in situ: Theatre and Landscape, 2009

Hello Everybody,

Happy New Year to you all!

This is just to give all close in situ: associates a bit of early warning about this year’s extremely exciting and totally unmissable Theatre and Landscape programme. Stuff will be coming out on the website and in print soon, but I want to give you all the basic details now. These events do sometimes sell out quite quickly once they’re advertised.

We’re doing two weekends and one full week, all in different locations, two of them new locations!

Friday May 1 – Monday May 4 – we’ll be in Toad Hall, Suffolk. We’ve been there two years running – it’s a lovely, secluded Tudor mansion, full of character, near Woodbridge. It’s great fun to work in – a fantastic base for all our stuff.

In previous years we’ve been to Sutton Hoo (famous Anglo-Saxon burial site); Dunwich (mysterious medieval town that crumbled into the sea; Aldeburgh (Benjamin Britten, witch-trials and many other attractions) and the extraordinary abandoned nuclear laboratories at Orford Ness. This year, we’ll be returning to some of these sites and discovering new ones.

Friday May 8 – Monday May 11 – yes, that’s the following weekend! We’re going to a completely new location.

We’ll be staying in The Peak District, in a lovely big farmhouse called Throwley Hall Farm, nr. Ilam/Ashbourne. (About two and a half hours drive from Cambridge)
There are lots of fascinating sites to visit. We’ll be visiting the Plague Village of Eyam (where there was an isolated outbreak during the Great Plague of 1665/6. The Plague arrived from London in a suit of clothes – many people in the village died and they instituted a heroic regime of self-quarantine, whereby nobody was allowed to leave the village – very evocative). We’ll be visiting Arbor Low – a magnificent stone circle – and one of the numerous stunning natural environments in which the region abounds – probably Lathkill Dale.

Bella and I know this area very well from previous visits and are very excited about working in this fantastic new location.

Friday September 11 – Friday September 18: This is the whole week. We’re going to another new location – a big Edwardian house called Steeperton, near Okehampton in the wilds of Dartmoor. Dartmoor is an extraordinary environment, full of fascinating geology, wildlife and Archaeology. It also has plenty of artistic connections, most notable Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles!

We’ll be exploring all this stuff during our week-long stay.

If you haven’t done a Theatre and Landscape before, the idea is that we use the different sites and landscapes as a stimulus for wide-ranging creative work, which in the past has not been confined to acting and theatre, but has included installation-making, singing and voice, storytelling, music, painting and creative writing.

Sometimes we create work in the landscape itself. Sometimes, the landscape is a stimulus for work back at our base.

It’s a full-on, thoroughly enjoyable and stimulating creative blast, plus lovely food, enjoyable company and comfortable and delightful surroundings.

If you have done it before, hopefully you will need no further persuasion.

The weekends cost £225 each and the Dartmoor week costs £480. This includes everything – food, accommodation, tuition, any travel during the course itself and any materials used. It doesn’t include getting to the location in the first place, but lifts are often available from other participants.

If you think you would like to do a Theatre and Landscape, please let me know and I will provisionally hold a place for you, pending the sending out of more information and a booking form. If you want to know more about it, please give us a ring.

hope I’ve enthused you.

best wishes and see you all soon.

Richard and Bella

Richard Spaul
in situ: Theatre Company