Final Blog Submission: Anya Fitzgerald

Framing Statement

For our Site- Specific performance module our overall task was to create an audio influenced piece. The term site specific is described by Mike Pearson as ‘a staging and performance conceived on the basis of a place in the real world…A large part of the work has to do with researching a place, often an unusual one that is imbued with history or permeated with atmosphere.’ (Pearson, 2010, 7) By firstly going on a drift through the city of Lincoln, ‘a detour, a diversion from the functional journey’ (Smith, 2010,199), it allowed us to visit parts of the area which we had not yet seen or discovered. To begin with, walking up the hill in the snow was not very appealing to us, but the further away we got from familiarity, the more we began to appreciate our surroundings.

It was during this drift that we first discovered The Lawn, a site which immediately appealed to us all. This was to become a symbol of our final site. Visually, The Lawn was pleasing; a large orange building which overlooked a spacious area of green grass. However, there was also an element of eeriness to the place. Apart from the subtle sounds of nature, it was a very quiet area. Tall trees followed the perimeter of the space, almost acting as a barrier, enclosing us from the rest of the city. After some time, we then discovered by reading a sign nearby (as seen in figure 1) that the building had a lot of historical background. ‘…Initially known as the Lincoln Asylum. It was one of the countries first purpose built hospitals for the treatment of the mentally ill.’ It was this information which sparked our decision to further our knowledge and we were soon to create a piece based on the development of the site which we called The Madness behind Coffee.

Figure 1 An image taken outside The Lawn

Figure 1
An image taken outside The Lawn

Initially we saw The Lawn’s grounds as a great opportunity for performance space, but due to building restrictions, we decided to change the location of our site to Stokes Coffee shop whilst still having The Lawn as a main basis for the piece. ‘The Madness behind Coffee’ was a fifteen minutes long performance shown to one audience member at a time. Much like the company Punchdrunk, our performance ‘focus was as much on the audience and the performance space as on the performers and narrative.’ (Punchdrunk, 2015.) We wanted to make sure that each audience felt comfortable. Outside the coffee shop each person coming to view the performance was greeted at the door by Sam and I, who then bought them a hot drink of their choice. We then lead them upstairs and sat them in a particular seat by the window before proceeding to give them what looked like a Stokes coffee menu, created by us. Laid out in a similar formatting style to a menu, it acted as a programme for our piece. We included images of The Lawn, along with key dates and information from the 1820’s until now. We hoped for this menu to enlighten the audience member on the development of the site, so that they understood the audio aspect of our performance. Our audio was built from snippets of different character perspectives through the decades. This began with Dr Edward Parker Charlesworth, the founder of the Lawn, then followed by a nurse, patient, council worker and then finally a Stokes representative. Whilst each character was heard through the headphones, we each made ourselves visible, whether this was by sitting opposite the audience member, or by standing outside where we could be seen by the audience member once instructed to look out the window. Although much of the script was influenced by factual information, there were some elements of fiction. Govan touches on the point that ‘…performers will blend fact and fiction and will shape the real material that they find in order to develop the creative project.’ (Govan, 2007, 131) We equally found that there had to be a certain element of fiction to our piece when creating the script. Particularly when creating characters based on real people, although we had a vague idea on each individual’s different views, we could not be certain that some of what we expanded on was entirely accurate.

Analysis of Process

Although the internet was a starting point for us when researching the past, a trip to the Lincolnshire Archive we found to be more beneficial. It provided us with factual information from original documents such as physician journals, a register of patients who attended The Lawn, and a register of restraints which were used on the patients. This information was valuable to us because we were able to start to build a true picture on how The Lawn operated. Beginning the module in January meant that we had a limited amount of time to gather our research. Yi-Fu Tuan’s acknowledges the importance of time spent in a place, ‘how long does it take to get to know a place?’ (Tuan, 1977), In relation to this expression, I feel that the archive definitely decreased the time it took for us to get to know the Lawn. When we first found out that it was an asylum, we presumed it to be a place filled with horror, but with further investigation this was not the case at all. Patients were admitted to this particular asylum for mental illnesses where they were treated with care and consideration. A document in the archive stated that ‘Entertainment for the patients was an important part of their treatment, and provision was made.’ It was this discovery that informed us with a lot of information to create the basis of our script.

Before proceeding to create audio based on our findings of The Lawn’s past from information we had gathered from both the internet and the archive, we decided to firstly contact the council to check if we were able to use the site. It was then that we came across our first obstacle where we were informed that they no longer owned the premises and that a local coffee company called Stokes had taken it over. We got in touch with a man named Nick Peel, the manager of Stokes, who then told us that the refurbishment was due to begin in May but we were still welcome to use the site if we wished. As Govan states, ‘contemporary public spaces present particular problems to the performance maker’ (Govan, 2007, 131) Collectively we discussed that there could be some disadvantages of using the site. Depending on what sort of building work was planned for May, it could have restricted the clarity of the audio we were yet to record. It was then that we had an important decision to make. As we had collected so much research which was of value to us, we did not want to start over, so we decided to expand on the research we had already gathered and not just create a piece based on the history of The Lawn, but also cover future plans for the site. Stokes Coffee company were in the process of turning The Lawn in to ‘a microroastery but on a bigger scale’ (Whitelam, 2014), so changing location to Stokes Coffee shop related to our new concept giving the audience a glimpse of what was to come, whilst also enabling our research gathered from the archive to still be of use to us.

Finding current information on The Lawn was mainly done by using the internet where we able to access online newspaper articles. This provided us with direct quotes, which we then expanded on to create the basis of our script for the Council Worker and Stokes Representative.

Once the script had been finalised we could then begin the recording process. As it was the main part of our performance, we took various attempts to ensure that each recording was of a high quality. With each recording there were many factors to consider, the clarity of speech from the actor and the tone of voice used, along with the volume of the recording – if it was too loud or too quiet, the ambience – what might be heard in the background, and a consideration of what wild track might be used along with speech, to build a realistic atmosphere.

Reflecting on the recording of the news reporter and council workers script which involved myself and Alex, it took a number of attempts to get it to a good performance standard. One of the problems which we had was trying to make it sound realistic. We had attempted to record outside but discovered that the sound of the wind was far too harsh and distorted parts of our speech. To resolve this problem, we decided to record in a corridor. We had spent a previous lesson finding the most appropriate spaces to record and figured that this place sounded best, whereas other areas such as the studio, had a slight echo. We then had to layer the recording of us, with a track which we found on the internet which was of high street noises. We did attempt to record this ourselves, but again the wind was a problem, so we found the recording on the internet to be a higher quality with less disruptions.

To help the flow of recordings from past to present, we used music. Kaye and Lebrecht emphasise the view that ‘Transitional sounds or music represent a movement of the action through time or place. (Kaye and Lebrecht, 2009, 23) In a particular part of our script, we had quite a large movement through time, from Ellie’s character of a patient from the Asylum, to the modern day character which I played of a council worker. There was a noticeable contrast between the two characters, the patient was delicately spoken whereas as the council worker, I had a more abrupt tone to my voice. The music which played for a while, before fading out, enabled a smooth transition between these two characters whilst also helping improve the structure of our audio.

When we were rehearsing we noticed that we needed more visual representations of The Lawn and a more detailed account of information about the site and how it had changed over the years. We could not rely on the audio alone to provide the audience with enough information to be able to understand our concept and we also did not want to put some of our research to waste. Originally we had the idea to create mood boards. We produced two A1 sized boards, one for the past of the Lawn, and one for the present. The one reflecting the past contained leaves which we had collected from the site along with a quote which we had found on the internet extremely relevant to our concept, ‘“Abandoned buildings are not a benefit to anyone. I think the Strip can comeback to life without necessarily being what it was before” (Terry, 2015.) The other board contained more modern day photographs relating to what The Lawn was from when it was bought by the social services in 1986, onwards. Although we really liked how the collages looked, when discussing them with our lecturer, Karen, she questioned why there would be such large constructions in a coffee shop. Once we had time to think about it, we decided to take on board the advice that we were given and leave the mood boards behind. We also realised that as they were only collages, the audience therefore were still not being provided with facts.

Our second idea of a visual representation was a newspaper. We believed by creating this form of document, unlike the mood board, it would inform the audience of the facts. Another positive would be that it would blend in amongst the site. Newspapers and books are recognisable features found in coffee shops, so it would not look peculiar to have on the table. After creating these newspaper articles, we then tested our performance on an audience member, to see how it worked. The feedback we received made us again change our mind. Was an audience member really going to sit there and read an abundance of text? It would have also taken up a lot of time for them to read each article.

Finally we had the idea to create what looked like a Stokes coffee menu visually by the colours and layout, but inside, would be a programme for our piece. We replaced where the different drinks and prices would normally be with short descriptions of what the lawn was in particular time periods. For instance, where it was listed ‘Liquor coffee £4.00’ (Stokes, 2015) we replaced this with ‘Council reopens as events/catering venue 1990.’ Below, in figure 2, you can see an example of a page in the menu that we made.

Figure 2 An example of one of our menu pages

Figure 2
An example of one of our menu pages

The final stages of rehearsal were ensuring that we entered and exited the space with the correct timings in sync with what was heard by the audience through the audio. Whilst doing this, we also had to work on performance techniques. In order to stop distraction from the audio, we decided to limit each character to just one interaction with the audience member. The doctor played by Alex, handed our participant a copy of the exact letter which we found in the archive that would have been given to a person thought of as mental. Lauren, who played the nurse, reached for the participants arm to check a pulse in correlation with what was being said in her recording. Playing the patient, Ellie, sat up a chess board to reflect that this was used as part of their treatment. The audience member could then interact if they wanted to. She then proceeded to stare out of the window, to shift the audience’s attention to myself and Alex who could be seen having an interview outside. Finally Sam entered the space, shaking hands with the participant as though he was greeting customers in his newly opened establishment. Along with interaction establishing that we were the characters heard through the audio, costume also made this clear. We all wore costumes similar to what our characters would have wore. Rehearsing with performance techniques whilst being in costume was an important aspect of transforming our performance from rehearsal standard, to performance standard.

Performance Evaluation

On the 7th May 2015 The Madness behind Coffee was performed in Stokes Coffee shop to an overall total of four people. Reflecting upon our performance as a group, I was pleased with the outcome, however like in all performances, I believe there was still room for improvement if we had been given more time for the module.

Overall I think that the decision to stick with the concept of The Lawn, but change the site to Stokes Coffee proved to be really interesting. I liked the element of curiosity which the audience received upon arrival, wondering why we had taken them in to a coffee shop for a performance, but I hope that this became clear to them at the end of the piece. Although I loved that the participant got to experience a indication of what was to come from the Lawn indulging the atmosphere of a 16th century style coffee shop, there were some restrictions of using such a public space. For instance, there was a moment in the performance when workers of the coffee shop began to loudly enter the space and stack boxes in the space. Although we did anticipate that outsiders would be in view with it being a piece performed in a public space, we did find it quite unfortunate that this particular scenario could perhaps break the connection between the actor and audience. We expected customers of the coffee shop may be drinking in the space which we thought would help build a casual atmosphere but did not want too many vocal distractions.

To improve the connection between the audience and performer I may have added in more interaction with the audience members. Although we did not want to distract too much from the audio, when receiving feedback each audience member said that they would have liked to have seen more of this. I believe it would help make the performance more enjoyable and also would have helped participants to feel more comfortable and relaxed if they were involved more in the piece.

A noticeable downfall in our script think was lack of characters which we included between the time period of 1985 when The Lawn was closed by the NHS, until now. There was a very large time shift from the character of the patient who attended the asylum, to the council member from the year 2014. In my opinion in this gap there was potential for other characters to have been included. For example by adding a representative from the social services, a wedding planner and a caterer it would have ensured that we covered all key points in history from The Lawn, in correlation to the historical points referenced in our menu. I think the reason we did not do this was because we wanted to keep the piece as factual as possible, and on the internet there was not much information regarding this time period.

Generally I was really happy with how we worked in a group. We all had an even contribution to the piece and were very dedicated in to putting time in to the piece which helped the process run smoothly. The module I found to be intriguing, certainly not like anything that I have done in the past, however it has given me a new light to performance. I have realised that public spaces can be very symbolic in terms of meaning and unique material can be created.


Govan, E. (2007) Making Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Performance. Oxon: Routledge.

Kaye, D. and Lebrecht, J. (2009) Sound and Music for the Theatre. 3. Oxford: Elsevier Inc.

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

Punchdrunk (2015) Company Stucture. [online] Available from [Accessed 26th January 2015]

Smith, P. (2010) Mythogeography A Guide to Walking Sideways. Devon: Triarchy Press.

Stokes (2015) Main Café Menu. [online] Lincolnshire: Stokes. Available from [Accessed on 19th April 2015]

Terry, D. (2015) Dan Terry Quotes. [online] Dan Terry. Available from [Accessed 19th March 2015].

Tuan, Y. (1977) Space and Place. Minneapolis: The Regents of the University of Minnesota.

Whitelam, P. (2014) Stokes Coffee is to take on The Lawn. Lincolnshire Echo, 28 November, 1. Available from [Accessed 9th March 2015].



Final Blog Submission – Hannah Taylor

Framing Statement

During our first session, various questions were raised about what site specific performance is and why so many theatre companies now use it. When we think of theatre, we immediately imagine the typical proscenium arch stage, which “distances spectators from spectacle…in the dark, sitting in rows, discouraging eye contact and interaction” (Pearson, 2010, 94-95.) This particular style of theatre however has its disadvantages, meaning fewer people are venturing out to the theatre. It can only attract an audience who have a keen interest in theatre, people may not be able to afford to go to the theatre or they may find it intimidating. “Site specific performance however, is specifically generated for one selected site” (Wilkie, 2002, 150) away from the ‘typical’ theatre space. Examples of this include: Parks; playgrounds; work buildings; churches; museums; shopping centres and hospitals. When using these familiar settings, site specific “work emphasizes performance’s ethical responsibility to function directly in people’s everyday lives, rather than removed from that context in theatres” (Allain and Harvie, 2006, 151). This allows theatre to gain a connection with the community, making it more accessible for the public and appealing to a wider audience as it can “attract passers-by” (Wilkie, 2002, 144).

We decided to take a ‘drift’ through the city of Lincoln, in order to help guide us in finding a site which would later become our performance space. The drift allowed us to “start in the familiar and straight away head off into the unknown” (Smith, 2015). After wondering the streets of Lincoln we came to the Museum of Lincolnshire life; a place which holds a great deal of historical information about the city of Lincoln. When walking around the Museum we came across some very inspiring images and objects, a lot of which related to women during the period of the First World War. Being the only ‘all female group’ within the class, we thought it would be interesting to focus on the awareness of how women were treated during this time and what effect the idea of change meant for these women. We visited a small room in the Museum which was set out like a classroom. I felt the room had a very eerie and intense feeling about it and I tried to let myself imagine what it might have been like for a child back then. Placed on the desk was a sheet of paper which read ‘Rules for Women Teachers.’ This is something as a group we all thought could be a good focal point for our piece. We decided that our performance would be based around the Museum of Lincolnshire life and we would use audio as a tool to voice the stories of the women of Lincoln. We wanted our performance to replicate the ‘drift’ that we went on in order to find our site and start from the bottom of Steep Hill, ending the tour at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life. In choosing this route it allowed us to show that “moving between places, wayfinding, more closely resembles story-telling than map-using, as one situates one’s position within the context of journeys previously made” (Pearson, 2010, 15). We chose to then structure our monologues so that the audio would give the space meaning and relate to the places that we walked past. Using site morphology we aimed to transform the existence of the site by our intervention. To intervene in a site enables us as the performers to transform the space with our ideas “allowing us to review and experiment with dynamics that are dictated by modern theatre buildings, especially the relationship between performer and audience and performer and venue” (Wilkie, 2002, 141)
Analysis of Process

We decided to divide our key topics for our performance and each chose one to research. I chose to further my research into Amy Beechey, the mother who lost 5 sons during the space of just 3 years to the First World War. During the war it was very unusual to loose this amount of children, and this is why Amy Beechey’s story was so tragic. I can’t begin to imagine how it would have felt, but I wanted our piece to highlight the bravery of the Beechey Boys and give the audience an insight into what it might have been like for their mother when she had to unwillingly send her sons to war. I felt this story should be shared, as it has a huge part to play in the history of Lincoln. I chose to visit the house of where the Beechey Boys once lived – 14, Avondale Street, Lincoln. I stood outside the house that Barnard, Charles, Frank, Harold and Leonard would have once called home. It was heart breaking to stand outside of the house they grew up in, on the same street they’d have once played on and realise these boys would have once walked out of the front door, to never return home. An idea we wanted to look into was writing our own letters, however, use the real letters written by the Beechey boys and give them to the audience so that they could read them on the journey. Instead, we chose to use audio and record a letter written by Barnard Beechey, and have this played to the audience whilst we used the performative action of writing on chalk boards. We thought that this might create a very juxtaposing effect, as the idea of signing off a letter to a loved one away at war would be combined with the idea of being a child in school during the period of 1915.

Lone Twin’s The Boat Project is a site specific performance which used donations of wood from the public to create a work of art; creating “a living archive of people’s stories and lives” (Lone Twin, 2011). This was something we looked into to inspire our piece, as we wanted the audience to join in with the creation of making something. When telling Florence Bonnett’s story, we wanted the audience to be involved in building a paper aeroplane. We wanted to use this idea as a representation of her working in the factory with her friends building machinery for the First World War. Memory becomes an important vessel in this process and by taking photographs on our mobile phones; it would document the past and bring it into the present. We looked into how “the Lone Twin team have recorded their story…with a book of photographs” (Barnett, 2012). This is something we wanted to mimic and in doing so would allow us in “compressing the live and mediated event into a single space and moment” (Turner, 2004, 377) so that each individual memory was recorded.

We also thought the element of costume could be an interesting way of separating us from the audience. By dressing in 1915 clothing, this could have helped to make the piece authentic and work as a disguising tool in order to transport the audience back in time. Using Lone Twin’s Totem (1998) as inspiration, we could have dressed up in costume, as “this signalled their place as strangers yet also acts as a catalyst for the audience to interact with them” (Govan, 125). This would’ve signified us as the performers and also would’ve allowed the audience to recognise our characters are from a different period of time; therefore creating the idea of ‘otherness’.

The alternative idea we chose to look into was to have just two performers dressed up. One of the women could wear boiler suit overalls and the other could wear an apron. This would symbolise the change women have gone through and costume could have acted as a representation of a timeline of women’s rights from 1915 up until today. Women were not permitted to work in factories and were considered to stay at home and bake. This idea would have worked well when speaking our Flornence Bonnett monologue, as she worked in the William Foster factory building the Tank. This idea portrays ‘Female subjectivity as it gives itself up to intuition be- comes a problem with respect to a certain conception of time: time as project, teleology, linear and prospective unfolding; time as departure, progression, and arrival-in other words, the time of history.’ (Jardine, 1981, 17). After much consideration, we chose to go against the idea of costume, as our performance was heavily audio based. When we used audience interactions we weren’t attempting to play characters so there would have been no need to disguise who we were as we were merely acting as ourselves.

We chose to look into Blast Theory’s Can You See Me Now (2001) for inspiration and focus on how their performance plays with the idea of presence within a space. The players in the game are dropped into a virtual city and become digital performers online, trying not to get captured by the members of Blast Theory. When they are captured, a photographic image is taken of the location where the player is found. The idea of taking a photograph of an empty space plays with the idea of absence and presence within the space. This caused a debate among our group as we began to think about questions like ‘do you have to have seen a space for it to be there?’ We then realised the importance of documenting our piece, and thought that taking images of the audience doing performative actions within a space was something that we could incorporate into our piece to capture the moment.

On our journey we passed an old fashioned sweet shop, and chose to give the audience an instruction to enter the shop and buy some liquorice – a likeable sweet of the time period. The idea of eating sweets is generally associated with ‘happy memories’, however, alongside our theme of the First World War creates a very juxtaposing effect. After eating the liquorice, it will leave a trace of colour on the tongue. This is where we planned on using Blast Theory’s idea of ‘capturing the moment.’ This moment will never really leave if we document it in a photograph and will express the idea of the here and now, “permitting the past to surge into the present” (Pearson, 2010, 10). Douglas Crimp wrote “… institutions can be named at the outset: first, the museum; then, art history; and finally, in a more complex sense, because modernism depends both upon its presence and upon its absence, photography” (Crimp, 1980, 92). Adding the images into an album portrays the idea of ‘producing’ something, linking to the time period of which women were believed to be used for producing things, such as children and food. This time was all about the change women were going through after the repression of their feminine identity, and how they went from producing things within the home to being allowed to work in factories. This also became apparent in our monologue by Florence Bonnet as she discussed leaving school at the age of 13 to work in the William Foster factory, constructing the tracks for the tank.

DreamThinkSpeak’s (2013) production of One Day Maybe is similar to our piece as it is a performance of historical events. In 1980 many people in Gwangiu were killed due to the government that was in control at the time. This performance shows the idea of people loosing their life due to the lack of freedom they had, similarly to the Beechey Boys, who had to fight for their country. One Day Maybe acknowledges “these past key events are still of the present” (DreamThinkSpeak, 2013) and plays with the idea of tense. The characters of those who sacrificed their lives are to be thought of as ghosts or spirits and attend the journey with the audience members to see how the world has changed. The past can never fully be recreated, so by playing with the tense of our monologues, we felt it would create a ghostly essence. This reminded me of our very first drift when we visited the classroom in the Museum. When I entered the room it had a very eerey feel to it. It could have been the way the room echoed when we spoke to one another or it could have been how cold it was due to the tiled walls. We aimed to recreate this feel within our piece and chose to record many of our sounds in large rooms which created an echoing effect when speaking our monologues.

Punchdrunk’s The Borough is an audio piece, inspired by a poem, and “takes place on the streets of Aldeburgh in broad daylight” (Gardener, 2013). This audio piece was a lot like our performance as it weaves together “past and present, fact and fiction” (Gardener, 2013). Through our monologues, we told the stories of the women of Lincolnshire in 1915. We realised that it would be impossible to make our piece entirely authentic, as the surrounding setting and passers-by would be dressed in modern day clothing and would speak in the language of today. Although we couldn’t disguise the time period, the element of audio allowed us to create a distancing effect, separating the past and the present. The past was then shown through monologues of real women in 1915 and we chose to layer war sounds to represent the time period.

We wanted to give the audience a paper plane to build to represent the importance of aircraft in Lincolnshire in 1915. This also linked with Florence Bonnet’s monologue when she talks about working in the William Foster Factory. After building the toy plane, the audience member would throw the plane down Steep Hill and we would measured how far it went. The idea of playing a childhood game created a contrasting effect to our War theme. This allowed the audience to be distracted and participate in an enjoyable moment, before once again entering the War period. In using the paper plane it showed that “site specific work frequently treads a line between the play world and reality” (Turner, 2004, 382). We wanted to later show traces of the plane by pretending we were children running in and out of the space, with our arms as wings as if we were the planes. After testing this choreography out, it felt very forced and also a little embarrassing to perform. It didn’t really represent what we wanted to portray and instead felt slightly comical, as we were pretending to be children, whom the audience would clearly see is something we are not. Instead, we decided to take a very different approach and focus on using our arms to represent a plane’s wings. This motif is something that we then chose to repeat throughout our performance from the beginning and showed “an enactment of the past in the present” (Turner, 2004, 376). By embedding this choreography into our piece would allow the audience to notice that the arm motif had been used to represent different things. We later went on to hear the monologue of a school teacher in our audio. At this point, we chose to choreograph another movement piece to represent children raising their hand in a classroom. This choreography used the same arm movement that we earlier used to represent the plane wings, however this time we changed the speed in which we performed it.

Performance Evaluation

Although the stories we chose to discuss in our audio were specific to Lincoln, I realise now our piece was more site generic, as we could have chose to perform our piece elsewhere in the city of Lincoln. “To make a truly site-specific piece means it sits wholly in that site in both its content and form, otherwise, if movable, it becomes more about the site as a vehicle/vessel” (Helena Goldwater, 2002, 149). We had taken other routes around Lincoln, however, we wanted the final destination to end at the Museum so that the audience could enter and further their knowledge of the history of Lincoln. The route in which seemed most suitable for this was to walk up Steep Hill. Once deciding on a set route we then chose to base our monologues on sites that we past. I feel that this allowed us to successfully juxtapose “the factual with the fictional, event with imagination, history with story, narrative with fragment, past with present’ (Heddon, 2008, 9).

When representing a scene based around the classroom, we chose to use the chalk boards to sign the surnames of the women and held them up to the audience. At this point in the performance, it began to rain; however, I really feel this supported our theme. As we wrote the surnames of the women on the chalk board, the rain then washed the names away, portraying how they were a part of history. This idea of palimpsest worked alongside our theme of war, as the letters of the Beechey Boys have been eroded away, and we wanted to symbolise this in our piece.

A sound effect we chose to use in our audio was an aeroplane noise. We aimed to have the noise of the plane play on the audio before we took part in flying the paper aeroplanes down Steep Hill. This sound effect was used to purely show symbolism, however, after our performance we realised that the plane noise we chose wasn’t suitable in displaying the correct time period. This is something we should have definitely research into more, and I feel if we would have chose a suitable sound effect that was recognisable to the time period of 1915, it would have been more effective.

I feel that the poor weather conditions on the day of our performance affected various interactions of our piece in different ways. We wanted to take photographs of the audience members when flying the paper aeroplanes down Steep Hill, and place them in a photo album as a form of documentation. Due to the weather, we didn’t get as many audience members as we anticipated and so creating a booklet of photographs was not something we were able to produce. The weather conditions also affected the interaction of throwing the paper aeroplanes down Steep Hill. When we attempted this, the paper aeroplanes got ruined from the rain, and the wind forced them to fly in the opposite direction from which we had hoped. We did not expect the weather to be as poor as it was and really should have considered an alternative. A useful approach could have been to produce a plastic model of an aeroplane which would have been suitable in all weather conditions and would have been heavy enough to fly in the right direction.

Works Cited

Allian, P. and Harvie, J. (2006) The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance. Oxon: Routledge.

Barnett, L. (2012) Lone Twin’s ship that hockey sticks built. The Guardian, 1 May, 12. Available from [Accessed 12 April 2015]

Crimp, D. (1980) The photographic activity of postmodernism. 15, 91-101. Available at….pdf [Accessed 12 April 2015]

DreamThinkSpeak (2013) DreamThinkSpeak. [online] Available from [Accessed 8 March 2015]

Gardener, L. (2013) The Borough-Review. The Guardian, 11 June. Available online [Accessed 8 April 2015]

Govan – Revisioning Places. Available at: [Accessed 6 March 2015]

Kristeva, J. and Jardine, A. and Blake, H. (1981) Women’s Time, 7 (1) 13-35. Available from [Accessed 5 March 2015]

Lone Twin (2011) The Boat Project. [online] Available from [Accessed 8 March 2015]

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

Smith, P. (2015) A Starter Kit for Drifters: Five Steps to Drift or Dérive [online]. [Accessed on 10 May 2015].

Turner, C. (2004) Palimpsest or potential space? Finding vocabulary for site specific performance. 20 (04) 373-390.

Wilkie, F. (2002) Mapping the Terrain: a Survey of Site-Specific Performance in Britain. New Theatre Quarterly, 18 (2), 140-160.




Final Blog Submission – Amy Clarke

Framing Statement

Site specific performance “refers to an artist’s intervention in a specific locale, creating a work that is integrated with its surroundings” and requires a relationship to the location (Guggenheim, 2015). In this case, our performance was an audio tour which is usually a “self-guided walk made of a sound composition you listen to while it takes you through places” (Bieri, 2012). However our performance required a tour guide to lead the audience and acquire their attention when an activity involving audience interactions was to take place. Our site location was the whole of the City of Lincoln and the tour started at the bottom of Steep Hill and finished at the Museum of Lincolnshire life on Burton road. The audio track consisted of stories, monologues and information about women in Lincolnshire in 1915, focussing primarily on Amy Beechey, Florence Bonnett and a fictional woman teacher. Because our performance was a tour through the city, we were concerned about the relation between the audio and the site and so we had to think carefully about how we could order the contents of the track.

The assessment started at quarter to four in the afternoon on Thursday 7th May but we had previously opened the audio tour to the public at half past two. However before the assessment, only three people had come to our performance. We limited the audience numbers for the tour to two-three people as the tour involves audience involvement and having a larger number of people would affect the performance process regarding time and space and as we limited our performance to around twenty five minutes, timing was crucial. Our main concern was the sweet shop interaction in which we gave the audience money to buy some liquorice but because the shop was small, a bigger audience would have taken too long to individually buy the sweets. It would have also affected the shop owner and his other customers as there would be too many people forming a queue in a small space.

In the devising process, we looked at theatre companies, performances, practitioners, and readings that inspired us and initiated ideas for our performance. Although we didn’t use all of the ideas, these influences gave us a starting point which we then expanded from. We mainly focussed on companies that used audio for their performances such as Punchdrunk and Dreamthinkspeak; however we did use other influences such as Blast Theory, poems by Alice Corbin and Jessie Pope, and readings that were essential on the module. The creative process in producing an audio tour track was hard work as it required a lot of walking, exploring and researching, however the devising process needed to be well thought out in order to give the audience an “intellectual experience” (Bieri, 2012, p.5).

Analysis of Process

In his book The Art of Wandering, Merlin Coverly talks about a man who imagines that he is going on a journey in his mind. Coverly quotes Alain De Botton who states that “the pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to” (De Botton, 2003, p.246). To begin the devising process of our site specific performance, we were asked to go on a “drift” with our group and see where it takes us. Starting at the University of Lincoln, we began walking up hill until we arrived at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life. Not knowing about the museum beforehand, we decided it could be beneficial to see what was inside. Our drift was successful as the museum contained the history of the First World War and the Second World War which inspired us to create a performance about the history of Lincoln during the war. Additionally, as an all-female group we agreed that focusing on women during the war would be an interesting topic. The history that captivated us the most was the heart breaking story of Amy Beechey and the loss of her sons, the William Foster munitionettes and the restricting rules for women teachers.  Overall, aimlessly wandering through the city resulted in finding a strong starting point for our performance.

Two productions that are influenced by historical events are One Day, Maybe (2013) by Dreamthinkspeak and Fixing Point (2013) by Blast Theory. One Day, Maybe is a “site-responsive performance […] inspired by the Gwangju Uprising in South Korea” and Dreamthinkspeak believe that “these past events are still a key part of our present” (Dreamthinkspeak, 2015). Fixing Point “focuses on a programme of classical music in an idyllic rural setting” and is about a man named Seamus Ruddy who was killed in 1985 (Blast Theory, 2011). Both of these productions were influential because they take the audience on an audio journey focusing their performance on topics that relate to certain events in history just like we planned to do using the history we had learnt about Amy Beechey, Florence Bonnett and the rules for women teachers. However the difference between our performance and theirs is that they just focus on one story where as we focused on three. Also, Fixing Point involves connecting the headphones to a smartphone and we couldn’t do that as we wanted our performance to be available to everyone not just smartphone users. My group and I found these women inspiring and agreed that a war related performance would be a creative and excellent idea, especially if some audience members aren’t exactly interested in theatre but are interested in historical events. The story of Amy Beechey is well-known within the history of Lincoln as she was the mother who lost five sons during the First World War. Furthermore, Florence Bonnett helped build the tracks for the first tanks and this year “the Lincoln Tank Memorial has been unveiled to commemorate the city’s vital role in the production of the first tank” (Lincolnshire Echo, 2015).

After individually researching the history of the women, we started to consider the organisation and structure of our performance and decided on creating a linear performance, given that our performance will include moving from place to place within a set time limit. In order for the audience to stay interested in our performance, we needed to make sure that the information we provided was captivating by using detailed monologues in our track that talk about the life of the three women we have chosen. Although the monologues were fictional, they were based on real historical events and by doing this, it’s as though we were telling a story. Additionally, after undertaking further research into the William Foster factory workers, I came across Florence Bonnett, a woman who left school at the age of thirteen and signed up for war work at William Fosters. Originally, Florence left school and joined the family business that her mother and father owned, trading as fishmongers. However, she soon started working in heavy engineering which included making tracks for the first tanks. During her time at William Fosters, Florence had a lover in the Lincolnshire Regiment called Dick but unfortunately he was killed in action. This information was beneficial in a section of our performance, more importantly because Florence lived and worked in Lincoln. I think the audience would have found the history of her life and work very interesting.

Given that our piece was an audio tour, I decided to search for companies that produce this style of art and I came across Punchdrunk’s audio performance, The Borough (2013) which was inspired by George Crabbe’s poem. Walking through the streets of Aldeburgh, The Borough consists of an audio track where “past and present, fact and fiction collide” (The Guardian, 2013). We wanted most of our track to be factual given that the women in our piece were real people from Lincolnshire; however we wanted to tell the audience a story during the tour about these women of 1915 and therefore created fictional monologues based on facts. Additionally, to prevent silence between the monologues, we looked at sound effects and recorded other sounds (i.e. wild noises) as well as recording our own voices and blended them all into one track.  With this intention, The Borough track contains “layers within layers” (The Guardian, 2013) of sound and therefore we wanted the sound in our track to also be layered so that we don’t lose the interest of the audience by producing a simple audio track. Our audio tour was similar to The Borough as they began with an inspirational poem just like we began with factual stories about inspirational women.

A company that I found inspiring for their art work are Lone Twin who “[turned] wooden objects donated by people from across the south east into a seaworthy archive of stories and memories” (Lone Twin, 2011) and called it The Boat Project (2011). With this intention, during the First World War, Florence Bonnett built the tracks for the first tanks and therefore we thought about building something with the audience in our performance. With this idea, we came up with building foam aeroplanes as we also mention the Ruston Proctor company who built aeroplanes during the war. Lone Twin “desire to connect with, and celebrate the individual lives, events and stories that define, a community” (British Council, 2015).  However, our performance wasn’t dedicated to the building of the aeroplanes but it was interesting to include the interaction in our tour as it symbolises that we too can help build necessities for the war. More importantly, the first tanks were built in Lincoln and the Ruston Proctor company was based in Lincoln and so using this symbolism celebrates the history of Lincoln during the war and connects our performance to the site.

After a meeting with Conan Laurence about our performance, he advised us to think carefully about how audio and performance integrate.  He suggested that we should focus on symbolic small moments that involve audience participation rather than just creating a grand performance alongside the audio track. Symbolic actions or words in a performance can be powerful as “symbolism implies a greater meaning” (Cash, 2006). With that in mind, we wanted to use a movement to symbolise something important in the performance and our form of symbolism was the aeroplanes. Before the interaction with the paper aeroplanes, I moved my arm in a circular motion to symbolise aeroplane wings as we were about to mention the Ruston Proctor aeroplanes after the paper aeroplanes scene. However, originally we were going to use both hands to represent the aeroplane wings but it looked like we weren’t taking it seriously and therefore we changed the movement by slowly moving one arm around and twisting it in a more stylised fashion much like physical theatre. This occurred three times before the paper aeroplane scene and four times after the scene, in sync with the jet sound. We chose the aeroplane movement because we dedicated an activity in the performance to war aeroplanes, more specifically, the Ruston Proctor aeroplanes. We agreed that this was a task for the tour guide, which was me, as I was the one that was constantly with the audience and so the audience would be able to witness the symbolic movement every time.

My group and I came up with an idea to use poems that have powerful meanings and connected them to the Amy Beechey and Florence Bonnett sections of the performance. The first poem called War Girls (1916) was written by Jessie Pope and is about the job roles that women in the First World War had to undertake when the men left for war. We were inspired by this poem because it expresses the importance of women and their efforts for the war and as we focus on Florence Bonnett and her job as a munitionette, we agreed that the poem was relevant. Furthermore, we used a poem called Fallen (1916) by Alice Corbin which is about a soldier dying at war. We introduced this poem to the audio track just after Amy Beechey’s monologue where she speaks about the loss of her son, Barnard. We found this poem inspiring because although it is about the death of a soldier, it is beautifully written and the description is powerful and because the story of the Beechey family is devastating, we thought the poem provided a powerful end to the performance.

One of our main difficulties and concerns was that our site didn’t relate to our piece given that our performance was an audio tour. However, Mike Pearson states that you can “[imagine] the land not as a physical matter but as a metaphor or signifier, as concept or historical narrative” (Pearson, 2010, p.33). With this intention, we wanted to choose our route carefully and therefore we tried to find alternative routes in which would be relevant to our audio track. We decided to use Steep Hill as a starting point as it is a familiar location in the City of Lincoln and it is there that we found the sweet shop. The sweet shop wasn’t relevant to our topic but we made it relevant by using it as a place for an audience interaction in which the audience could buy some liquorice which is then mentioned in Florence Bonnett’s monologue. The reason we chose liquorice was because it was a popular sweet during the First World War. We could have introduced the sweet somewhere else in the performance, for example maybe each performer could have been eating some liquorice but we liked that the sweet shop was old fashioned and it fit in with the sweet shop sound scape in our track. Similarly, the primary school wasn’t relevant but we wanted to be walking by a school during the teacher monologue and so we used the primary school as a metaphor. Additionally, we could have searched for locations that related to the topic but by finishing at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, we wanted to give the audience the chance to go inside and see the history that inspired our performance. Generally, site-specific performance may mean to produce performance art at a certain location, but in our case “the city [became] the location of performance” (Pearson, 2010, p.41).

In the final week before the performance, my group and I arranged rehearsals almost every day to perfect our performance. This included finishing the audio track and walking the route repeatedly. However, depending on the pace we walked depended on when the track would finish and eventually we had to re-edit the track to shorten it. Once the track had finally been completed, we frequently walked the tour through until we felt confident to perform it to an audience. This included perfecting the timing and the performative sequence. On the performance day, we had a meeting with our class and lecturer to discuss the events of the day and then we had until our assessment to keep practising. We didn’t want to over rehearse but we did invite our friends to be a guinea pig audience so that if any mistakes were made, they were made in that performance for us to correct for the assessment. The only fault in this performance was that one of the recorders stopped working for an audience member which caused a delay within the tour; however I assumed that he had accidentally pressed stop and so I wasn’t worrying about it. Overall, my group and I felt prepared and ready to be assessed.

Performance Evaluation

To conclude, many aspects of the performance worked well but there could have been some improvements. Firstly, having two or three audience members worked well regarding audience interactions such as buying sweets and throwing paper aeroplanes and the fluency of the performance. The sweet shop interaction worked well because the audience members were able to buy some liquorice that they could eat throughout the tour or take home with them. The liquorice related to the performance because it was a popular sweet during the war and this is something that the audience enjoyed. As for throwing paper aeroplanes, this succeeded in the first performance because the weather was dry and the aeroplanes could move further. However during the assessment, it started to rain and so the paper aeroplanes didn’t move very far which ruined the effect we were hoping for which was too measure the distance of where the paper aeroplanes had landed and video the interaction. If we had considered the weather conditions beforehand, plastic aeroplane models would have been a wiser option.

As our site was the City of Lincoln, we thought that an interesting theme could be about the history of Lincolnshire women during the Second World War. However in our feedback, it was pointed out that our audio didn’t relate to the site. At beginning of the module, our first task was to go on a “drift” to decide on the journey of the tour and we came across the Museum of Lincolnshire life which inspired our war theme idea. Even though we considered that the site didn’t relate to the theme, we ordered the monologues so that they would play at certain locations of the tour that would make sense. For example, the teacher monologue and the school children sound scape started playing when we arrived at the school just after the classroom scene where we had written the surnames of the women in our piece on chalk boards which were then presented to the audience using a performative sequence. As for improvements, the track still hadn’t finished when we arrived at the museum meaning that I had been walking too fast. If we had finished the audio track weeks before the assessment, we could have spent the final weeks perfecting timing. Another thing was that we had mistakenly used a jet sound effect in the audio when the topic was about the First World War aeroplanes. However, as we couldn’t record the sound of a real aeroplane, we had to find the sound effect on a free sounds website and the jet sound was all that was available. Last of all, unfortunately the problem that we had with the recorder before the assessment occurred again but this was due to technical issues. If I was to alter the final performance I would have slowed the walking down especially because some of the audience members walked quite slowly and I didn’t want to rush them and I would have tested the recorders many times before the assessment so that the technical problem could have been prevented. All of these problems should have been considered beforehand.

Ultimately, my experience with site specific performance has made me realise that performance is live art that can take place at any location in any shape or form and as Mike Pearson states, “site may be transformed by the disruptive presence of performance seeking a relationship other than that of a ready-made scenic backdrop against which to place its figures.” (Pearson, p.2, 2010).

Word Count: 3160

Works Cited:

Bieri, A.H. (2012) Audio Walks: Documentary Art for Planning Education and Research. Doctoral Candidate. Virginia Tech, College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Blast Theory (2011) Fixing Point. [online] Brighton: Blast Theory. Available from [Accessed 11 May 2015]

British Council (2015) Theatre and Dance. [online] United Kingdom: British Council. Available from [Accessed 10 May 2015]

Cash, J. (2008) The Drama Teacher. [online] Available from [Accessed 10 May 2015]

Corbin, A. (1916) The Fallen. [online] Available from [Accessed 11 May 2015]

Coverly, M. (2012) The Art of Wandering. Harpenden: Old Castle Books Ltd.

De Botton, A. (2003) The Art of Travel. London: Penguin Books.

Dreamthinkspeak. (2013) One Day, Maybe. [Online] Available from [Accessed 11 May 2015]

Guggenheim (2015) Guggenheim. [online] The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Available from [Accessed 8 May 2015]

Lincolnshire Echo (2013) British tank military memorial unveiled in Lincoln – with pictures. Lincolnshire Echo. 10 March. Available from [Accessed 10 May 2015]

Lonetwin (2011) The Boat Project. [online] Available from [Accessed 11 May 2015]

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

Pope, J. (1916) War Girls. [online] Available from [Accessed 11 May 2015]

The Guardian (2013) The Borough – Review. [online] The Guardian. Available from [Accessed 11 May 2015]

Final Blog Submission – Sarah Cameron

Framing Statement

Overall our performance process as a whole was long, very long. We found ourselves going round in circles, ironic because our piece is set on the cyclical set of time, but as a group we definitely tired ourselves out. It personally took me a few weeks to be able to come to terms with thinking outside the box and being able to deal with so much freedom in one piece. Our main research came from the history of the park more specifically The Cold Bath House and the World War Two history within the park. We also researched deeper into the Cold Bath House finding an 1891 census (It’s About Lincoln, 2013) and a retell of events from a male who had been present the day the House had been bombed in World War Two. (BBC, 2005) Our first idea was to create a story of a couple and their family saying goodbye before war and to have a young sister lead the audience but after discussing our idea with Karen we realised the piece was too literal, did not feel site specific and also felt that we were more focussed on the idea of the characters instead of the space; we had not let the space create our ideas. We also realised we would not be able to make the audience feel completely in the past due to us being unable to change the space itself and because the park was not private, there would be a high chance of the public walking through which would have broken the illusion. We then began discussing the element of time within our piece, especially when in discussion with the door we had decided to begin our performance at. ‘The Timekeeper’ by Mitch Albom was another stimulus for us and we decided to use a passage from this book within our piece. We wanted the audience to think about the passage of time and question how little they actually thought about time throughout their everyday life. Punchdrunk’s ‘The Borough’ was also a big influence in our performance with the use of a backing track as well as our recorded script for each character. Our performance started at the door just outside the Arboretum, and then the audience are led towards where The Cold Bath House would have been before it got destructed, the audience are then guided through the park by the audio piece they are given at the beginning of the route. By using the census we created characters throughout the park that the audience meet and learn some of their past, I performed as George Smith, the gardener of The Cold Bath House. My performative action was to clean up the maze, I did this repeated over until the audience member had passed me, I then moved to the end point which was the steps in the centre of the park and joined the rest of the group.


Analysis of Process

We began with a drift though Lincoln which led us to the Arboretum. Once at the Arboretum we read the map board and found out there was once a Cold Bath House at the same place as the Arboretum which had been bombed in World War Two so we decided to use that as a stimulus for our performance.


This was because as a group we all had different ideas we felt we could bring together in to a strong group performance. Our first initial idea was for the audience to follow a young male and his journey as he left for war, they were to meet his girlfriend and two younger siblings whilst he said his goodbyes for war. We began recording audio to use as a backing track for our performance such as the birds, footsteps and the fountains. When walking around the space we took photos to document the points within the park where we felt the audience member would understand and feel the type of emotion we were portraying and also to keep the route natural and flowing. When we took Karen around the space and explained to her what we had planned she highlighted that we had thought too literal about the piece and had focussed mainly on the characters, therefore not making the piece site specific because of the lack of historical documentation as well as connection to the site: “Place has tended to exert a different kind of influence on the development of performance context, an influence more often abstract and imaginative than purely literal” (Wilkie, 2002, 156) It was also highlighted that it would be unable to fully create the illusion of being in the past due to us not being able to fully edit the space, with it being a public space with members of the public using it daily and around the time we would be performing.

We then decided to sit down as a group and re-evaluate our ideas. Whilst discussing different ideas we then got on to the subject of time in our piece, we knew we wanted the audience to travel on a journey and to think about how they use time in their daily lives. We then used Mitch Albom’s ‘The Timekeeper’ as a stimulus as we felt one of the opening passages fitted well in our piece. We decided to use this at the door after the Cathedral had chimed on the hour which led nicely in to the audience thinking about time and also give them a small idea of what was to come. This was the first half of our final product. The reason this was only half was due to me feeling the performance could connect with the site more. “A site brings its own historical, cultural or political implications, which are the interwoven with other concerns and aesthetics into the final piece” (Wilkie, 2002, 156) So I decided to research into the past of The Cold Bath House therefore finding the census and Fred Hurt’s story so by adding the use of historical documents and understanding the site’s history slightly deeper I felt our performance was a strong site specific piece and therefore was the performance was glued to our site; it would not work anywhere else. Although, this created a problem for the group as once I had done the research and we met as a group, it was difficult to link the two ideas together and we felt as a group it could become messy. Karen then gave us the option to split the group in to two smaller groups and have two different performances in the site but after a long discussion we decided to stay as one group but alter each idea slightly. By making both halves of the performance incorporate some element of time whether it was the seasons, the past, the future or present we managed to include each part we had wanted to. We used the census to create a short passage for Henry Hebb, who had The Cold Bath House built and George Smith, the gardener for the house. We also included the retell of events from Fred Hurt, as well as paragraphs forcing the audience to think and question their own use of time.

To fully connect the performance to the site, we also recorded the backing track audio we had at the park so when the audience were guided through the park they had the exact sounds they would have if they had simply been walking through the park naturally; we walked the route we had planned and recorded what we heard. As well as recording the simple bird track, we recorded the fountain, footsteps on the gravel around the maze and the chimes from the play park at the top of the Arboretum. We wanted to keep the backing track natural to give the feel of a natural and present essence even though they had people from the past talking to them as though they too were present. We had a lot of rehearsals and lessons in audacity which at first I found it really difficult but after much (!) perseverance I eventually managed to fully understand the software and often found myself offering to edit the piece alone due to other rehearsal and commitment clashes within the group. Once we had recorded and edited the birds, footsteps and fountain we then had to go back to the Arboretum to record even more such as the chimes from the play park. We also had to reroute the performance due to us changing the idea so we went back to the Arboretum to decide on this. Once we had written our monologues and passages of speech we spent a morning recording these in a studio before editing them in audacity.

After Easter, we realised we were quite behind and had still not finalised the timings for the audio track so we met as a group and rehearsed in the arboretum. We all walked the route we had planned with one of us listening to what we had recorded and another one of us timing the walk between each point we wanted the audience to stop at. Once we got the timings, we went back to the mac suite to edit this in to audacity. The layering of the piece was similar to Punchdrunk’s ‘The Borough’ by layering the track of the Arboretum along with our voices “There are worlds within worlds and layers within layers” (Gardner, 2013) as we twist in the use of the past world and the present world, joining them together and also the layering of the different elements and cycles of time as well as the layering of the audio.

We wanted the audience to feel natural in the space but also like they were watching the world going by; like they were in their own bubble. We decided to start at the door with one of the runners greeting the audience member, this was because the door represented new beginnings but also the past because it was worn and old, you could see where the ivy had grown up it but then also been ripped down; a great aesthetic. As well as this, we started at the hour in time with the Cathedral bells which connected with our theme of time and the cycle of it. The runner then left the audience member once they had begun the audio and let our audio track lead the audience. It first took them to Henry portrayed by Lee at the tree just outside one of the Arboretum gates, we wanted the audience to meet Henry first to lead the audience to where The Cold Bath House began, leading then to the play park where they meet Emma. We wanted the change in mood as they then moved on to the childhood past of their own, making the audience think of their beginning. The audience are then led to the ledge where they are told to look out across the arboretum and think about time; continuing onwards from the play park. They are then led down past the fountain where they see some runners; these runners are running laps and are also seen timing their run which again is a cycle and connection to time. The audio then leads the audience down some steps to the maze where they meet the Gardener portrayed by me. We had the gardener in the maze due to the idea of the being timed in a maze, the gardener also speaks of seasons; another element of time. Then finally the audience are led to the lion below the steps in the middle of the Arboretum which is when they listen to Fred’s retell of events from when the Arboretum got bombed where our audio tour ends. We wanted to end the piece in the centre of the park and on the stairs with the whole cast spread across them to show the audience the piece had ended, we felt it was a strong image and was also easier for the audience to see the exit.

As a group, we also wanted to take the audience on a journey through past and present again much like Punchdrunk’s ‘The Borough’ “Punchdrunk encourage you to look seawards, finding a place where the sky and sea, past and present, fact and fiction collide” (Gardner, 2013) we incorporated the fact of the names and occupations from the census with the fiction of the monologues themselves and the placement of the characters. We also wanted the audience to merge the use of time with the idea of time and why we stick to it when it is simply a man-made thing. We included many different cycles throughout the performance including the cycle of time and the cycle of the seasons also the joggers were jogging in a cycle and we included the cycle of life whilst at the park.

We met up before our final rehearsal to test the audio one more time and also to discuss the performative actions we were to do. We decided that Lee would continue to walk around the park drawing to show the audience what Henry would have done in the past, as the gardener I was to tend to the maze and watch the weather; much like the gardener would have done. Hayley and Sara were to jog in a cycle but at slightly different paces timing each other. On our final rehearsal one of our main worries was the weather. The week before our performance had been one of the hottest weeks in a long time so it was inevitable it was due to rain so as a group we made sure to take note to layer up on the day of our performance. Throughout our final rehearsal Sara decided to take the role of audience member and was led by our audio. We practiced our repetitive actions and also finalised the ending as we were unsure about timings of when to get to the steps for; we did not know whether it would look better if we arrived together or separately so this really helped us decide as she was able to tell us what it looked like from an outside eye. The final rehearsal ran smoothly and the weather was good for Britain…


Performance Evaluation

On performance day the weather was luckily on our side. As we only had two performances the rain stayed away both times and only down poured between the two. The final performances went a lot better than any of us expected due to us finding the module quite difficult and we were pleased with the feedback. I felt we had definitely grown as a group and our timings were really strong. I feel our weakest point was the ending, we could have edited the part at the steps as it felt, for me personally, a little messy. As well as this, Karen had to ask me where the lion was within the maze as due to the growth of the trees she was unable to see the lion from where she was standing, this was because we had set the route when the trees were not fully in bloom and also because we were so used to the route ourselves we completely forgot. Even though the audience numbers worked well with the weather I would have liked to have had a few more runs of the piece just to get feedback from people who were completely new to site specific and audio tours. In our feedback from Conan, he brought up that we could have invited the audience in to the maze which I thought was a great idea. We had previously thought about it but worrying about timing we decided against it. I think this would have added an extra depth to the performance and also linked again with our time theme; we could have given the audience member a certain amount of time to get out of the maze or allowed them to time themselves. Whilst in the site and stood in my position within the maze, I realised you was able to see so much even in such a restricted way. On realising this, I think if I was to add anything else to the performance it would be to get the audience member to come into the centre of the maze and look around the park. I would get them to think about the confinement they are in but that they are still able to see how open the space is, I would have linked this to time and the confinement of that and also how much freedom is in it too. Whilst working throughout this module, even though I found it challenging and at times frustrating, I think it has opened my mind to working in non-theatrical spaces and also using these spaces as stimuli for performances.


Works Cited:

It’s About Lincoln, 2013 Lincoln’s Smallest Parish [blog entry] 17 October. Lincoln. Available from [Accessed 16 March 2015]

BBC(2005) WW2 People’s War [online] London:BBC Available from [Accessed on 16 March 2015]

Wilkie, F. (2002) Mapping the Terrain: a Survey of Site-Specific Performance in Britain. New Theatre Quarterly, 18 (2) 140-160.

Gardner, L. (2013) The Borough – review. The Guardian. 11 June. Available from


Final Blog Submission: Chloe Brasier

Framing statement.

My site specific performance was held in the Great Central Warehouse Library at 5:15pm on the 7th May 2015. I greeted my participants outside the front to which I then affectively gave them an “audio tour” of the library itself, ranging from the first floor right up to the second. During this tour I performed a number of tasks that symbolised factual information involving the past and present uses of the building itself. Rather than using objects as my main focus, I used myself with the assistance of objects or spaces. As I spent my previous year of university studying dance alongside drama, it was suggested to me that I used my body and dance to create a contemporary performance using my body in ways to reflect the knowledge I learned from studying the library’s past and present uses. I felt that this was a huge risk as the way in which I would dance would be to a particular taste meaning there was a chance the participants could get bored or might not enjoy or appreciate the way in which I was moving and the reasons why.

The particular focus of our group’s piece was the use of audio and how you worked with audio as a performer. This helped us to create a piece in which we communicated directly to our participants through the audio recorders and feeding them instructions to help direct them through our performances. I wanted to give the participants tasks to do through the audio to help them use the factual information that I had given them in a more creative way than just listening to words being spoken on a recorder.

As I decided to use my body and dance as another main focus for my piece, I was inspired by was Cie. Willi Dorner’s ‘Bodies in Urban Space’. This project focused on a group of dancers who used still movement and bodies to create a site specific performance. They created this piece in a public area, moving in unison with each other around buildings and spaces. After reading through Govan’s ‘The Place of the Artist’ (2007), I felt that some of his points were relevant to Willi Dorner’s ‘Bodies in Urban Spaces’. “Contemporary public places present particular problems for the performance maker. Augé develops de Certeau’s notion of non-place and defines non places as different from what he terms ‘anthropological places’ in that they ‘cannot be defined as relational, or historical, or concerned with identity’ (Augé 1995: 78). Augé identifies airports, railway stations, hotel chains, large retail stores and leisure parks as non places that put the individual in contact only with another image of himself’ (Augé 1995: 79)” (Govan, 2007,127). Much like mine, they used contemporary forms to show what they were trying to portray to participants, audience and passers by. They folded and adapted their bodies to fit certain architecture, buildings and spaces in the city they were exploring. During the video displaying this performance, it was interesting to watch the reaction of the passers by who automatically became involved in the performance. The passers by became participants and became the audience as they followed the group of dancers round the city as they broke off from their sculptured format that they had created with their bodies. It was amazing to watch as each dancer in the group unfolded their body from the morphed position so that each member of the group got out from the space safely. It looked rehearsed however it wasn’t known whether it was rehearsed or not. My intentions with my piece was to create the same reaction from my audience, I wanted them to be intrigued and captivated by what was going on as I developed a story through the movements of my body.

Analysis of process.

Joining the module late was daunting as it was decided that I should work on a solo performance rather than a group performance. Initially, I was apprehensive of this idea due to the fact that I had missed out on vital information that had been explained to the whole group in the previous few weeks. I was also concerned about the work load and the pressure that I would put on myself to create a piece of sight specific work on my own. I found the audio part the most daunting as I knew that my talents didn’t include technology, so I felt the most apprehensive about using the programme audacity. Having know prior knowledge of audacity or how to Feeling unsure, I started off by going on a drift walk around Lincoln to look for possible locations that I could use for my piece. My intention was for it to not be a clichéd area, as I wanted my performance to be unique and exciting. My initial thoughts were to find a well known area in Lincoln so that I could create a thrilling performance using information that I could find on that particular location. I thought a well known location would probably have a lot of information on it thus creating a range of ideas to explore for my piece. I ruled out the cathedral due to the fact that I believed it to be too clichéd as I’d heard of a lot of site specific performances that took place at the cathedral. Even though my piece wouldn’t mimic others’, I wanted my location to be simpler so I could create more effective ideas surrounding an unadorned location spot. As I left for my walk, I didn’t have far to go till I found the location that I decided on, the universities library. I found this the most intriguing due to the fact that it could’ve possibly had more uses than just a library, so I investigated into this further. What I discovered was that the Great Central Warehouse Library lived up to it’s name as nearly 100 years ago, it’s main purpose was not a library but a grain Warehouse. This automatically got me thinking about how I could combine movement with the uses of grain and harvest, work that goes on in warehouses, machinery used in warehouses and the uses of a modern day library.

The planning stages were the most challenging stages, as I had to create ideas that linked with my original thought process. I also had to keep in mind the use of audio and how that would fit in with my over all performance. I had to decide whether I would be the only performer or if I was going to synchronise my movements with another performer or multiple performers. I decided to perform as a soloist as the type of dance I wanted to do was improvisation that involves creating the movements on the spot at the time of the performance with no rehearsals. The movements are portrayed through the emotions you feel at the time therefore it cannot be rehearsed or choreographed. I wanted to create empathy through the movements so it had a meaning rather than just a body moving in an obscure and absurd way.

My planning process started with reading through Mike Pearson’s ‘Place exercises’, to which I plotted my ideas through four stages of exercises that relate to site specific performance. “In the studio, on location, after visiting location and into performance.” (Pearson, 2011). These helped me to create a more stable route for my performance and to help me think more in depth about the ways in which I would approach certain tasks and how they would reflect my ideas. Delving deeper into the library, I found books relating to the past and present uses of the library which was perfect for my work. The book itself was ‘The Great Central Warehouse University Library/ University of Lincoln’ by Andrew Weekes (2006). The book told me about the different uses of the building and informed me on the history and development, restoration, the new library and the future. Reading through these sections to gain knowledge and factual information on the site, I discovered more descriptive and poetic parts to the book which I thought would be perfect for my performance. ‘Once it’s stout brick walls echoed in the din of the railway goods yard, the clank of the crane and the hiss of the steam locomotive. Now the noises of a bygone industrial age have been replaced by a much more studious sound: the clicking of fingertips on computer keyboards, the riffling of pages in a book and the low murmur of voices engaged in hushed conversation…’ (Weekes, 2006) I particularly liked the onomatopoeic words such as ‘the clank of the crane’ and ‘the hiss of the steam locomotive.’ I instantly knew I would have this piece of writing being spoken through the audio recorders, as a monologue, whilst I was dancing. The onomatopoeia used could help me create movements and shapes with my body that would relate to those words, for example, when I think of the word ‘clank’ I would associate it with heavy yet sudden movements that are almost sharp and direct.

After having more of a clear idea towards my actual performance, I started to adapt these ideas and think more about the areas of the library in which I would be dancing and how long for. I hadn’t yet decided whether I would be dancing throughout the whole performance or just a certain section. I thought it would be interesting to split my performance into sections, one which involved me feeding the participants information through the audio recording, the next where the audience actually participated in the performance themselves by responding to instructions through the audio, and the final being the audience simply watching me move around the space in response to the monologue that was playing through the audio recording. “It proposes that artists predominantly respond to a place from the perspective of an outsider and considers the problems and possibilities that this affords to the creative encounter. At the core of the enquiry is an examination of the place of the artist both literally in terms of the locations that they inhabit and the philosophically and psychologically in terms of the social functions the artist may perform.” (Govan, 2007) Govan’s point relates to my some of my ideas as I want my participants to respond to certain parts of my performance as well as myself. I decided on the idea to have my different sections on different floors of the library; the factual information on the first floor, the audience participation on the second floor and the dance improvisation on the third. I wanted the improvisation to be on the third floor as I thought it would create more of an impact due to the area being deadly silent. The only noises that the participants would hear would be the whispered monologue through the headphones as I moved around the space.

To make my performance unique I wanted to create a certain element of shock to the audience. I thought that this would be most suitable in my improvised section as I could use props to help explain my motive through movement and use of the props. This got me thinking further about the use of grain and harvest. Due to expense I had to think what I could use to substitute grain yet it still looks effective. I decided on using cereal, however as I wasn’t choreographing a dance, I couldn’t choreograph or rehearse how I was going to use the cereal in my improvisation so I left it till my actual performance to see how I would use it.

Layering my performance also meant layering my audio clips on audacity. I had assistance from Richard Black due to the lack of knowledge and understanding I had of the programme. I firstly explained to him my ideas and showed him the script that I had written prior to us meeting. I explained how I wanted certain sound effects to overlap the speech so that there was never full silence, however at some parts I had a low murmur of background noise which classed as near silence to help create the effect I wanted on certain parts of my piece. The main concern that I had was getting the timing spot on as I wouldn’t be wearing headphones myself. Richard showed me the different techniques on how to use audacity and the simplest ways to transform my recordings into an over all recording which flowed and fitted together without any mishaps. I wanted the sound effects of the combine harvester, the steam locomotive and the background hubbub of the library to link with the different sections of speech to help break the piece up. I found this to be effective due to sound effects being linked with the contrasting uses of the building during the past and present.


Performance Evaluation

I was apprehensive about my final performance due to how unpredictable the library is. It is risky as passers by in the library could disrupt my performance or move props and I would be oblivious until I reached that stage of the performance. If this happened I would be thrown and would have to improvise, this was my main concern. Another worry that I had was the time keeping and whether I would rush my performance due to nerves so be behind on the recording.

My first encounter was when I greeted my participants outside the library. I was wearing a chequered shirt with bare feet to symbolise a farmer who would harvest the grain. I chose to have bare feet so that I could move around the space more efficiently during my improvisation without having to take shoes off. I carried a wicker basket on my arm, in which I held the cereal to represent grain and books that I would be using in my performance. After greeting my participants, I briefly explained how I would be guiding them around the building explaining factual information through different performance techniques. The audio recorded began with clear instructions for the participants, telling them to follow me throughout the journey through the library. I chose the sound effect of the library hubbub to use as we ventured up our first flight of stairs, I wanted to create a feeling of intensity and uncertainty as to what would happen next. On each of the flights of stairs I created a small pile of the grain, this was to symbolise the many different piles of grain that would be created in the warehouse. I performed this on every flight of stairs we went up; I did this to show the repetitiveness of the process.

On the first and second floor of the library, I wanted the audience to think and feel completely contrasting things. Whilst I was feeding them the factual information through the audio recording, I created a slide show of images showing what the building looked like when it was a warehouse and what it looks like currently. I then handed the participants books to which I then instructed them to open via the recording. The timing here was crucial which was extremely challenging to get completely accurate. As we progressed up the next flight of stairs I repeated the process of creating a pile of grain. This time I used the background noise of the combine harvester to show a complete contrast and as I had now informed the participants of the history of the building, they would be able to understand the reasoning’s behind the noises more. The next section of my piece involved the participants drawing an image or symbol that represented a word they had in the book that was handed to them in a colour to which emotion they thought fitted the word. One of the books had words which represented the feelings that surrounded the library such as stress, or anxiety. The other had completely contrasting words which linked in with fields, harvest and grain. These included words such as freedom. As I had hoped, both images completely contrasted each other which depicted the difference in the uses of the building. I feel like I could’ve done more on this floor on the basis of the fact that I didn’t do much myself, it was more speech from the recording.

I repeated the same process through the next level of stairs. Upon reaching the third and final floor, I simply wanted the participants to watch and listen to the noises and motions that were taking place in the space. I handed the final book in my basket to a participant. I was most apprehensive about here as I was completely improvising this section. I wanted my movements to represent a combine harvester, harvesting the grain. I used slow movements to start with to show the machine starting up; as I sped my movements up I threw the grain in the air and started to roll around in it to show how the combine harvester was harvesting the grain. Following this, I created more piles of grain on the side, repeating my previous process; I then swiped the grain with my arm and watched it scatter all over the floor. This was to represent the library taking over the warehouse and how the buildings past use is now completely unknown to the present users. To end my piece, I selected books off the shelves and placed them in a circle on top of the scattered grain. The participant holding the book was then instructed to interrupt what I was doing and hand me the book, which I then placed in the centre of the circle. This book was the main stimulus of my piece, ‘The Great Central Warehouse University Library’ by Andrew Weekes. Here I wanted to show how the books had replaced the grain as being the main purpose of the building.

I found this to be my most successful part of my piece as I had completely improvised it. However, I felt like I should’ve analysed the space better due to the lack of space I had to move. I didn’t feel like my body was free enough to move in the ways in which I wanted it to.

When entering this module, I didn’t find excitement or thrill in the ideas behind audio. However, as I progressed, I realised how the performance didn’t have to be boring or simplistic, and that I could use so many more performance techniques than I first thought. Having the advantage of being a dancer helped to make my performance different. I wanted audio and dance to stand hand in hand with each other as a main focus of my piece and I feel like I achieved what I wanted initially wanted to portray.

Word count: 3,134



Dorner, W. (2014) Willi Dorner: Bodies in Urban Spaces. [performance art] Biel/Bienne, Switzerland.

Govan, E. (2007) Making Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Performance. Oxon: Routledge.


Weekes, A. (2006) The Great Central Warehouse University Library. Lincoln: Andrew Weekes.