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The Pilgrimage of the Prodigal Daughter

When my daughter was a baby, I carried her 50 miles to my mother’s house. Partly as pilgrimage in atonement for my teenage sins, partly as protest march against the sanctity of motherhood, mostly because I couldn’t bear to go to Tumbletots.

This live documenting of that journey explores one person’s attempt to navigate a path trodden at least 6 billion times before. With the help of an audience, the performance embraces the inevitable failure of explaining. Whether we photograph every moment, or just pick flowers along the way, how can the ways we record our routes ever communicate what it’s like to walk them?

“I could sit and listen to this wandering tale all day long”

Emma Bettridge, Bristol Old Vic.

You can read more about this project here:

Philps, E (2019) The mother artist in the age of performance reproduction, in: Marchevska, E (ed): Maternal subjectivities, London, Routledge Gender Studies.

Philps, E (2019) A global positioning system – On “finding myself”” in the Romantic Landscape,in K Johnson and J Johnston: Maternal geographies: mothering in and out of place, Bradford, Canada. Demeter Press.

Philps, E. (2017) the Pilgrimage of the Prodigal Daughter: a journey towards a practice. In: Re: Jacqueline Morreau; mythologies and the marginalised. Exhibition Zine pp.48-49

Black Dog Times

_MG_4613A winter ritual with fire, soup and huge masked beings created a wake for Heather and Ivan Morrison’s public art sculpture, The Black Cloud in Victoria Park, Bristol (comissioned by Situations, 2010).

The Maltese Falcon

This live re-creation of the noir classic, inspired by Katie Mitchell’s “Waves” illustrates Full Beam’s sucessful history of making work in collaboration with students and young people.

Lizzie Philps is Course Leader of the Foundation Degree in Theatre and Contemporary Performance, validated by the University of Gloucestershire at SGS College.

Maternity Leaves


Witnessed by unwitting suburbanites, and documented on a phone camera, Maternity Leaves documents a series of short performative walks within a mile radius of my home, exploring the time and space of motherhood. Drifting around my own locality,  my newly myopic attention to the patterns, demographics, and waymarkers I discovered paralleled that which is given to newborns.

These (not quite) solitary walks offered me precious time for reverie, but also to reflect on my choice to become a mother. In addition to the themes of ambivalence and abandonment, these images document a performer interrogating her own performance in this new role, as I dared myself to take a few more steps away from my subject/audience/co-performer than was emotionally comfortable. This exploration of distance was subtly affected by the real and imagined reactions of passers by, and so the titles, detailing the number of steps taken, are a plaintiff acknowledgement of this responsibility. The difference between ‘ahh, look – a mother taking a photo of her baby’ and ‘what the hell is she doing?’ is only a few paces.

You can read more about this project here:

Philps, E (2017) In: Study Room Guide to walking women, London, Live Art Development Agency (contributing artist).  Https://

Philps, E (2016) In: Study Room Guide to Live Art and motherhood, London, Live Art Development Agency (contributing artist).

Philps, E (2015) In: Ways to wander, Qualmann, C, and Hind, C., Triarchy Press, Devon, September 2015 (contributing artist).

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My Baby Just Cares For Me

“full of music, movement, film, dextrous puppetry and gentle laughs.” – The Guardian

My Baby Just Cares For Me is a tragi-comic tale of a father and daughter relationship with real emotional resonance. It’s about the way we laugh and play and fight together, and dance in the kitchen, and just waste time, and how we lean on each other without asking.  It’s also about the weight of responsibility, and about the truths that we choose to ignore. We use puppets and aerial movement for the strong metaphors they provide, and super-8 film and a fantastic soundtrack because memories are what bind families together. An audience member compared the show to “It’s a Wonderful Life” because it makes you want to run home through the snow and hug your loved ones…even though their daily habits drive you nuts.  In summary, it is poignant yet uplifting, and has had a fantastic response from audiences and reviewers . This show toured nationally in autumn 2008 following its sell out performance at the Bristol Festival of Puppetry, and toured again in Spring 2013. One day, it may tour again…

“Comical, elegant and thought-provoking”
Venue Magazine
“A treasure-trove of a show…taut and arresting, a winning combination of humour, poignancy and pure joy”

5 stars – Exuent Magazine

” Brilliantly handled puppetry…a very special show indeed…stays in the memory for a long time after”

5 stars – Whats On Stage

“Beautiful, funny and whimsical…a theatrical treat and highly recommended”

4 stars – The Public Reviews

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The Elusive Madame B


An immersive journey through memory and imagination, in search of a flicker of perfection. With a dreamscape of sound that echoes Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, this is a sensory and moving experience for one audience member at a time.

This work was developed with the support of a SITE residency at the Tobacco Factory Theatre in conjunction with Theatre Bristol, and was performed as a work-in-progress showing.

“magical, sensory, a definite other world…I came out a  bit floaty. Beautiful”

“A pleasantly disorientating and beguiling journey of the senses”

“Gently compelling. I felt looked after, and a childlike sense of wonder”