Mother for You I Made This

Premiered in May 2013 in Downtown Seattle

Part performance and part activism, Ezra Dickinson‘s Mother for you I made this is aimed at activating a conversation about the failed mental health care system in America through memories of Dickinson’s childhood as he lived with and unknowingly cared for his schizophrenic mother. Dickinson’s hour-long solo is built from a series of performances he made as gifts for his mother over a seven year period.

Audiences were guided through forgotten public spaces by ushers and given a personal audio sound score composed by Paurl Walsh. Weaving conversations between Dickinson and his mother with sounds from the actual landscape.

Mother for you I made this was commissioned and produced through Velocity Dance Center‘s Made in Seattle dance development program with support from 4Culture, ArtsFund, and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

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Mother for you I made this, full performance video.

Mother downloadable Audio Album.


Additional Pieces in the Mother Series:


Listen, short film by Ezra Dickinson and Doug Arney 2015


Listen is meant to show the feeling of isolation that can be felt when dealing with a loved ones mental illness.
Filmed by Ryan Adams, Jacob Rosen and Doug Arney. Sound by Paurl Walsh. Edited by Doug Arney.
Concept and performance by Ezra Dickinson. Listen is part of an ongoing investigation in creating work for Ezra’s schizophrenic mother. Footage from Listen has been meshed with footage from Ezra’s 2013 performance Mother for you I made this. Listen was displayed at Seattle City Hall as part of the exhibit The Incredible Intensity Of Just Being Human.

Dinosaurs And Sea Hawks, short film by Linas Phillips and Ezra Dickinson 2014

Inspired by creating performance gifts for his schizophrenic mother ‘Dinosaurs and Sea Hawks’ is another story in Ezra Dickinson’s ongoing performance work. The dinosaur mask is intended as a reminder of child hood and quite literally a mask to hide from the harsh really of the world through Ezra’s mothers eyes. Directed, filmed and edited by Linas Phillips. Written and acted in by Ezra Dickinson. Sleeping under a bridge is a man and his dinosaur mask. Waking up, he walks in to the heart of the city and puts on his mask. A friend a stranger a kindred soul emerges and the mask is passed off and traded. The man watches then walks away with a Sea Hawks hat.


Manifest Destinies Child, short film by Douglas Arney and Ezra Dickinson with music by the Corespondents.

Music video created for the Corespondents and the performance of Mother for you I made this. Filmed and edited by Douglas Arney (of the Corespondents). Choreographed and performed by Ezra Dickinson (creator of Mother for you I made this). Music video features 14 versions of Ezra Dickinson and one that is not Ezra. The concept for this video is a remembrance for Ezra of growing up with a schizophrenic mother.


Mother TEDX Rainer

Tonya Lockyer + Ezra Dickinson TEDX Talk Macaw Hall 2014

Gifts for my mother, interview with Ezra at TEDX

Mother press review links:

Seattle Dances
Ezra Dickinson Quietly Provokes

Seattle Weekly
Dance: Ezra Dickinson

Seattle Star
Mother For You I Made This: The Art of Changing how we Talk about Mental Disorders

Seattle Times
Haunting look at mental illness, laid bare on the streets

City Arts
Ezra Dickinson: Triumph and Tribute

The 12th Avenue Project
Ezra Dickinson Dances a Duet with Seattle

The Stranger

No Two Performances Will Be the Same

Mother press photo essay of performance:

City Arts Online

Ezra Dickinson Takes to the streets

Mother press preview/interview links:

The Stranger
Q&A with Ezra Dickinson, a Choreographer and Dancer Featured in the New A&P

Seattle Met
A Fiendish Conversation with Ezra Dickinson

Kiro Radio
In Mother For You I Made This, a Seattle Dancer Finds a Stage in the Streets

STANCE Journal of Choreographic Culture
Encourage Inspire Activate: Living with the mentally ill

KUOW Interview
Weekday & Weekday With Steve Scher (Interview starts at 38:30)

Seattle Channel
Art Zone with Nancy Guppy (Interview starts at 6:30)

Seattle Mag
Ezra Dickinson to Perform a Series of Short Solos

Mother press quotes:

An elegant meld of street art, classical performance, and tribute. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I saw it.

— Marci Sillman (Seattle Dance Annual, 13 reviewers recall their 2013 dance highlights)

Mother for you I made this literally brought dance into the streets of downtown Seattle. Instead of merely demonstrating his work to an audience, Dickinson equalized the choreography with its historical and emotional foundations, the music, and the venue— creating a work that was both a product of his environment and a gift to it.

— Melody Datz (Seattle Dance Annual, 13 reviewers recall their 2013 dance highlights)

The emotional pull of Ezra Dickinson’s Mother for you I made this. This is hands-down my personal favorite piece of 2013.

— Rachel Gallaher (Seattle Dance Annual, 13 reviewers recall their 2013 dance highlights)

Mother for you I made this focused our attention on a different kind of prison, the grim combination of homelessness and mental illness that traps so many people we see on the street. The work was full of beautiful and painful contradictions—the evening I went, the air was balmy and the light was tender, which gave an almost unrealistic romanticism to the experience. He led us through the streets and alleys that are home for too many people, but his innate sweetness was a welcome buffer against despair.

— Sandra Kurtz (Seattle Dance Annual, 13 reviewers recall their 2013 dance highlights)