Performance day!

“Imagine a winter landscape. Your senses working overtime: you shiver and squint, stamp and blow. Only then perhaps do you look, listen, touch. You flog through the snow your feet and fingers freeze. You are aware of surface, climate and ambience” –  (Pearson, 2010, 29)

The inevitable happened; it rained, meaning devastatingly we only had 2 participants on our tour. But all was not lost – the audio was our main piece of work which was of course unaltered by the weather, but the overall experience I feel was hindered by it. Instances such as the handing out of drinks, I feel would have worked better on a drier day as would the beginning and the end on the picnic blanket. However, hopefully the participants that came were aware of ‘surface, climate and ambience’ which is all we hoped for really – for them to observe what was around them while accompanied by our audio.

Amazingly enough, there were a few orchestrated serendipities we were not responsible for (some of them we were!) there was a ‘pilgrim food service’ van, a Robin at the statue whilst the cradle song was playing and an actual man walking a dog near the Tennyson statue.

The most disappointing thing about not having any fresh eyes (and ears) to our piece was not being able to collate feedback, we were excited to ask people of their opinions in a hope that in the future could perhaps take this further providing it was successful. I believe an honest amount of constructive criticism would have been very helpful for our plans to perhaps expand our tour further. However, we did have one person try and test our piece in an earlier dress run and we were able to collect feedback from him. However, this feedback was of a different kind, it was more how we could improve for our performance day as oppose to looking upon our audio as a finished product. However, our spirits will not be dampened, if we were to do this again I would suggest perhaps on different times over a week period as you would hope it would be unlikely that the weather could affect the performance all week. This, I believe would offer our tour a different dimension; people could pick times that suited them which may inspire more people to participate. Another idea is instead of it being a one off, people could download it and do it whenever. This would be different from our original idea as there would be no orchestrated serendipity’s, shells along the way and no one to greet you or say goodbye, however, this would be something to consider when considering taking our idea further.

I have documented some of the day on my flickr which can be found here:

Pearson, M (2010) Site Specific performance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dress rehearsal

“Our intention is to show walking not only as directed movement from one place to another, but a wandering, an odyssey of sight and sound, a quest for knowledge and stimulation, a grand roaming expedition, and a living breathing work of art in its own right.”  – (Wrights and sites, 2006)

The day before our dress rehearsal with Rachel, we all undertook the journey ourselves to see if we thought any improvements needed to be made. One thing I found was that the instructions could be misinterpreted wrongly and I believed we needed an indicator along the way, therefore, I bought a chalkboard which we drew an arrow and also a scallop shell on, something so simple could stop a lot of confusion from our audience who are independent along the journey (besides our companion of course). We then decided on where to place our orchestrated serendipity’s for our exam (only a few of which were used on the dress rehearsal as to keep something back for our performance). All in all we hope to achieve the aim of our performance; to take our audience on a personal journey, to encourage them to look up and around and consequently make the most out of everything thrown at them, something I think Sarah Gorman understands in Wandering and Wondering: “My perceptions of street activity, the sounds around me and my sense of ‘belonging’ in that environment were heightened, I had a greater sense of visual stimulation, and was amused rather than irritated by the idiosyncrasies of people who passed by” (Gorman, 2006, 168) this is what we  hope to achieve in our piece. We decided on our dress rehearsal that we would ask for casual feedback from the audience in an informal manner, questions such as “how was that for you?” are ideal as they offer no biased way for the question to go which we want – we want total honesty from our audience members.

As the journey is supposed to be a personal voyage, we would like the audience to keep their scallop necklaces after their journey as a reminder of what they learnt and a memory of the day. People will also have the audio on their smartphones/ipods/mp3’s etc so we hope the journey and memories of the journey can live on after the event has taken place.

Referring to my earlier quote from Wrights and Sites we hope to give walking tours a new awakening, so they cease to be thought of as boring but intend to breathe new life into them, so people look upon them as art. Although we are not doing a misguide, I have taken inspiration from their ethos of looking at a city and noticing what the people who spend a lot of time there don’t notice, such as structures that may not be considered beautiful but can have a personal meaning for someone if they found them upon a journey. This can be seen in their A misguide to Milton Keynes: We hope to instill this sense of nostalgia around the cathedral for those who participate.

One of the reasons we chose one of the main attractions of Lincoln was so that people will come to the site, not expecting to learn anything new – people have seen the cathedral before why would they see it differently? And our journey will hopefully be powerful enough to make them see through different eyes almost, as if for the first time yet with a pre-existing connection to the place.

Gorman, S. (2006) Following Janet Cardiff’s Missing Voice. Wandering and Wondering 167-178.

Wrights and sites (2006) ‘Dealing with the city’ [in press] A manifesto for a new walking culture. Available from [Accessed on 5th May]

Edelstyn, D. (2011) A misguide to Milton Keynes. [online video] Available from: [Accessed on 5th May]

When things don’t quite go to plan…

The first day we tried out our audio as a group in the space together didn’t go as planned, quite frankly we couldn’t have picked a worse day. There was a parade of soldiers for the allied food drop at site number 1, the steps were being painted and therefore out of use and there were a team of builders sat on the green, horse and cart rides around the site and unexpected company at site 2! However, this is the beauty of site, it allowed us to plan what would happen if this was our performance and also realise the site obviously isn’t just for our use as the weather gets warmer there is bound to be more people around which we have discussed could be interesting if we were to be approached. We also discovered faults in our audio which we can rectify such as tone of voice and some sound effects which did not work. More recently I have been looking into Fortnight and their understanding of theatre as a “theatrical intervention into … daily lives” (Hui, 2011) which is exactly what we want to achieve and therefore today helped us to see how we could overcome any boundaries that stop us from achieving this. Fortnight understands that “works of art are meant to provoke affective responses – to move and push people to new understandings and new relations” (Hui, 2011) which is exactly what we intend to do with our walk.

After we listened to our audio with Rachel we realised we needed to change our audio slightly. This is so we gauged the correct tone of voice, chatty style of conversation and informality needed to make the audience feel comfortable. Editing this was quite hard so we had the idea to voice record our rehearsal as we felt it was hard to write a conversational script therefore we could talk about the site and write it based on what we said in an informal conversation, almost verbatim like. This friendly, informal tone of our new recording reminded us of our earlier research of audio talks because of the sound effect used in the back ground, we were thinking we should do something similar we felt it adds a sense of intimacy for the audience.


Hui, A. (2011) Art as an everyday intervention: shifting times, places and mobilities in the pervasive media performance project “Fortnight”. The Association of American Geographers’ Conference, New York, 25 February 2012 [unpublished].

“Orchestrated Serendipity”

“A place owes its character to the experiences it affords to those who spend time there – to the sights, sounds and indeed smells that constitute its specific ambience” (Ingold, 2000,192)

Our original idea for our audio walk involved a lot of quite forced audience participation, however things have worked out differently as our ideas panned out. Instead, we are trying a ‘gifting’ approach with our audience – we want to look after and ‘nurture’ our audience this is so they can have a fruitful experience – we want them to feel comfortable, not forced to do things or out of their comfort zone but allow them to be alone with their thoughts, something a lot of people don’t get to do very often because of the fast paced lifestyle many people lead.

One of the audio’s we intend to use was recorded by one of our groups family members, this was because we wanted a relaxed recording – not recorded by an actor of any kind – just an ordinary person. This resulted in a couple of (barely noticeable) hiccups which we have decided to keep. This is in order to sustain an informal approach and hopefully relax the audience members so they feel comfortable and therefore open to personal reflection.

Referring to the earlier quote from The Perception of the environment we have decided to regard the locals of Lincoln in our piece. In the beginning we unintentionally avoided anything that could be a distraction to our audience instead of realising we could use this to our advantage. The place we have chosen wouldn’t be as it is today without the people making it so and we have decided to pay homage to that and note them in our walk. We will refer to them as soldiers in the square and ask them to take notice of them. This is because of the nature of our performance – it is about a journey – everyones personal journey. At this point in the walk where we refer to the people of Lincoln it is to encourage our audience to think of others journeys as well as their own and what has caused them along their journey to be there at the exact same point in time. In Mike Pearson’s introduction to Site Specific Performance Sue Palmer states “It is not just about a place, but the people who normally inhabit and use that space. For it wouldn’t exist without them” (Wilkie, 2002, 145) therefore we decided to incorporate ‘orchestrated serendipity’ into our piece, a phrase inspired by Fortnight a project which happens in only a handful of cities and allows the participants (who are locals) to see the place with fresh eyes – which is exactly what we intend to do. How we will do this is use subtle symbols around our tour which relate to the audio. For instance we may decide to ask our audience to think about their day – what has happened this morning? What is in the news? and along the walk could be a person reading a newspaper, something so ordinary it is barely noticeable, but, we intend to do a few of these so hopefully the audience will notice and keep their eyes peeled for every subtle ‘coincidence’.

Ingold, T (2000) The Perception of the Environment: Essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill. London: Routledge.

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

Session with Conan

We learnt a lot from our session with Conan. Firstly, our introduction to our performance is good, Conan liked the blanket and the acceptance to take part with the scallop shell. We also discovered we need to introduce our tour to everyone at the beginning to avoid repetition throughout the tour to each individual: instructions such as ‘should you need more time, feel free to pause the audio’ etc. Secondly, the practicalities of our tour – listening to an audio tour while holding a map is very distracting and most likely means our audience will not take in the site around them which is exactly what we did not want to happen. Instead we will get rid of the map and guide them only using the audio, meaning we will have to write a detailed enough description in order for them to follow our instructions accordingly. We also discovered we had over complicated our tour; activities at each site is not necessary and it would be much better to free up our audience more to allow them to soak up their surroundings. This means we have more time for perceptions to be heard at the site which I believe would be more beneficial to our audience in terms of a journey. We also discovered instead of activities we should have ‘coincidences’ such as one member playing cats cradle on the bench at the Tennyson site, while the audience listen to the ‘cradle song’ and perhaps another member handing out tea to keep up with the fun feel and to keep them warm on their ‘journey’. We should also stick to the circular side of our journey – even if our sites do not venture further than the Tennyson statue it would be more beneficial to have the audience walk all the way round to the meeting point again as hopefully, while the audience are drinking their tea, they will feel relaxed and therefore look around without feeling pressured making the journey back to the beginning and hopefully seeing the cathedral in a whole new light.