Reflections on 2015 – Performing in history

by admin on 17 January 2016

What strikes me immediately on looking back on the year are the amazing locations in which I have been privileged to perform.

April found me at Avoncraft museum where I was performing The Agincourt Archer in the wonderful 15C townhouse. A lovingly rebuilt timber framed merchant’s house that we lived in for the weekend. A draughty and smoke filled experience but something we felt privileged to do.

In May The Kilted Tommy was at the Brighton fringe performing in the Old Courtroom. A lovely Victorian courtroom given a new lease of life as a theatre.

In June, the Kilted Tommy was at the Oxford Fringe performing at the Turl Street Kitchen. A Georgian town house right in the middle of historic Oxford, converted to a rather good restaurant with rooms above.

July on the other hand found me in a tent in the middle of Beckenham Green spinning an alternative version of The Magna Carta to that favoured by the press. The tent itself did not have much of a history but the green has probably been the village green for centuries, being next to the parish church, built on a site used since 12th century.

In August, The Agincourt Archer was performed in front of the impressive keep, and inside the walls of Portchester Castle. This amazing backdrop brings home the immediacy of the story bearing in mind this was where Henry V planned and set forth on his journey that was to climax at Agincourt. Archers such as the one I portray actually walked on the ground on which I was performing.

In September, the Archer was being performed in Erpingham in Norfolk. This was the village where the Lord Erpinghm had his manor. Erpingham was the Kings Marshall of Archers at Agincourt. The performance was in the parish church, which he extended with the monies earned on that expedition. Again, to be performing in the church he used, no doubt along with archers, was an experience that grounded me into the still living history of that long ago battle.

In November, The Kilted Tommy was at Lewes performing in the All Saints Centre. A lovely 210 yr. old church standing on a religious site going back to 11th century. Again another building given a new lease of life and steeped in history.

Performances of historical material cannot but be enhanced by being performed in a historical setting.

Historical settings cannot but be enhanced by performances of historical material especially if they have a relationship to the place or to the people who lived there.


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