‘Is it the place that affects the people? Or is it the people that affect the place?’
That’s the question internationally renowned theatre company WildWorks is going to be exploring in a 3-day show with a revolving cast of 50 local volunteers as part of the ROOT1066 International Festival.
The Great Survey is inspired by the Domesday Book of 1086, which was entitled The Great Survey of the Wealth of England. But where the first Great Survey focused on the country’s physical wealth in terms of land, livestock and other possessions, this one 930 years later will be focusing on the town of Hastings greatest riches: its people and communities.
WildWorks are renowned for their unique style of site-specific theatre. They discover the memories and values of people and place and create extraordinary emotional experiences from them. WildWorks’ 2011 production of The Passion in Port Talbot involved over 1,000 people in the creation of this work with an estimated 22,000 people attending over a three-day period. New York Times said “suspend all expectations of a traditional experience “of their Enchanted Palace.
The WildWorks team has already spent time in Hastings during June, meeting local people, gathering information and it is this that will form the basis of their performance.
Bill Mitchell, Artistic Director of WildWorks, says “For a week in June we came to Hastings and asked ‘what’s special about living here?’ Everyone we met talked with passion and we listened. We heard things like ‘Hastings is a town that makes things happen.’ ‘It’s separate from the rest of the world.’ It’s a very independent place.’ ‘People don’t talk about things here. They get on and do.’ At its heart is the sea and fishermen – fish connects every community, old or new, in the town. We met people who arrived here and fell in love with the town and by the end of the week the team had fallen in love with it as well.”
Volunteers are now being sought locally, with rehearsals getting underway at the end of August. The actual performances will take place in the shadow of historic Hastings Castle – the first built after the Norman invasion – on 9-11 September.
Of course the exact content of the show will be determined by the workshops and rehearsal process about to get underway! But Bill has given this insight into what we might expect from the final performances “Come and meet The Surveyors; local ghosts who have been watching the horizon forever. Work with the Blind Archaeologists as they dig up the past. And, if you’re brave enough, explore the WildWorks Memory Projector; a device that finds memories buried deep in your DNA and projects them for all to see.”
All this will be taking place 9-11 September 2016, Ladies’ Parlour (next to Hastings Castle)