Breathing Spaces – the parks tour!

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So our parks tour of Breathing Spaces has come to an end. We began with a rather shaky first performance at Queens Walk Recreation Ground on July 16th, although the wonderful barbecue and picnic hosted by the Friends group following the show revealed that most of the audience had enjoyed what they had seen, and that it had brought back a lot of memories to many of the local residents.

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Sunday 17th was by far the most challenging day for us: two shows in two different locations. The morning was taken up in the Forest, and the show had improved radically by then. With a few cuts here and there, and a more confident cast following the experiences of the Saturday, the show moved with much greater rhythm across some wonderful spaces. And again the post show response was excellent.

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And then in the afternoon (a quick lunch, taxis at the ready) it was off to Victoria Park. There was a slightly smaller audience for this one, but a group of very young children joined us at the opening of the show and managed to stay with us throughout the ninety minutes, which we take as a real achievement.

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Sunday July 24th was our final day – two shows at the Arboretum, and both absolutely packed. We had imagined this as a piece for an audience of 50 but we had double that for the first show, and around 150 for the final show. On both occasions we had a light smattering of rain but not enough to dampen any spirits. By now the cast were on top form, and with the advantage of the absolutely beautiful surroundings that were used to the full, the play absolutely came to life. The cast waltzing with the audience as confetti fluttered down on them by the Chinese Bells; the proposal of Arthur to Alice next to Cocky’s aviary, now filled with birds made by Carrington Primary school; the sudden appearance of a Save Our NHS protest – all worked exactly as we had hoped they would.

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We’d like to thank all of those that took part in what was a really challenging project for the company (Excavate), and especially those new faces that joined us as part of the production team or as performers. And, of course, all of those that came along to see the show.

Our final contribution to this project will be a series of ten films that explore the history of these ‘green lungs’ from a variety of perspectives from across the ages. For a sneak preview have a look here at the stories of The Soldier’s Wife and The Park Keeper.

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