Weds 18th July – Sat 21st July 2018
Basildon Park (National Trust)
Over 700 guests participated in this dusk walk through the woods and expansive parkland of the National Trust property, Basildon Park, combining installation with live performance and music.
Using local materials, artists Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby of the art collective, And Now, spent a week on site at Basildon Park creating installations that audiences could move through, investigate and contribute to. They used found materials and aimed to work with, not against the landscape.
Greeted by characters in white with hints of the Victorian lady and gentleman rambler, guests walked together into the woods arriving to the evocative sounds of stones being tapped together, and then to a tree where they were greeted by singing and invited to join in.
At the final destination was a celebration of the installations. Prolonged hot weather and exceptionally dry ground meant that planned fire installations were unable to go ahead, but a brass band played.
Community participants in white told poignant stories of personal experience, then performed a sequence of movements within a tall circle of triangular structures made from branches, with a feel of rousing celebration and ceremony. Visitors were invited to explore a playful circle of shrine-like cupboards, containing surprising and humorous combinations of objects and artefacts.
Wayfaring was inspired by ancient chalk landscapes and the Icknield Way, which is claimed as the oldest road Britain.
The project was produced by Activate Performing Arts in partnership with the North Wessex Downs AONB, the Corn Exchange Newbury, 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space and the National Trust, with support from the Arts Council.
Children from thirteen local schools took part in a two-day Wayfaring ‘Schools Festival’ at Basildon Park. They took part in workshops with the artists from And Now, Bearface Theatre and Edward Wren, and were given a tour of Basildon House. Activities included creating their own tribal dances and chants, learning about the landscape, trees and grass species before creating their own grass pictures using found materials and charcoal, and watching Edward Wren's puppet show about the history of Basildon Park.
The children participated in the Wayfaring installations. After talking a walk in the woods to discover the chalk line, which would have been underwater 150 million years ago, they were invited to use chalk to scribe thoughts and feelings about borders, and to ponder questions about migration.
Wayfaring also took place in three other locations: Wells in Norfolk as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival; Maiden Castle in Dorset, as part of Activate’s Inside Out Dorset festival; plus the Dutch island of Terschelling, as part of the Oerol festival.