The screen at Fusion was perfect for showcasing the beautiful Norfolk coastline. Huge and beautifully photographed panoramas immediately made you want to be there. Festival director William Galinsky introduced the project, described the gravitas of artist and theatre director Robert Wilson and how much he was looking forward to seeing this project, which was first presented in the Netherlands in 2008.
Next on was Theun Mosk, one of the two collaborating artists who are managing the installation of the project up at Holkham. He walked to the microphone using the slow and rhythmic pace of the Walking performance which force you to slow down and experience the landscape in a different way. Theun is a young Dutch theatre director from Friesland who works with fellow theatre school graduate Boukje Schweigman. He described their approach to audience experience and creating a drama from moving people through spaces. Along the Walking route there are five architectural installations which walkers will 'encounter' and which are intended to the alter the audience's perceptions of space and time.
The structures are being built by a considerably-large local build team, and many of the local residents are quite intrigued by being involved - such as JCB operators who are moving loads of sand. So I think it is causing quite a stir locally.
I am hoping to go on one of the early 'performances' so that I can come back and report. I have a feeling that this is one of those things that it is easy to look at and think ' so they are charging us 15 quid just to walk along the beach, which we can do any time' and then find out that in fact, it is a moving and amazing experience that we won't have the chance to try again. And I have learnt to trust the Festival when they put such a lot of effort into something special like this. So I for one, will suspend my disbelief, shed my possessions in the box office and wend my way along the coast, doing what I am told. I am hoping that such surrender will pay off with a great experience. If it doesn't, then at least I will not have simply missed it!
Walking start on 20 August and carries on till 2 September 2012
For all the details have a look at www.nnfestival.org.uk/walking