What inspired you to create Landed?
A couple of years ago we were working with Wiltshire Libraries across the county (and in the county archives) on a project which looked at mark making and the marks we leave behind. During the numerous workshops and sessions we ran at the library in Salisbury we met incredible characters with long and fascinating life histories, some of whom lived on their own or in isolation. Those meetings unlocked an interest in their memories, knowledge and the lives they’ve lived. So, we began to think about making Landed, not just as a piece of art, but also as a way of working with a fascinating group of people which is growing fast in Wiltshire but is still often perceived to be marginal. Lots of work with older people focuses on trying to fix ‘problems’ faced by ‘the elderly’ and we wanted to unlock some of the immense value elders have built up, an incredible store of knowledge and wisdom. Landed developed slowly over a year and was first performed in May 2015 as part of the Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival.
What kind of stories can people expect to hear?
All stories in Landed are stories of love. Landed is a piece about love. But love in the broadest of terms. We have four beautiful performers each telling their own story of love – and that means we’ve four very different experiences. Love isn’t always best expressed by talking about a person: there are objects, places, activities and shared histories that are extraordinarily significant, and our stories include some hope for the future and some yearning for irretrievable pasts. You don’t know what you’ll get until you’re inside it!
It is unusual to have a performance for just one person at a time – how do you find audience members respond to this?
I guess shows for one audience at a time are an unusual way to experience a piece of theatre but there are festivals across the UK and mainland Europe where all the work is for one audience member at a time. And aside from that, not every show is appropriate for every theatre format. In that vein, Landed was made to be experienced by one audience member at a time for a reason. This format gives each audience member a unique experience of a fragile moment in time, a precious 10-15 minutes where the show allows for a very immediate and intimate situation, where the show asks you to slow down a bit, and experience a story which may, just may, make you think or experience the world around you in a slightly different way.
So we look forward to welcoming you all to the piece, to see the show as well as to contribute to the installation of love stories written or drawn by passers-by which will grow throughout the day.
People normally really like the format, but if anyone is worried about experiencing Landed alone, we can sometimes squeeze in a friend so it’s less unfamiliar – although they usually tell us afterwards they wish they’d done it alone!
Landed is performed outside Salisbury Playhouse on Saturday 26 March 2016 as part of Theatre Fest West. FREE 10 minute slots are available 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm and can booked via the Ticket Office on 01722 320333.