Sharing the stage 5

Sharing the stage

  Yesterday the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation hosted a conference about participatory art at the old Town Hall in Shoreditch (London). All the organisations who’ve been long-listed for funding in the Foundation’s participatory performing arts strand were invited to ‘share the stage’ in an event dedicated to encouraging reflection, debate and the exploration of new collaborations.…

John Piper Window Covetry Cathedral

Christian art in a post-Christian society

‘If I say that this is a post-Christian nation, that doesn’t mean necessarily non-Christian. It means the cultural memory is still quite strongly Christian. And in some ways, the cultural presence is still quite strongly Christian. But it is post-Christian in the sense that habitual practice for most of the population is not taken for…

Nicole & Martin

Can you see beyond the tent?

Nicole & Martin live in a caravan: it may be the least interesting thing about them. People who live settled lives – most of us nowadays – have always regarded those who don’t with a mix of fascination and fear. Life without (apparent) ties is easily romanticised from the comfort of a property-holder’s armchair: think…

The Light Ships 4

A painful edge to oral history

The Light Ships is proving to be a revelation. An exploration of the church’s place in a community’s artistic life, it focuses on 14 villages in the Lincolnshire fenland. I’ve been meeting people involved in every aspect of church and chapel (and learning about the myriad differences between them). The buildings are often of great…

Audience, Swaffham Assembly Hall  (Rosie Redzia 2014)

The artist’s eye

Words last time: pictures today. Rosie Redzia, the wonderful artist with whom I’m working on ‘A Wider Horizon’, has been drawing rural theatre performances, among other things. Here are some images from Stuff of Dreams theatre company’s current production, The Bricks of Burston, before and during a performance at Swaffham Assembly Hall. They catch the…

Aladdin (Albert Letchford)

Speaking in tongues

Words captivated me first: then stories. As a small child, I didn’t always follow the story or care if I didn’t understand a word. The incantatory sounds were enough to feed my imagination: Rumplestilskin, Rastapopoulos, Gorgonzola, Ali Baba, Craven A, Kia-Ora, Greengage, Long John Silver, Julius Caesar – endless spells composed of syllables. Later, words…