A Unique Dance Project for Porlock Vale

“Mid-afternoon in October 1942, a plane crashes leaving a sole survivor”

Liberator is a high-quality, innovative dance project that draws on local history and places to create a series of five site-specific contemporary dance performances that run from July to September 2015 in and around Porlock Vale.

In collaboration with The Crown Estate, National Trust Holnicote Estate and Porlock Manor Estate, Stacked Wonky has devised five separate ‘episodes’, each of which takes place at a different site. Some of these sites are well known, such as Porlock Marsh, others are understated yet atmospheric, such as a disused stone barn near Luccombe.

Liberator has been created by Bossington resident, Sarah Shorten, Artistic Director of Stacked Wonky. Previously Sarah has created work for a wide range of unusual and high-profile sites including Trafalgar Square, The Museum of Childhood in collaboration with The V&A Museum and, most recently, Clovelly Court in North Devon.

Since moving from Lynton to Bossington with her family, she has turned to the world literally outside her back garden for inspiration. The seed idea for Liberator was born when Sarah went running on Porlock Marsh, passing a memorial commemorating the crash of an American B-24 Liberator bomber in October 1942, which left 11 men dead and a sole survivor. After talking to local historians and residents, Sarah gradually realised its recurring themes of loss, sacrifice, survival and childhood excitement about the war might be captured by a series of performances that return all fragments of the story to Porlock Marsh for a finale.

Sarah says, “With Liberator I want to show audiences what’s possible when dance heads away from the stage. Our audiences will be invited to go on a walking journey at a variety of sites at different times of the day to discover a performance world that unfolds around them. Sometimes the extraordinary can happen as movement, sound, shadow, weather and audiences combine, all driven by the legacy of an impactful local event.”

Liberator involves a wide and eclectic team of local collaborators, including designers, costume makers, photographers, sound artists, National Trust rangers, foresters, tenants and technicians who have pulled together with enthusiasm. The cast comprises five dancers: Duncan Hume, an ex Royal Ballet dancer, at the helm of Exmoor Dance, and four children aged 5 to 8 years old from Timberscombe First School.

Over the past few months, rehearsals have been taking place in each of the five sites, all of which present unique challenges: from the isolation of the glades at Nutcombe Bottom, to the scale of an enormous field near West Luccombe, to the inquisitive wildlife at the barn, to the high winds on top of Bossington Hill, to the encroaching tides on Porlock Marsh! Liberator has also been made possible by the generosity of partner organisations, such as a Vision for Porlock Marsh, Porlock Arts Festival and the National Trust.

Tamsin Mosse, Visitor Services Manager for the National Trust, says: “We are really excited to be involved with this innovative new project, bringing something different to the Estate. It’s a great way of exploring hidden parts of the countryside and immersing yourself in a captivating interpretation of a true story that took place here.”

Liberator’s publicity states: “Be part of something extraordinary this summer, as past events navigate towards the present”, something we hope will ring true with our audience. The first performances take place at 4pm at Nutcombe Bottom on 25 Saturday and 26 Sunday July 2015. You can watch just one or all five performances as they unfold over the summer. Audience numbers are limited, thus booking is essential. For further details, visit www.stackedwonky.com.

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