745pm – 10pm, 21st July 2012, Devonport Guildhall
Rinkomania is a collaboration between artist Beth Emily Richards and Plymouth City Roller Girls. This performance project is an ‘inexact reenactment’ of Plymouth’s roller skating history; taking inspiration from and celebrating skating rink stories from the area, between the 1870s to the 1920s. Plymouth had many skating rinks at the turn of the century, with events programmed such as obstacle races including ‘candle races’, where skaters must skate as fast as they can without the candle’s flame going out; ‘human skittles’ on skates; and even tug of wars on skates between local naval and army corps.
The performance also celebrates the strength and skill of the skaters from Plymouth City Roller Girls. Roller derby is an over-18s, all-female, full-contact sport on skates. It has seen a resurgence in popularity since the 1990s. Many contemporary leagues have a strong DIY ethos, with links to third-wave feminism and music movements such as Riot Grrrl.
After the performance the audience was invited to join the skaters in a roller disco (itself a less choreographed or devised reenactment of turn of the century roller dances).
Roller disco generously run by WD SK8.
With thanks to Neil Rose and Mark James for DJing.
All photo credits: Simon Keitch.