The Fens do not appear in the theatre very often. Not having seen this piece myself just yet, but having heard an interview with the director on the radio recently, I was intrigued: ‘Ours was the Fen Country’ is a dance-theatre piece that uses words, movement, music and lights to conjure up some of the atmospheres of the Fens, some of the heaviness and also the beauty.
For Ours Was the Fen Country, Dan Canham interviewed more than 30 Fenland people, from eel catchers and farmers, to stable owners and people who spent their whole lives there.
This is how the promotional website for this work describes the piece:
For the past two years Dan Canham has been capturing conversations with people of the fens in East Anglia. Eel-catchers, farmers, parish councilors, museum keepers, molly dancers and conservationists have all been interviewed. In this ethereal piece of dance-theatre Dan and his team fuse movement and sound with the words and memories of their native collaborators to get to the heart of this beautiful, bleak and mysterious expanse of flat land.
This was recently brought to the Cambridge Junction; some news pieces about this:
- A piece in the Cambridge News, with interview of Dan Canham: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Whats-on-leisure/Choice/An-intriguing-exploration-of-the-Fens-at-Cambridge-Junction-20130525063619.htm
- And a review of the Cambridge performance: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Whats-on-leisure/Reviews/Ours-was-the-Fen-Country-20130531103522.htm
- And another review of a performance in Bristol in May: http://www.whatsonstage.com/bath-theatre/reviews/05-2013/ours-was-the-fen-country-bristol_239.html
An extract from the first of these articles explains how the show came about:
“For the last couple of years I’ve been going around the Fens, mostly on trains and on my bike, interviewing people, seeking out rare characters who have ways of life that are not so common anymore, talking to them about their lives, their histories, their relationships to the landscape, and about the future and their hopes and their fears around that.”
During his investigative travels, Dan stumbled across a cast of unique Fenland people with captivating tales to tell. “People that the likes of you or I might not necessarily come into contact with because they keep themselves to themselves and they’re relatively self-sufficient,” says Dan. “I met some really generous, warm-hearted, friendly people who were happy to share their stories.”
To see some short videos about the piece, see here: http://www.junction.co.uk/artist/5126
The rural tour starts next week; it will come to Wisbech on Monday, followed by Ely, Peterborough, March and Chatteris. If you go, do let me know what you think of it.
- Mon 17th June 2013, 7.45pm Angels Theatre, Wisbech Tickets £10/8 01945 474447
- Weds 19th June 2013, 7.45pm The Maltings, Ely Tickets £10/8 01473 295900
- Friday 21st June 2013, 7.45pm Key Theatre Studio, Peterborough Tickets £10/8 01733 207 239
- Weds 26th June 2013, 7.45pm March Town Hall, March Tickets £10/8 01473 295900
- Weds 27th June 2013, 7.45pm Chatteris Midsummer Festival, Chatteris Tickets £10/8 01473 295900