8pm, £11 (£6 concs.)

21st to 22nd March    Guildhall, Gloucester
23 Eastgate St, Gloucester GL1 1NS
7.30pm, £7

24th March Hunt Theatre, Essex
Felsted, Dunmow, Essex CM6 3LL
01371 822 619
7.30pm, £15

28th March The Club House Community Centre, Hull
The Clubhouse, Elm Avenue HU8 8PZ
8pm, £8 (£6 concs.)

11th April    St. Georges Theatre, Great Yarmouth
Kings Street, Great Yarmouth. Norfolk, NR30 2PG
8pm, prices TBC

16th April    Norwich Arts Centre
51 St Benedicts St, Norwich NR2 4PG
01603 660352
8pm prices TBC

19th April    Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate
2A Eastern Esplanade, Margate CT9 2LB
7.30pm prices TBC

20th April     Looping the Loop Festival, Thanet
Broadstairs Pavillion TBC
7.30pm prices TBC

21st April    King’s Theatre, Ramsgate
Kings Pl, King Street, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 8NN
7.30pm prices TBC

4th to 5th May Torbay, TBC
Times TBC, prices TBC

9th May Canada Water Culture Space
Canada Water Library
21 Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 7AR
020 8692 4446
7.30pm, £12 (£10 concs.)

12th May TOM, The Old Market, Brighton
11A Upper Market St, Brighton, East Sussex BN3 1AS
01273 201801
7.30pm, £12 (£10 concs.)

18th May Jabberwocky Market, Darlington
Times TBC prices TBC

31st May    The Tolmen Centre, Falmouth
Tolmen Centre, Fore Street
Constantine TR11 5AA
01326 341353
7.30pm, £8 (£6 concs.)

2nd June Phoenix Theatre, Exeter
Gandy St, Exeter, Devon EX4 3LS
01392 667080
Times TBC, £7.00

20th June Pamphilon Theatre, Uckfield
Uckfield Community Technology College, Downsview Crescent, Uckfield
East Sussex TN22 3DJ
01273 782866
7.30pm, £10 (£5 concs.)

Monday 27th January 2014


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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