Final Blog Post: Clay Walkers from start to finish

A Framing Statement:

Over a matter of 12 weeks myself with a group consisting of Georgia and Beth had to create a piece of site specific performance in a selected location within Lincoln. The location the group and I was given was uphill Lincoln which included the use of steep hill if we wished. We as a group were taken by the ‘secret’ garden located opposite the famous Lincoln Cathedral on our first walk (drift) around the possible site location choices to perform. The ideas I had first in versioned of this bizarre style of performance was linking to “religion” or a “Mad hatter’s tea party”. But the final idea we all agreed on was self-image on how a person sees themselves as well as the history of the Pot makers of Lincoln.

Our performance date was set and ready to be performed on Wednesday 6th May 2015. “Clay Walkers” was an installation as well as a durational piece which also consisted a miniature tour from Pottergate located south of the Cathedral grounds up to the exchange gate near the Lincoln hotel from there down to the garden. The reason why our performance piece was named “Clay Walkers” was because our piece was inspired by Antony Gormley who created the famous “Field of the British isles” (Gormley, 2012, cited in

The piece was made by ground clay figures (210,000) of them. We knew we couldn’t make that many figures on the day so our aim was 200 figures in 8 hours. This was to represent the working day.

As the weeks went by our audience would become more important to the installation piece more than ever. The audience would assist the creating or building up the figures with the clay we provided (that being only a handful of clay) well salt dough. Enabling the performance to have many different looking figures than just a normal same looking figures, which to me seems boring. As human being not one of us are the same in body shape or in mind.

On the day of the performance the weather wasn’t exactly on our side nor the weather we really wanted. It wasn’t fun being out in the pouring rain with salt dough clay turning all sticky and sticking to everything and staining everyone blue (as it had to have a colour change). Sadly the only audience members we had to assist with the creating of the figures were Conan (our second marker for this assessment) and Rachel (our tutor).

With the whole process of this piece this quote has always stood out to me ‘the play-as-event belongs to the space, and makes the space perform asmuchas it makes actors perform’ (Wiles, 2003, p.1). When I first read it I couldn’t really explain why I liked it until the performance, as actors with site specific you don’t really need to over dramatize the performance. It’s not a play its well Site Specific, let the space (or site) do all the performing like we did as a group.

An Analysis of Process:

To get the final product of performance it didn’t happen overnight it took a lot of planning and ideas before us as a group agreed on a final idea performance. In the first few weeks the module was split up between theory classes and working on location creating some of the performance or at least getting a feel of the location. My first idea before I’d even got into a group to create our performance I wanted to work on the historical side of religion associated with the uphill Lincoln, however on reflection religion isn’t really a site specific performance idea plus it could offend people who believe/ support religion and the church (cathedral) if we had given out wrong information.

The Theory behind Clay Walkers:

As I’ve mentioned before Antony Gormley was the main influence for Clay Walkers, however it wasn’t just his work ethic that inspired the final creation. During the theory seminars with Rachel on Wednesdays we were taught different styles of site specific performances. There are many types of performance that we could have chosen. Some of them I didn’t think at the time were classed as a performance like an audio recording of instructions to be performed by the person listening to them. After this module I’ve accepted lots of other methods for site specific.

Adrian Howell was one the main people we focused on with the audio recordings. For example we listened to Howell’s Everyday Moments 11 http://http// (an audio drama for private performance in our own time). Some of the instructions that we were giving were based on how to drink a hot cuppa in bed. It was specially designed for people to participate from the comfort of your own home.  This task was one I wasn’t too keen on perusing for the final product. Reflecting back on the overall performance I don’t honestly think Clay Walkers would have worked with an audio recording.

Being one with the performance site location:

“To be a place, every somewhere must lie on one or several paths of movement to and from places elsewhere. Life is lived, I reasoned, along paths, not just in places, and paths are lines of a sort“. (Ingold, 2007, p.2). This quote sums up the main feel for the creation of Clay Walkers. We started with all sorts of ideas and walked many paths around uphill Lincoln to finally get the one that felt right. Also section of this quote stating “Life is lived”, I felt as a group we were reliving the history of the potters from the late 15th century some stories from Pottergate are even older.

Something I wrote from one of my first blog posts back in February “After walking around the cathedral and the secret garden it made me and a couple of friends decide that we felt connected with this site. The garden felt like a place you would enter after you’ve passed like God’s waiting room. I think it’s connected more by religion as the garden is right next to the cathedral’s door to heaven”. (Levesque-Payne, 2015). I have no idea still to this very day why I felt I had to work in the garden. It just felt right from day one like I was drawn to it. I had the same feeling with Pottergate that I had to work there as well. a picture of Pottergate taken in February (Levesque-Payne, 2015 cited in Flickr).

Legends and Myths:

Lincoln being an historical city is bound to have local folk tales and legends, well it didn’t fail to disappoint. I was aware of the legend of the Lincoln imp in the cathedral. I was more interested to find out if there was any mythical legends connected with either the garden or Pottergate. Before our final group idea, we had included St Anne’s Well located at the back of the cathedral. Beth had done some in depth research based on the local history and discovered a legend about the devil being connected with the well. Needless to say I wanted to try this myth or theory out in a workshop session when rehearsing up by the cathedral.

“At the rear of Lincoln cathedral stands Queen Anne’s well. A small stone structure, with a pointed roof, the well has one wooden door, with six holes symmetrically placed across the front. Legend states, that if you walk around the well seven times, and then place your finger into one of the holes you will be judged by the devil. If you are a good person, you will feel the devil’s breath on your finger. If you’re bad, it will be bitten off!” (HauntedLincs Blog, 2012). I strongly felt this idea would have been amazing to add into our site piece however on reflection many people get freaked out when it comes to ghosts and witchcraft legends. Georgia and I felt most confident when it came around to testing this local legend out. I’m not going to lie I wanted something to happen but alas nothing happened at all. So I guess this story will forever remain a story.

Over the top performance or minimalistic?

So as a group our first idea of a mad hatter’s tea party was a bit over the top even for site specific. We were advised to look around the space to create a performance. Inside Pottergate on the bricks are engraved names some of which have been graffiti from teens, however upon on rehearsal Georgia and Beth had discovered a very faded out number of 1895 and a name of “P.Pinkering”. It resembled a grave stone marking, was it a date of an original potter’s death or birth? Naturally that got us all thinking ideas and creating a story behind this person (seeing as we were unsure whether this person was male or female).

In our own time each group member did their own research into the gates history, I’d discovered that Pottergate was an entrance to uphill Lincoln to trade your goods at the market which funnily enough is located where the secret garden now stands.

One idea that eventually was discarded was to give a misguided tour from the Pottergate to the garden via St Anne’s Well. While on the tour your guide would give you a set of tasks that you had to perform on the route. Some of the tasks were to see if you’d been good or bad at the well. We as a group had decide to turn down the ritual tasks at the well not to freak the audience members out, turning them out into more of a dance routine. With this misguided tour we were going to have P.Pinkering as our main character, Beth had created a background story saying P.Pinkering was a potter who sadly lost his life. So our misguided tour was to fulfil his/her wish to create an object out of clay and go to market to sell it.

Our reasoning for discontinuing the idea of a misguided tour with P.Pinkering as our main focus because it started turning into a characterised performance taking away the feel of a site specific performance.


“Site Specific performance exists within a plethora of phenomena, all competing for attention, all potentially meaningful: A concatenation of that at site and that brought of the site”. (Pearson, 2010. P.1). I wanted our performance piece to show through the location itself. The beauty of the garden didn’t really need a character to make it feel like a performance.

To use clay or Salt Dough:

Now we have an idea that we as a group want our audience to create a figure of themselves and to create it in the way they see themselves looking to the world. Once they have created a figure, they will walk with one of our trained Potters (Beth, Georgia and myself) to bake the figure in the kiln oven that still exists in the garden wall.

The price of clay varies depending on the amount of clay that is needed.  Seeing as we only have a budget of £30 (£10 per person in the group) we have to use our money wisely. Georgia, Beth and me consulted Rachel on what we could use that would have the same effect of clay that we could get that’s cheaper. She suggested salt dough (play dough). There are many ways to make salt dough by either cooking or just making it by hand. The recipe I found online to create our clay was from WikiHow,

The first time we made the salt dough was the day before our first dress run. It took four hours to create 200 pieces just for dress run. Considering that it’s taken four hours to create that amount, I remembered we would have to create either the same amount or more dough depending on how well the dress run went.

Dress Run:

So the day of the first proper test run of clay walkers had arrived and there was mixed emotions on the task we had put us through. We did have perfect weather which I was praying for. However upon reflection having very hot sunny weather made clay walkers a more difficult process than it should have been. The weather not only affected some of the cast with the onset of heat stroke it also affected the salt dough. Within an hour of running the durational piece the dough started to dry out. So the water we had brought for us to drink was being used on the dough to keep it moist. Due to the weather and health of the cast, I decided to inform Rachel that the dress run had to be cut short, so we only be able to complete four hours of our eight hour performance. This wasn’t clay walkers idea of this perform. However we were pleased that these issues had happened on the dress rehearsal than actually happen on the assessed performance.

Final performance of Clay Walkers:

The final performance took place on a very wet and windy day something we wasn’t hoping for. I know I said that the weather was a problem when it was warmer however I would of preferred it if it was warmer but not too warm. Sadly we couldn’t change or be in control of the weather.

Clay walkers performance lasted six hours as we ran out of clay (salt dough). A few problems we encountered throughout the day was no audience members expect for Conan and Rachel which for me was a really confident boost. Having no audience members attend made the performance a lot more stressful and time seemed to stand still. I think the many reason why we didn’t have any audiences was because of the strong rain. It wasn’t because it wasn’t advertised at all I had full control of the promotion of Clay Walkers on Facebook

I would regularly update the fan page as well as the event to keep people informed of our processes to creating our group piece.

One thing we haven’t really taken into consideration was the reactions to the general public around us from tourists to locals. I know site specific is a bizarre style of performance, I don’t really think we helped matters when our clay was wrapped up into balls with cling film around it made it resemble pre-packed bags of drugs. We had this problem in the dress run so decided to change the colour of the mixture to make it look less suspicious to the general public.  Sadly on the day of the performance an unforeseen incident occurred between myself and a member of the general public wanting to take the bag we had as storage of the dough away. luckily enough the person didn’t stay long once hearing the sound of police sirens.

Something else that changed half way through the durational piece was the things we were creating down at the Pottergate. Conan wanted the group to use the things we had around us that inspired our emotions with the locations we’d picked.  Our final piece (once it was completed) was a memory or though mural dedicated to the history of uphill Lincoln.  An image link to the final product : (Levesque-Payne, 2015. Flickr).

Performance Evaluation:

Upon reflection with the performance of clay walkers I felt it could have gone a lot better than it actual turned out. I think we as a group had done a bit more rehearsals on creating things around us than creating self image clay figures we could have created a lot more than we did in the six hours. But saying that the performance wasn’t all doom and gloom as I enjoyed being in a beautiful location even if it was raining the garden still smelt amazing with the wet grass. Still till this very day I have found putting the theory we was taught as a whole class into practise in the location was a struggle. Finding a reading that linked in a way to our piece was a nightmare. The only few times I could link in research to the rehearsals was when I referenced Antony Gormley into our inspirations.

If I was to re-create clay walkers again in the near future I would use wooden chopping boards in the garden only and create bricks with words cut into them with words relating to site specific performance or things I could see around me. I think I would use Pottergate once an hour to collect audience instead of walking in a cycle that way people could enjoy their time in the garden. I also think if we had audience as well involved in clay walkers the reactions would be better than we as a group reacted to each other. It wasn’t until we created and finished the mural that we actually appreciated our hard work in the pouring rain for six hours.


Works Cited:

Gormley, A. (2012) Antony Gormley’s Field For The British Isles Arrives At Barrington Court. [Online] Available from [Accessed on 11th May 2015].

Ingold, T. (2000) The Perception of the Environment: Essay on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skills (London, Routledge).

HauntedLincs Blog. (2012) Cathedral: The Ghosts of Lincoln Cathedral. [Blog entry] March 2012. Lincoln: University of Lincoln. Available from [Accessed 12th 2015].

Howell, A. (2011) Everyday Moments 11: audio drama for private performance. The Guardian. [Online] Available from [Accessed 16th February 2015].

Levesque-Payne, S. (2015) it’s the uphill climb. [Blog entry] 8th February. WordPress: University of Lincoln. Available from [Accessed 8th February 2015].

Levesque-Payne, S. (2015) Final Assessment of “Clay Walkers”. [Online] Available from [Accessed 14th May 2015].

Levesque-Payne, S. (2015) Sophie Levesque-Payne’s Flickr SAM_1338. [Online] Available from [Accessed 12th May 2015].

Pearson, M. (2010) Site-Specific Performance. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

WikiHow. How to make salt dough. [Online] USA. Available from [Accessed 17th April 2015]

Wiles, D. (2003) A Short History of Western Performance Space. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Performance Day of “Clay Walkers”

Well the day I’ve been looking forward to and in a way dreading has come and finally finished.

A quick recap on the last two weeks of rehearsals;

We as a group had a few problems in our dress run two weeks ago due to weather, however it wasn’t because it was raining (which is blessing for England). In April across England had a few weeks of freak sunny and hot weather, which for our performance would be a pain. Walking a cycled route continuously for 8 hours would (and did) cause some bother for us. Something as a group we struggled with. Getting the first stages of heat stroke during a dress run wasn’t fun.

Upon reflection we decided to try and perform another dress run of “Clay Walkers” a week before the actually assessed performance. Sadly this didn’t happen as other assessments had clashes for us to rehearse as a full group. One other issue that was brought up by Rachel was our clay figures (inspired by Antony Gormley) were too small to make an impact on the audience members. We had tried other methods to get the figures bigger and tried many products to get the figures to stand, but alas to no avail.

So today (Wednesday 6th May 2015) is the day of the actual performance. I honestly didn’t think we would of got as wet and as tired as we did. As a group we arrived promptly at the cathedral gardens for 8:55 to set everything up ready for the ever growing crowds of people who were excited to be a part of Clay Walkers. In my dreams really, at the beginning of the day the weather was suitable for us to work in sun was out with a little bit of wind.

But in traditional english  weather the high heavens rained down within an hour of the clay walkers performance began and continued throughout the day. My mood dropped quite quickly from being really positive to really negative about the project. I don’t think I would of lasted as long as I did if I didn’t get the support from both Beth and Georgia.

Conan and Rachel came along at different points of the day to see how we were progressing on with the creating of figures. Well I say figures, halfway through the assessed performance we were advised by Conan to slightly change the idea of self image to creating something that connects and links to Pottergate. So Beth started making bricks and engraving words and emotions on to them then sticking them upon a wooden chopping  board. From this idea it lead on to re-creating the Pottergate from salt dough within the garden. (As shown in the picture below)

We finally finished creating the performance at 3pm this afternoon 2 hours earlier than we first predicted many weeks ago. I think Conan and Rachel were impressed with all the work we created on our own as there wasn’t anyone there that want to participate in our performance no thanks to the rain and very strong winds.

Now that the site specific performance is over I’m glad it went well its just a shame the weather let us down and no one was able to experience the life of a potter and create some wonderful art form.

Till the final blog post



Clay Walkers final product

1st dress run and product making

So Monday’s rehearsal & prodution meeting was based around making our clay from salt dough. It was an experience I must say.

It was a first time experience creating salt dough for me. I didn’t think it was going to take nearly 4 hours to create 190 hand size dough balls. That time doesn’t include the 45 minute trip to morrisons to buy more products, by more products it was Salt (12 bags), plain flour (6 bags) and two bottles of vegatable oils as well as three rolls of cling film. All coming to a grand total of £12.

As agreed from the last production meeting we as a group we’d planned on doing a full day dress run on Tuesday 21st to see what works and what needs improving or editing for the actual performance day.

Things didn’t go excatly to plan, we arrived at the garden just after 9am to start the cycle of exchanging clay with a handshake down at the Pottergate to walk a planned route to the garden.

We did 4 hours straight without proper breaks as we had orignally planned in previous meetings that we would take breaks when we were in the garden. Luckily we were blessed with beautiful sunny weather which we thought was perfect however the sun wasn’t really the best thing as we discovered. One of the members within the group started developing the onset of sun stroke from the heat. So we had to call the dress run short.

I felt we did have a positive response and interest by the general public who were using the garden for tea & cake but when I was sat in the Pottergate people walking past or on public transport were giving strange looks as the salt dough wrapped up in cling film looked similar to wrapped up drugs.

As a group we have discussed that we will do another dress run this week coming, change the colour of the dough so it doesn’t look as strange when its wrapped up. Have a one hour break to split up the day. We have taken on board with Rachel’s comment that the model clay figures need to be bigger than a hand full, but by doing this we need to add lolly sticks to the mixture so the figures can stand up and be slightly stronger.

Till the next blog

I want to be a clay walker

Hi All

I’ve been busy over the last few weeks creating and promoting our site specific performance on social media as well as creating an event for “Clay Walkers” on Facebook. (Links are here &

Well since my last post a few things have changed within the group’s performance. Firstly a brand new name for our performance piece. It sounds better I think “Clay Walkers”, it connects and relates better to our performance piece than “The Potters” or “Pottersgate group”. However I must remember that without these names I don’t think we would of got the idea of “Clay Walkers”.

The idea of Clay Walkers came from the works of Antony Gormley’s installation piece “Field for the British Isles “. The idea of small clay figures being created by our audiences was a wonderful idea to get a more hands on experience with our piece, sadly we only have 8 hours to try and create 200 small figures to be displayed in the “secret garden”. Unlike Gormley’s  40,000 figures that are displayed in various locations across the United Kingdom. – a image of Gormley’s figures standing together in there thousands.

As a group we all agreed on a main target audience to get involved creating our own version of Gormley’s figures are students / semi residents of Lincoln aged between 18 to 24 years old. With the facebook like page I invited friends and students at the University of Lincoln as well. By inviting 3rd year drama students I hope to change some of the views and opinions they have with Site specific. I’ve also opened the invite up to 1st year drama students so they can see some work they are likely to be creating this time next year. We hope that on the day of the performance we will get the general public and tourists wanting to get involved as well.

Well for now I’m going to look up recipes for making our version of clay on Monday. There will be a video documentary made and will be uploaded to youtube & facebook for you see the process we are about to undergo creating our clay. And lastly our dress and technical rehearsal is nearly upon us!

Till then everyone.



Gormley, A. (1993) Field of the british Isles. [online] United Kingdom. Available from [Accessed 15 April 2015].

Ritual performance to Conan

Today was a nerve racking day to the whole group, as today was the day we presented our ideas and site work/research to Conan (Module Leader). Being short on members within our group we felt a little under pressure. However upon reflection with informing our ideas I was pleased that Conan with Rachel included like the idea of a misguided tour with rituals connected to the history of the potters that worked on the uphill section of Lincoln dating back to 14th Century.

As a suggestion by Conan is to make the most of the open space that the ‘Secret’ Garden has to offer with the connection of rituals idea. One thing that has always stood out for me was the open fire place within the garden, back in the beginning  of this module I thought it would make a brilliant puppet theatre. However today Georgia & I agreed with Rachel & Conan that it makes a better connection to the original kilns that would of been used by the potters.

One thing that didn’t work out well with the connection to the misguided tour was the walk up to St Anne’s Well located behind the cathedral. If the well wasn’t locked up it would of made a perfect link as the water supply for the Potters clay to keep it moist and wet.  Also basing our performance around P.Pinkering would make the misguide more of a drama performance than site specific.

Think now we have a strong idea with site, more research and testing (playing around is needed) next week within the garden.

Till next time