I have also been up to Holkham Hall for the launch of Walking, an art theatre performance on the North Norfolk coast near Wells. It is part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and also the London Festival 2012 - which has brought lots of publicity to the East. It is the work of artist and theatre director Robert Wilson (you can read more about him here) who has a legendary reputation for his conceptual work and collaborations such as Einstein on the Beach with Philip Glass. For Walking he has worked with Dutch theatre designers Theun Mosk and Boukje Schweigman and a whole huge team to install the project, a three and a half mile 'performance' experienced through walking at a specific pace and entering architectural space along the way.
I haven't done the walk yet, and was initially a bit sceptical about the idea but as with many theatrical experiences, I think you have to 'just do it' and see what happens, which is my approach here. Robert Wilson has such a highly-regarded reputation that to not take the opportunity to witness his work first-hand would be foolish. I don't know whether or not I will enjoy it but I don't want to miss the opportunity, which will never happen again- and it is worth £15 and a day of my life to find out what happens and what the effect on me is.
Actually, it was compelling listening to Robert talking about it. He has charisma and I can see how he has developed and sold his ideas well. As I say, you have to think about is not as a walk, but as a theatrical experience and give yourself over to it. It takes around five hours to complete the whole thing (inc travel to the start of the walk) and you have to leave all your belongings behind so it is quite a challenge to take part - but for anyone that goes to London to visit an art gallery, or go to the theatre - it is much the same thing - you just have to think about it as a day out where you have to leave your bags with security bfore you go in. Actually, the reason for leaving your belongings is so that you can expereince the walk withoiut the trappings and distractions of everyday life. Anyway, I have booked for Saturday and tickets for popular times have sold out, though there is still lots of availability for Friday 24th and also Sunday 26th. It's on for two weeks so if you can get there this week, before the bank holiday, I would book straightaway - don't wait and think about it or the chance will be gone. Follow them on Twitter too https://twitter.com/WalkingNNFest
Out of Water
As I said, it's a busy weekend so before I do Walking at 11am I am going to get up very early and head for Holkham beach where there is another live art performance at 8am, called Out of Water, which involves singing and mothers and daughter though not exclusively. It's by Live Art Collective East who have also been busy in the region throughout the Cultural Olympiad. Their performance also highlights the wonderful north Norfolk coastline and the sea of course. As I say, the three performance (Saturday 25, Sunday 26, Monday 27) all start at 8am to catch the coastline in the rarefied morning light, and the performance takes place in the sea (though I gather that the audience can stay dry!)
This is what they say "Created by artists Helen Paris and Caroline Wright, Out of Water features a newly commissioned sound-score by composer Jocelyn Pook. The sound score, transmitted through headphones, comprises stories, instrumental music and songs. The show combines memories of childhood with stories about endeavour, swimming, sinking and breaking through. It’s about what we pass from one generation to the next and, in particular, what women pass to each other through the generations. Caroline Wright’s daughter and Helen Paris’s mother both make an appearance in the sound recording. Laura Wright who is a singer will also perform live. Local participants will take part in guiding the audience through this unique experience."
Well again, in my mind, worth a look to find out what it is all about, and if you want to do this, and Walking as well you can get a special joint ticket if you book by phone at the Theatre Royal Box Office 01603 630000 and ask for the special combo ticket.
Then it's back to my family and the Bank Holiday weekend until Monday evening when I am going to go and see Billy Bragg at the Voewood Festival which should be great fun and a perfect way to round off the weekend.
But if you are more free than I am, then check out the whole weekend programme. Voewood is primarily a literary festival but there is a wide range of things on offer – such as people like Anthony Gormley coming to do a talk, Howard Marks, Hanif Kureishi and there's readings, discussions, lots of music, lots of gin, bat walks and all in the fantastic location that is known as Voewood just outside Holt. The tickets are good value for the whole weekend (starts on Friday with a gig by British Sea Power) but you can also buy day or evening tickets, and there are also shuttle buses from Sheringham (so you can get the train there) and from the campsite at Kelling just a mile or so up the road. So, if you haven't got plans for the weekend already, I would really recommend that you have a look and at least go for part of the time. It is worth it to just have wander round the fantastic grounds and Arts and Crafts house as they are spectacular - and the programme itself is high-class stuff. As they describe it, an arts garden party. And if the weather holds out it will be a great place to be - and not far from Holkham and Wells either.
Oh and I have got work to fit around all of that - next mail I will tell you about the new network that I am involved in setting up to connect writers and film-makers called write2screen, the new show at Norwich Puppet Theatre Red Riding Hood which opens on Wednesday 22nd August (I've got to fit that in too) and the latest development on the UNESCO City of Literature on Future Radio's Platform Show talking about my website and my weekly take on the 10 cultural things to do in the area. It's where I flag up things that I have come across and think that other people might like to know about. And you can hear me on Platform with Kate Roma on Platform on Tuesday 21st 3-4pm at www.futureradio.co.uk or at 107.8FM.
If I can squeeze it in, I will also go and see Zheni Warner's exhibition at Mandells' Gallery in Elm Hill. I like her work generally, very colourful and 'glassy' - not a typo, the paint has a transparent quality - perhaps it is resin but it's nice! Which reminds me, that I also went to a meeting this week with people who want to set up an Art Fair in Norwich. More about that later too but if you are interested, you can read blogs about it from Rosie Winn here and Huw Sayer here.
Now I had better get on otherwise I won't get this programme to print
Hope to see some of you around at the weekend