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The Holy Body Tattoo / Live music from Godspeed You! Black Emperor
8 - 9 August 2016
Edinburgh Playhouse

monumental has been hailed as a landmark in contemporary dance, bringing together two of Canada’s most uncompromising performing arts groups – The Holy Body Tattoo and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Legendary Montreal art-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor inspire awe and devotion among their fans with their apocalyptic, anti-capitalist mini-symphonies combining multilayered guitars and expansive, evocative soundscapes – as well as their uncompromising antagonism towards the corporate music industry.

Vancouver contemporary dance company The Holy Body Tattoo was founded in 1993, and quickly became the punk darlings of the international dance scene, notorious for their frenetic, dance-to-exhaustion choreography that pushes dancers beyond their physical limits in explorations of endurance and human fragility.

Nine dancers writhe furiously on pedestals, obsessively enacting the gestures of everyday life, caught in the machinations of love, war, chaos and death. A live eight-piece rock band pounds expansive, mesmeric music. Rolling text recasts gruesome descriptions of violence as seductive advertising slogans. The result is violent, cathartic, horrifyingly beautiful.

monumental investigates the physical anxiety of urban culture, making explicit the energy and hostility that seethe behind the controlled exteriors of nine contemporary ‘Everypeople’, mounted (or trapped) on pedestals in Marc Parent’s light-sculpted cityscape. In an ever-accelerating climate of greed and ambition, some of the dancers are made larger than life, while others break and topple under the strain. Human connection becomes increasingly difficult, and fragility and the need for intimacy are concealed beneath the city’s physical barriers and the rigidity of social order.

Using a hypnotic, provocative text by conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, and video by director William Morrison, monumental is both a voyeuristic exploration of physical anguish and a celebration of human resilience, as unsettling as it is compelling.


The Guardian

It’s cathartic and exhausting in the best possible way

The Georgia Straight

Godspeed You! Black Emperor will also perform a separate concert on 10 Aug 8pm at Edinburgh Playhouse. 

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  • Running time: 
    1 hour 15 minutes approximately


Edinburgh Playhouse

18-22 Greenside Place

Supported by

Conseil des arts et des lettres Québec logo

The Canada Council for the Arts logo



Dana Gingras, Noam Gagnon Choreographers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Live music
Marc Parent Lighting designer
Jenny Holzer Text
Dana Gingras and William Morrison Film
Marilène Bastien Costume designer

A co-production with the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Adelaide Festival of Arts, PUSH International Performing Arts Festival, Place des Arts Montréal, Luminato Festival, Toronto, Edinburgh International Festival and BAM for the Next Wave Festival

More information about some of the artists

The Holy Body Tattoo

Jenny Holzer

monumental | The Guardian

March 18th 2016
Review by: 

Kate Hennessy
The Guardian

monumental | The Georgia Straight

January 29th 2016

It’s cathartic and exhausting in the best possible way

Read the full review

Review by: 

Janet Smith
The Georgia Straight

monumental | The List

August 9th 2016

The cast are tight and at their wildest when in full military fire

Read the full review here

Review by: 

Lucy Ribchester

The List

monumental | The Herald

August 9th 2016

It’s Armageddon spelt out in sweat-drenched, exhausted bodies – grimly compelling, not least because we recognise its bravely unsentimental truths

Read the full review 

Review by: 

Mary Brennan

The Herald 

monumental | The Guardian

August 9th 2016

This brilliantly forged partnership of music, dance and art... is indeed monumental

Read full review 

Review by: 

Alice Bain

The Guardian

Image: Yannick Grandmont 

This event was part of a previous International Festival and is therefore unavailable to book.

The 2018 International Festival will be available to browse online in the spring.


Circle: £32 £28 £23 £18
Stalls: £32 £28 £23 £18 £12 £10
Balcony: £18 £12 £10

Current discounts

Students: 30% off
Senior citizens : 30% off
Unemployed: 30% off
BECTU, Equity, MU: 30% off
Under 18s: 50% off
Young Scot cardholders : 50% off