We carried out a site-visit with Florrie Taylor and Sarah Sharp of Onestep Theatre last week, thinking through the possibilities the River Exe flood plain and an overgrown area with trees in Belle Isle Park as performance spaces.
We began our walk standing at the entrance to the flood plain. Florrie and Sarah pointed out that if you stand and look one way up the river you can see the city. If you turn and look the other way all you can see are living, growing things. They’re exploring these threshold perspectives in their participatory sound and movement piece, Ears to the Ground.
As we walked on to Belle Isle Park, they led us to a dense and overgrown copse that provides a hiding place from the rest of a grassy park. Inside we reminisced about our own experiences of hiding in ‘nature’s’ edge spaces as teenagers and speculated about present-day teenagers and what their relationship to outdoor space, wildness and nonhuman nature might have been during the pandemic – something their participants will comment upon in their piece.
Council gardeners approached the trees with lawnmowers but seemed to decide against mowing the long grass inside the small copse. The wildness of the hiding space remains for now. One of our group was wearing a dress, though, and we had to evacuate the long grass after a short while because of biting insects (note to all: trousers needed).