‘Moor Voices’, funded by Arts Council England, will culminate in outdoor performances on both Dartmoor and Exmoor of a play which deals with the possibility of matriarchal societies in the Bronze Age, suggested by the mythology associated with marine mammals.
The project will involve community cast members, emerging artists and professional practitioners who will help to deliver the project alongside the MED Theatre team, including Project Coordinator, Florrie Taylor. Schools in the surrounding areas of Dartmoor and Exmoor have had the opportunity to take part in workshops inspired by the project and one of the final performances will be live-streamed to allow audiences around the world to watch online.
The year is 1100 BC, and a Mycenean warrior from the Mediterranean lands at Totnes to find a culture which worships marine mammals.
Is it possible that he has stepped into a matriarchal society?
On Saturday 29th February all 6 of our Emerging Artists for the Moor Voices project worked creatively together for the first time.
There was laughter, joy and a playfulness present in the room that enabled these young artists to bring the Moor Voices script to life.
This group are very special and we are very proud to be working with them on this project. Scroll down to find out more about them!
MED Theatre welcomes you to our Moor Voices Project. For information about how you can get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
So far we have run voice workshops led by Dr Konstantinos Thomaidis from the University of Exeter and physical theatre workshops led by Clive Mendus of Complicite. We have also begun work on a giant puppet under the supervision of international puppeteer Cariad Astles, and a score is being composed by Gillian Webster and Trefor Farrow. Finally, before the Covid-19 emergency, we worked on choreography for a seal/selchie dance in a weekend workshop with dance artist Rosalyn Maynard.
Six emerging artists with Devon connections have been selected who will form the core of the production, working alongside community members in the cast.
In January and February we embarked on a series of school workshops on and around Exmoor as part of the outreach for the project. These focused on life in the Bronze Age with particular reference to the two moorland landscapes of Dartmoor and Exmoor containing some of the finest archaeological Bronze Age remains in Northern Europe. We worked with nine schools in both the Dartmoor and Exmoor areas, engaging over 600 pupils.
Our emerging artists selected for this project come from a variety of creative backgrounds ranging from dance, theatre and music. Across the year they will be artistic collaborators, taking a role in the development and delivery of the final outdoor productions in August. We are very excited to work with them and to continue to help them develop their own practices beyond the end of the project
Daniella is delighted to be part of the Moor Voices project with MED Theatre and is looking forward to embarking on this new adventure with other artists, theatre makers and communities here in the South West. Having graduated last year from Rose Bruford College she is keen to continue developing her craft as a performer and theatre maker. Daniella has also recently trained within The Lab Company at Theatre Royal Plymouth where RunRagged was formed. She is also a theatre practitioner working with children and young people. Daniella loves to laugh and tell stories, aspiring to create playful, relevant and exciting work and believes Moor Voices will be a wonderful opportunity to collaborate on a really special project. Future aspirations are to keep learning new things and keep making theatre!
Eleanor is a third-year drama student at the University of Exeter. She has also completed a year of study at the University of Texas Austin in the USA, where she widened her artistic practice to include playwriting and applied theatre. Artistically she is interested in both mainstream and alternative forms of theatre and performance. Her artistic practice is collaborative, working with existing texts and devising performances. She’s also an avid writer and enjoys writing and performing poetry. She is originally from Cardiff so has grown up next to the sea, surrounded by traditional folklore and mythology. These two passions have brought her to work on this project, as well as the commitment to creating highly artistic work within the local community. She hopes to develop a greater understanding of how to create work with and for a community. After this project, she would like to continue acting and writing with an aim to create her own work and potentially start a theatre company.
Willa loves to dive into the unknown as well as challenge the familiar. She grew up on Dartmoor and has been a part of different local dance, music, and drama classes. She trained at Trinity Laban for three years in Contemporary Dance. There she became a founding member of MassHysteria Collective; a group of 12 female dance artists who challenge ourselves with shared curiosities and questions, making events, performances, and workshops. She is continuing her training at an intensive contemporary Dance course at Performact in Portugal. MED Theatre has played a big part in her personal and creative development and is excited to work with MED Theatre’s Moor Voices; a chance to collaborate with other artists. She is looking forward to returning to the rich devising process of MED Theatre and the honesty of its performances. She is excited to be working alongside members of the community and thinks it is going to be a fantastic project and is keen to start!
Linnea is currently working in the creative industry in London as a Textile Designer. She dances regularly and has danced since she was young; participating in Devon Youth Dance Company, as well as previous MED projects. She is passionate about performing arts and has been a huge influence in her life and development as an artist. She is originally from Devon and excited to be part of this project as she loves Dartmoor and the mythology it is connected with.
She hopes this project will further her investigation into cross disciplinary art which she aims to explore in her own practice going forward.
For the past 4 years Silas has been in and around Exeter doing numerous silly things. Until July 2017 he was studying A-Levels at Exeter College. Now having travelled for two years, working and ‘doing his own thing’, he has started a course in Geology at Durham University. Geology and creative arts; that can’t go together? Well, Silas thinks it does. These are is two areas of interest and has always believed that all subjects are complementary. For instance, his artistic interests have revolved a lot recently around Film, Theatre, Culture and the Environment. Particularly using performance as a medium to inform and explore different socio-environmental issues. This links perfectly into geology as the knowledge is transferable. We are intrinsically linked to our surroundings and the ground below our feet. Silas would like to explore this a lot more in the future. Aside from all this, he does just love the creative process and the capturing of an audience’s imagination. The Moor Voices project is not only going to propel and help the development of his own creative practice and knowledge base, but also that of everyone else in the community who gets involved or comes to watch. Very Exciting!
Jonny is a young creative who enjoys fusing together different practices such as dance, music and theatre, to create performance. Dartmoor has been his home since birth, it’s strong influences reside quite happily over his work. The landscape, folklore, past and present-day people offer so much in the way of imagination. To delve into the murky history of Dartmoor’s bronze age, particularly in a period focusing on sharing overdue stories of the different women that championed the past is hugely exciting. Previously, he has created his own work with the BBC, Arts Council England and the Exeter Phoenix, as well as performing as part of The Young Pretenders and Theatre Royal Plymouth. He is currently in pre-vocational training with the Centre of Advanced Training Graduate Scheme, The Prism Project and Chhaya Youth Company in preparation for some intense vocational dance training in the years ahead. MED Theatre’s community play ‘Whitehorse Hill 2016’ was his first experience as an actor, a healthy relationship with MED has since remained. Subsequent involvement with the composition and playing of music for annual community plays, as well as the enriching ‘Dartmoor Rivers’ project of last winter, has played a forceful part in the widening of his creative response to Dartmoor. He is thrilled to be working with the MED team in this new and exciting capacity!
Over the past two months we have been working with Puppetry Director Cariad Astles, to design, build and move a large scale puppet – inspired by the Greek whale goddess Ceto.
In Greek mythology Ceto was the daughter of Pontus and his mother Gaia. Ceto went onto bear a host of children, including Ladon (who guarded the tree upon which the golden apples grew) and the Hesperides. In the Moor Voices production the people of both Dartmoor and Exmoor worship Ceto and each year perform a human sacrifice to avenge the theft of the golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides by Heracles.
The design for the puppet is inspired by an image of the Inuit Goddess Sedna by Joan Relke – combining a human face with the body of a seal. Our design will bring together the body of a humpback whale, with large elegant fins and sweeping fluke, as well as an ethereal human face.
The making of the performance puppet will take place in May ready for rehearsals in June.