At the end of November 2012 MED Theatre put on its biennial festival of young Dartmoor people’s playwriting, Dartfest. Five plays were performed twice over two evenings in Moretonhampstead Parish Hall. The plays werere all inspired by Dartmoor’s environment and tackled subjects such as passion, disability, grief, divided loyalties, ethnic conflict, bullying, haunting and superstition. The plays were direct and eye-opening, leavening dark subject matter with humour and tenderness.
Dance artists Rohanna Eade and Charlotte Spencer, musician David Faulkner of Wren Music, stage designer Olivia Young, costume designer Fiona Avis and stage manager Philippa Glanvill gave professional support alongside MED Theatre’s core team. With their mentoring, fourteen young people wrote and directed the plays, as well as creating their own music, dance and floor canvas. Dartfest 2012 formed the culmination of MED Theatre’s year-long ‘Catchment’ Project, supported by Arts Council England and the National Lottery. The Dartfest festival has been running since 2007.
‘Forever’ by Teresa Hellyer: A girl depends on the advice of a friend from her Dartmoor childhood, but is this situation sustainable ?
‘The White Bird’ by Rachel Caverhill: A re-telling of an old myth, dealing with superstition and destiny.
‘Divided’ by by Willa Faulkner and Laura Stewart-Watson: A Roman and a Celt long for each other across an impassable river.
‘Orphan’ by Beth Horsey and Oli Strath: A wicked practical joke in a children’s home reaches a terrifying climax on the tors.
‘The Marsh’ by Alex Mortimer: A bleak bog landscape dominates as a woman tries desperately to keep her daughter out of the hands of the authorities.
“Excellent – so nice that the students could write their own plays, particularly adding their own twist to stories.”
“I enjoyed the eclecticism – to perform a variety of plays in a short space of time is very commendable. The use of violin and guitar off stage was very effective.There were certain moments of choreographical beauty that I particularly appreciated”
“Wonderful stories, excellent performances, great music!”
“Very impressed with the collective responsibility and the transposition of the myths to the present day. Also great use of humour.”
The dates of the performances were :