WARMTH has been designed to be a site for experimental performance as well as regular sauna sessions. The sensory + social conditions of the sauna site are a rich ground for new work, e.g. for sound artists, musicians, storytelling, live art and installation.

Since 2011 we have worked with artists + performers to animate the sauna + surrounding spaces. WARMTH has hosted writing rituals, a day with a Buddhist monk, a butoh dance class, an accordion lesson, movement workshops, experimented with recording + playing sound, devised comedy sketches, written sauna songs + designed rituals around the sauna-bathing event.

It’s something we want to keep doing at our new Sheffield site alongside traditional sauna sessions.

To get a sense of the ethos of WARMTH sauna, have a listen to this podcast The Culture Vulture recorded at Compass Festival 2018:

As part of our plans for the WARMTH venue 2019, we will be creating a opportunities for artists to collaborate with the space.

We will be putting further call-outs for collaborators from all disciplines who are interested creating responses to the sauna or testing existing work in the sauna context. We may establish seasons of work around specific themes e.g. the body, sustainability, community + the senses. If you would like to be on our mailing list to hear about artistic opportunities, residencies + upcoming events at the new Sheffield site, please fill our CONTACT form.

Each collaboration, intervention or performance will be asked to leave a trace behind in our sauna yard; whether a scent, an item or material, written text, printed image or instructions for future sauna interventions.

Below is an archive of performance interventions we have hosted at WARMTH:

 
 

Top Joe performing At WARMTH sauna for Compass Festival. In the Art Hostel, Leeds. 12 November 2016

Sauna audiences enjoying a slice of orange after being taken around Nick’s storytelling tour of the New Docklands Steam Baths in Canning Town. Compass Festival 2016.

Sauna audiences enjoying a slice of orange after being taken around Nick’s storytelling tour of the New Docklands Steam Baths in Canning Town. Compass Festival 2016.

Extracts from Nick Cassenbaum’s show, Bubble Schmeiss. Extracts from the show formed part of Nick’s sauna storytelling performance at Compass 2016.

Sauna memories written on the logs + stacked for use later. Viccy Adams, Compass residency 2016.

Sauna memories written on the logs + stacked for use later. Viccy Adams, Compass residency 2016.

I explored scent as part of Compass Festival 2018. It was fascinating to hear different people’s associations with each scent. Burning Mastixa resin outside the sauna drew a nostalgic audience from Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Morocco, whilst the Russian oak-leaf Venik whisks immediately transported people back to Latvia + Russia.

I explored scent as part of Compass Festival 2018. It was fascinating to hear different people’s associations with each scent. Burning Mastixa resin outside the sauna drew a nostalgic audience from Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Morocco, whilst the Russian oak-leaf Venik whisks immediately transported people back to Latvia + Russia.

Petteri Tikkanen
We had live sketching sessions + an exhibition of illustrations in the sauna. Artist residency as part of the Finnish Village at Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, 2017 in partnership with the Finnish Institute.

Top Joe
Dressed as a sauna heating engineer + leading us through a guided reflection on our individuality. We quickly learned whilst developing Top Joe’s piece that the maximum time for sauna performances at full heat is 7 minutes!
Presented at Compass Festival 2016

gen doy
Gen taught us all a sauna song, exploring the communal act of singing together in the sauna. Wearing a paper dress + handing out paper lyrics, drawing our attention to the heat + humidity in the space.
Compass Festival 2016

Nick Cassenbaum
Writer + performer Nick Cassenbaum took our sauna audiences on a tour of the New Docklands Steam Baths in East London. We entered in dressing gowns, with slices of orange + were introduced to the local characters + daily bath-house life in Canning Town.
Presented at Compass Festival 2016

Viccy Adams
Viccy designed a ritual around the stacking + burning of sauna firewood. We were invited to write sauna memories on logs, which were then stacked, for others to use later. Each time a log was burnt, we had an insight into another sauna context or experience.
Compass Residency, 2016

Tim Shaw
Sound artist Tim Shaw experimented with contact microphones, capturing the sound of the fire being lit + amplifying the creaking + clicking of stove and rocks as it heated up. We learnt about the temperature limits of sound equipment in the sauna; it would be great to keep experimenting with more analogue techniques around sound in the sauna.
Compass Residency, 2016.

Sauna illustrations by Petteri Tikkanen, LICAF, October 2017.

Sauna illustrations by Petteri Tikkanen, LICAF, October 2017.

Traces left from Gen Doy’s performance in the sauna. Small pieces of tissue paper dissolving + smudging in the heat + humidity of the sauna.

Traces left from Gen Doy’s performance in the sauna. Small pieces of tissue paper dissolving + smudging in the heat + humidity of the sauna.

Gen Doy entering the sauna to rehearse the sauna song with a test audience. Outside we have a gnome representing the ‘saunatonttu’ + Nick’s basen [raffia brush from the Bubble Schmeisis performance].

Gen Doy entering the sauna to rehearse the sauna song with a test audience. Outside we have a gnome representing the ‘saunatonttu’ + Nick’s basen [raffia brush from the Bubble Schmeisis performance].

Playing field recordings Nick made in the New Docklands Steam Baths through the walls of the horse box into  WARMTH , using a vibration speaker. We blacked out the window to remove the immediate yard context, to transport us to the basement setting of the steam baths, overhearing conversation + laughter.

Playing field recordings Nick made in the New Docklands Steam Baths through the walls of the horse box into WARMTH, using a vibration speaker. We blacked out the window to remove the immediate yard context, to transport us to the basement setting of the steam baths, overhearing conversation + laughter.

Drips + steam, contact microphones + speakers. Setting up equipment for Tim Shaw’s experiments around capturing the sound in the sauna. Compass residency 2016.

Drips + steam, contact microphones + speakers. Setting up equipment for Tim Shaw’s experiments around capturing the sound in the sauna. Compass residency 2016.