Hello for Dummies

The Bench

El Banco in Seville, photo by Ant Hampton


Concept by Ant Hampton

Text by Glen Neath

Hello for Dummies (2011) is a further development of a project by Ant Hampton and Glen Neath called The Bench (2010). 

The audience is split up into pairs of strangers and sent out to sit on a bench together. This journey, and the conversation they find themselves having on the bench (their lines fed to them via headphones), all happens without them ever seeing each other’s face. 

What happens when we don't have recourse to the face in our communications? If it's mostly useful as a kind of glue between what we read from someone's voice and body, the face is also sometimes hard to control... and can just as often get us into a sticky mess. In Hello for Dummies, our identities roam free from the tyranny of facial expression: happily unstuck, slightly unhinged                               

Versions of The Bench in English, Dutch (translated as Het Bankje by Carol van Gelder) and Spanish (translated as El Banco by Alan Pauls)

Performances of Hello for Dummies: 

Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, UK, 21-29 October 2011 

ST PAUL St Gallery, 49 St Paul Street, Mail Centre, Auckland, New Zealand, 18-21 April 2012

Summerworks Performance Festival, Toronto, Canada, 8-18 August 2013 

Performances of The Bench:

Norfolk and Norwich Festival Norwich, UK, 15,16 May 2010 

Buda Kortrijk, Belgium, 10,11 July 2010 (Dutch language premiere) 

Forest Fringe Edinburgh, UK, 9-21 August 2010 

Noorderzon Festival, Groningen, Netherlands, 19-29 August 2010 (in Dutch) 

Derby Feste, Derby, UK, 24-26 September 2010 

Publics and Counterpublics, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Seville, Spain, 28 October 2010 to 6 March 2011 (Spanish language premiere)

Vooruit - The Game Is Up Festival, Ghent, Belgium, 14 February to 26 March 2011 (in Dutch)

Fusebox Festival, Austin, Texas, USA, 20 April to 1 May 2011 

Inna Space, The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre, Taunton, UK, 1 May to 30 July 2011 

‘It was that good! So, would I do it again? In an instant! Do I recommend it to you? I certainly do!’ - Lexie Matheson (Auckland)

'Hello for Dummies is … exciting and harrowing. The many tensions in the piece — the conversation is scripted but also unpredictable; the interaction is intimate but also impersonal; the performance is public but also private — create a conflicted experience of vigilance and surrender. Entering the cloistered space of shared headphones with a stranger, the actual environment is illuminated like a stage, full of mythic action…'  - Mark Mann, Blouin Art Info (Toronto)

'The writing is full of a sense of adventure that illuminates the possibilities presented by every new meeting' - 8/10 - Carly Maga, The Grid TO (Toronto)

'It's a fascinating experiment in human communication' 4**** --- Jon Kaplan, NOW Toronto (Toronto)

Click here for reviews

Made with support from

Norfolk & Norwich Festival (UK)

Derby Feste (UK)  

Fusebox Festival (USA)