The aim of the show is to tell the entire story of a city in an hour or so.
While doing workshops with students in South London I was surprised that often they expressed a downbeat and disenchanted view of London. I saw this as my invitation to help them find a sense of beauty and belonging within it.
We gathered found objects from the streets around the college. It was autumn and the leaves were falling from the trees. The leaves carpeted the floor of the classroom; we cleared a path though them in the shape of the river Thames and placed our tiny found objects around it. One of the students made a soundtrack which began with sounds of nature and by tiny degrees grew to the noise of the modern city. A map of the city emerged. It grew to reflect the basic history of London, but it was also a personal history and a searching for identity. It was dusk and the sun went down during our performance. The installation was illuminated by fairy lights and candles. Once completed, the performers and our audience sat around it and read aloud snippets of text about London. It was magical and moving. People cried. No honestly, they really did!
Since then I’ve made a number of iterations of the work around the world; bigger, but certainly not better, than the original in South London.
city of dreams
Push Festival, Vancouver, 2011
Weltspeil, Bremen, 2006
Riverfestival, Brisbane, 2004
The Necessary Stage, Singapore, 2000
South London Gallery, London
National Theatre Studio, London