“Each choreographer is different but that is part of the reason for choosing them. If you have four choreographers all doing similar work in a similar field then you might as well just have the one.
“They are all really different in their approaches, language and working methodologies which will work well with the way I work.
“I want the whole piece to have a definite structure over three weeks so that people feel that each week is a different week with a different feel to it.
“There won’t be an EastEnders’ cliffhanger at the end of each one but I hope people will get the idea that each day will be different because of the nature of the thing, especially if they come back on different weeks.
“Visually it will be very different and you will definitely be able to see a different identity to each of the three weeks.
“It is like a giant game of sudoku fitting all the practitioners and ideas together. And we are rehearsing it almost like an old school Rep theatre. Each choreographer has about a week to make a bunch of material, bank it and get ready to take it out on the street.”
The 1,000 doormats on which the dancers perform have their own symbolism.
“The doormat becomes a kind of signifier for the show itself. It is an easy metaphor for home. It is a doormat. You wipe your feet when you go inside.
“And it gives me lots of tiles with which to make my mosaic. It is something uniform.”
With Andy’s background being in theatre rather than dance he wanted to ensure Home has a theatrical element.
So he called on Coventry-based visual performance experts Talking Birds, who have created works in places as diverse as school toilets in Coventry and an underground car park in Scarborough.
“Janet Vaughan of Talking Birds is really talented in animating streets in really simple but effective ways.
One of the things I am interested in is that people are grabbed by it visually from afar as well as up close. So we are looking at block colours and animating the streets outside of the performance period as well.”
Taking place every two years, IDFB is now in its third incarnation and co-directors David Massingham and Stuart Griffiths, Birmingham Hippodrome Chief Executive, are fully aware of the need to not only bring in work from abroad but to also create work here which can be exported.
One of the hits of IDFB 2010 was Luca Silvestrini’s (in)visible dancing which saw performers suddenly bursting into dance on the streets of Birmingham. The piece has since been recreated in Australia and there are discussions about taking it to other locations. Andy believes that while this production of Home is distinctive to Birmingham it is a model which could be recreated elsewhere.
“I think it is such a broad theme that you could put it anywhere in the world and it is not country-centric or Midlands-centric or whatever.
“It transcends religion and nationality. You can plonk it anywhere but you would go through the same process, working with local people. You would make it relevant to those places.” And he admits the creative process has also challenged his own preconceptions of home.
“The idea of home and belonging and identity drew me to the project and the fact it was in Birmingham as I am from Stafford, just up the road.
“Part of the reason I am a director is that I am finding the answers and trying to crystallise what home means to me.
“My raison d’etre is finding why people are the way they are and the reasons they do what they do and a big sense of that is the way people interpret their sense of belonging and identity. I don’t really have a full sense of home but part of the reason for doing this is to try and find it.”
* Home takes place daily between April 23 - May 12 with a grand finale on May 13. Most performances will be in High Street and New Street but there will also be pop-up performances at other venues in the city. For the latest information click on www.idfb.co.uk/home Email email@example.com or call Lucy Kenny on 0121 689 1081.