Croydonites Festival 2018 review: Anita Wadsworth’s Show and Tell


By - Tuesday 22nd May, 2018

What does your handbag say about you?


Photo by Croydonites Festival, used with permission.

“I love the thinginess of things” said the poet Sylvia Plath. Anita Wadsworth understands where she was coming from.

Show and Tell is an experimental performance – if indeed performance is the right word for it. It’s delivered one-to-one by Anita, whose Master’s degree in choreography left her fascinated by the ways in which we express ourselves through the physicality of our possessions.

You meet up with Anita, find a quiet spot – in our case, a shop doorway on the upper level of the Whitgift Centre – unpack your bag and play a series of games designed to explore how all of the items make you feel. What are you carrying around with you?

Photo author’s own.

I did consider fixing it – filling my bag with whimsical objects, or turning up with just a credit card and a lipstick (the essence of after-dark sophistication, according to my teenage reading of Cosmopolitan magazine). I didn’t, in the end – I cleared out the debris of coins and crumbs and brought what I would normally carry, plus a bit of random shopping that I did on the way. It was the right thing to do, because it meant that my experience was entirely authentic.

Anita is humorous and gentle, but it’s clear how much thought has gone into creating Show and Tell. Described as “a moment of calm order in a world that got messy”, what it meant was that half-an-hour later, I’d captured my life right now in three words and a Polaroid. Remarkable.

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Writer and editor. Views personal, not representative of editorial policy.

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  • Anne Giles

    My handbag contains powder, lipstick, comb, tissues, eye spray, mouth spray, cash, business and credit cards, driving licence and lots of pieces of paper with lists and instructions!

    • lizsheppardjourno

      Ahhhh… but it also contains hopes, disappointments, fears, memories and dreams :)

      • Anne Giles

        True!