» Site-specific and site-responsive works
Talking Birds is particularly interested in making work in places which the public don't often get into, the sorts of places that you might stumble across by accident. Places which have interesting features, histories and former uses, perhaps layered with recollections and associations which are on the brink of slipping from living memory. Or places that are at the end of one use and not quite ready for the next.
Our projects invite people to explore a particular place of interest in a mediated way; weaving together its stories - real and imagined - to make accessible this neglected or forgotten space and encourage people to examine it in a new light.
Here's a selection of some of our site-specific and site-responsive works:
» A City Grown From Words
A performance-installation made with Coventry University to mark the closure of the Bishop Street sorting office.
Audience comments: "It is very nice to note the passing of a much missed sorting office in such an imaginative and personal way."
"Really exciting and inventive - enjoyed the interaction I could have with the event. And nice to see this building in use."
"Really enjoyed this celebration of the Bishop Street sorting office. Wonderfully evocative."
» Three Doctors
Three Doctors was a performance as part of One Last Look to mark the closing of Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital (which was being relocated to the new University Hospital in Walsgrave). Talking Birds marked this significant moment for the city by guiding an audience of 12 at a time through the corridors and operating theatres that have held the stories of thousands of local people, accompanied by voices, music and the ghosts of doctors Arrowsmith, Bourne and Mellor, the hospital's founders.
Commissioned by the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick - click here to see their project archive.
» The Last Lot
The Last Lot was a weekend of theatre to mark the closing of the Mart on the Barrack Street site, Kilkenny, before trade moved to the new agri-retail park off the Carlow Road. It was a collaboration between UK based Talking Birds, Kilkenny County Council’s Arts Office, and various artists and arts groups in Kilkenny County.
» Theatre Spectres
Collaborative site-responsive theatre short created in a week within the highly charged Winter Gardens in Morecambe, during the Talking Birds Summer School presented by the Nuffield Theatre at Lancaster University.
» Dŵr Caru
An entrepreneur seeks to cash in on a border community’s water source. As the drilling rig probes the site, uncovering layers of history as well as geology, ancient grudges and dormant passions are disturbed. Play involving an 80 strong cast and choir, made for a geodesic dome on the Welsh border and produced in collaboration with Landscape.
» Solid Blue
SOLID BLUE was courtroom drama done Talking Birds style, and made especially for Whitefriars, the atmospheric medieval monastery set amidst the flyovers of the Coventry ring road. It was inspired both by the ghosts of the building and by conversations with local crime historian John Russell, who revealed to us the grisly discovery in Coventry of criminals' remains buried vertically, headfirst...
“a unique experience...There is a perfect harmony between space and performance: the event is as much a celebration of a place as it is of an idea. The result is both disturbing and thrilling – an exciting buzz deep in your guts...” [ReviewsGate]
Made in, for and about the South Bay Underground Car Park in Scarborough in the depths of winter, Wanderlust told the story of a man who had been parked there indefinitely.
It explored the way that a site's many incarnations and histories continue to build and sit on top of each other, in a sometimes less than peaceable co-existence. When we first visited the car park, someone mentioned Galaland, an arcade that the car park replaced in the 1960s. Digging in the local history archives revealed astonishing pictures of Moroccan-style arches, which seemed incongruously elaborate architecture for an amusement arcade until further investigation revealed the original life of the building - as Scarborough Aquarium, designed by maverick architect Eugenius Birch, best known for his seaside piers. Wanderlust allowed all three of these incarnations to take turns to surface.
If you've use the underground car park in the last few years and wondered why there are small pulleys in the ceiling at one point, now you know - but don't tell anyone we told you...
“Through sound and projections, the concrete pillars of the car park reconstruct into lavish archways of the former Victorian Aquarium. The whole space moves... Wanderlust is a bona fide example of a multi-media art event, that delivers - always purposeful, never over-indulgent.” [Live Art Magazine]
"This short 20 minute performance/live art installation intrigued and beguiled. Unlike anything you had ever seen before, it was a highlight of this years festival." [www.create.uk.net]