The Theatre of Mistakes: A Selective Chronology
Jason E. Bowman







The Ting is founded in London. People from differing art forms and occupations gather to develop and co-perform instructional and games-based exercises. 


The Ting at Artists Meeting Place

An initial public performance using the concept of a ‘free session’, when participants would perform exercises simultaneously, which would result in a complex structure including a logic of ‘triggering’.






The Automobile Association Building (AA), Basingstoke.

A series of photographs in which gravity is disoriented through the use of vertical and horizontal planes against the brickwork of the AA’s Fanum House.


Preparations for Displacement

Cambridge International Poetry Festival; Corn Exchange, Cambridge. (25 performers)

A performance that coalesces exercises, including drawn from The Gymnasium – the compendium in which the group cumulatively logged them.


The Street 

Ascham Street, Kentish Town, London.

A performance devised from exercises and co-performed with the residents of Ascham Street, where it is rehearsed for about 11 weeks. It involves 60-odd performers including residents, and specialised instructions are developed for children. 


Pairs Game, The Three Act Piece, Sabotage Piece

Southampton Performance Show.


Solos, Automotive Regeneration, Height Slides and Collisions

The Village Green, Hartley Witney.

The group experiment, develop concepts and create circumstances for peer-support at Purdies Farm in Hampshire. This leads to performances sometimes taking place at the nearby village green.


Core Group Fantasy Piece

Purdies Farm, Hazeley Heath, Hampshire.

The group has been variously known as Ting, The Ting; The Ting: The Theatre of Mistakes and The Theatre of Mistakes. Throughout its duration, its records suggest a variance in who was considered as a core member as its nuclei changed over time, sometimes listing five, six or seven members as being the nucleus. Those who were identified in various records include: Mickey Greenall, Anthony Howell, Glenys Johnson, Lindsay Moran, Miranda Payne, David Spathaky, Peter Stickland, Fiona Templeton, Julian Maynard Smith, Howard Tong and Anita Urquhart.


Five Concert Pieces and a Free Session

The London Exhibition; Flower Market, Covent Garden, London.

Over three weekends, the group perform multiple works including: The Three Act Piece; Heights, Slides and Collisions; The Exercise Session with Domino Trigger and The Consecutive Building Piece; A Continuous Contact Body Progression and The Table Piece. Followed by a Free Session when the group self-select exercises to be performed simultaneously in ways that effect various infra-structural crossovers and impasses.


Lecture Performance 

The Roundhouse, London. 

A work that collapses the notion of audience through its incorporation.


Free Session

The Roundhouse, London.





Manifesto of Mutual Art

Written during gatherings with artists including at Ascham Street, London and Purdies Farm, the process began in 1975 and is completed in 1976. It suggests routes to mutual production and ultimately offers two modes: unanimity, or else ‘choice by chance’. It is also disseminated by post for future comment and consultation.


The Three Act Piece 

Goldsmiths College, London.


Elements of Performance Art

Winchester School of Art (15 performers) and Maidstone College of Art (3 performers).


Two Journeys 

Slade School of Art, London.

The first journey takes place in four parts or corridors and is thus in four acts. Part 1 is when a single performer deals with the corridor; Part 2 is when two performers address the corridor dualistically. Three people address it in Part 3 and so on. The second journey is of one part: all 10 performers attempt to re-enact their first journeys simultaneously. If new contact occurs then a layer of instructions comes into place. The Parts are temporally measured using an early version of A Waterfall.


Table Piece

Goldsmiths College, London.


Camouflage by Display and Display by Displacement

Various locations, including: St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Elgin Marbles Room at The British Museum, The Burlington Arcade and The Circle Line of the London Underground.


Sketch for The Table Piece

New Contemporaries: The Live Show

Acme Gallery, London.


Open Rehearsals for The Table Piece

Goldsmiths College and the Falkland Fair, London.


The Table Piece

University of East Anglia, Norwich.



The Art Room, London.

The Art Room is established as a short-lived experiment into the selling of art. Including The Fiver Show


Active Circles

Hartley Witney, Hampshire.


Elements of Performance Art

Exercises developed from Ting and subsequent sessions and initially recorded as The Gymnasium are distilled and refined into this manual, interspersed by theorem. It is the sole publication of Ting Books. Its first iteration in 1976 is published in the quotidian format of A4, stating the edition size was to be restricted to the number requested. A later edition of 800, shrunk to an A5 format, was published in 1977. It has been re-published in a revised edition in 2017 by Grey Suit Editions to coincide with the exhibition, In Case There’s a Reason: The Theatre of Mistakes at Raven Row.



Artists’ Market, London. 

Bath Academy of Art.


Scenes at a Table

London Calling 1976 Festival. Art Meeting Place (formerly Artists Meeting Place), London. Organised by Artists for Democracy.


Homage to Pietro Longhi: Scenes at a Table 

Serpentine Gallery, London.


Ascent of the Stedelijk 

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.


Mutuality Signature

A stamp is produced of three of the group’s merged signatures and is used to produce a sequence of variable iterations as Mutuality Signatures.






Going premieres during a tour of Scotland and the North East of England, organised by Richard Demarco, and is performed at Aberdeen Art Gallery, Edinburgh College of Art, the St. Andrews Festival, The Third Eye Centre (Glasgow) and Greenhaugh Hall, Hexham.


Going is the first fully rehearsed work by The Theatre of Mistakes. Performed in grey suits the group looks like it is representative of a bureaucracy by which it may also be trapped and from which it is attempting to escape. Going tours to America and across Europe.


A Waterfall

The Hayward Gallery, London.

A Waterfall is part of the controversial 1977 Hayward Annual as selected by Michael Compton, Howard Hodgkin and William Turnbull. They perform 48 one-hour sequences over 48 days on the terrace of the building whilst the charts of how this additive production is structured are exhibited in the galleries.



Galerie Farideh Cadot, Paris.


Theatre of Mistakes Night School

Space Studios, Essex Road Baths, London.

The group continue to teach their processes and sustain Elements of Performance Art workshop events. 





Two Freedoms

Vancouver School of Art.


Two Freedoms and Going

Studentski kulturni centar (SKC), Belgrade. 


Going, Waterfall 3 and Rape of the Mind

Arnolfini, Bristol.


Waterfall 6 

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.


Homage to Morandi 

The Studio, Purdies Farm, Hazeley Witney. 


Two Freedoms

Vienna Festival.


Orpheus and Hermes 

Galerie Krinzinger, Forum für Aktuelle Kunst, Innsbruck.


Rape of the Mind 

Chapter Gallery, Cardiff.


Following their tour of the United States, the group begins to fracture.





Orpheus and Hermes

Brighton Theatre Festival; Sallis Benney Hall, Art and Design Faculty, Brighton Polytechnic.


Duet for Orpheus and Hermes and Homage to Morandi

University Theatre Festival; La Stanza Theatre, Brescia.


Duet for Orpheus and Hermes 

Sala Polivalente, Ferrara. 


Homage to Morandi 

Saint Martin’s School of Art, London.





Homage to Morandi

Cultuurhuis de Warande, Turnhout; Beursschouwburg, Brussels; Cultuurhuis, Neerpelt; Cultuurhuis, Koldam te Hoeilaart; Cultuurhuis, Hasselt; Centrum Experimenteel Toneel, Wilrijk; and, STUK, Leuven. 


LantarenVenster, Rotterdam; The Mickery Theatre, Amsterdam; Globetheater, Eindhoven; Kruitshuis, Groningen; Schouwburg, Arnhem; Theater de Vest, Alkmaar.

Performed with Stuart Sherman’s Twelfth Spectacle – Language and his 3=1 (A Careful Misreading) in a tour of Belgium facilitated by the Vlaams Theatre Circuit and of the Netherlands organised by Ritsaert ten Cate, founder of the Mickery Theatre.


Homage to Morandi and The Table Move (performed as a duet). 

Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin.


The Theatre of Mistakes formally disbands.





In the intervening years Anthony Howell recreates A Waterfall with The New Mistakes, Fiona Templeton directs an edited version of Going, entitled Going with Coming. Grey Suit Editions publish new versions of selected projects by The Theatre of Mistakes including Going, Homage to Morandi and Elements of Performance Art, including with diagrams and layout by Peter Stickland.





In Case There’s a Reason: The Theatre of Mistakes 

A survey exhibition organised by Raven Row and curated by Jason E. Bowman. 


1 This chronology is partial and inconclusive as different written and perceptive understandings exist of what happened when, why and by whom. Whenever possible measures were taken to draw on sources such as printed programmes, publicity materials and the records of other organisations. It is also informed by primary research, conducted by curator Jason E. Bowman and art historian Marie-Anne Mancio in 2006.