Friday, 15 May 2009

Plotting in Putney

Went to have supper with Tina, and some of her talented family over in Putney yesterday evening. It was a lovely meal in great company, but also gave us a chance to throw around some thoughts about how we might be involved with the re opening of Strawberry Hill house in eighteen months time.

A chance conversation over lunch a week or so ago made it apparent that Tina and I had both seen the opportunity looming in the future - but had then gone off to work on it in different ways.

Tina began to make artistic plans and her brother Tony set to work creating a working draft for shadows and puppets of Horace Walpole's impenetrable Castle of Otranto. Meanwhile I'd headed straight off to meet the trustees of the project to find out what logistically could be achieved - the When? What? Is there any funding? approach.

It feels as though there might be a fit and possibilities for collaboration. It was interesting to find that Tina's niece Amy, who runs Artburst in East London felt that she worked in a similar way to me in order to get things done; whereas I felt a little fraudulent that I had little creative to bring to the table other than a commitment from the trust to allow us to intervene with project work to support the reopening. Still there was much common ground and it feels as though we could pitch for two projects. Could the ghost of Walpole tell the story of Otranto in the very rooms in which it was written? Could we create a legacy of work that might support the education officer who'll start early next year? I'm also keen to do a larger, more participatory community show in May 2011 with St Mary's students co-ordinating and structuring the work.

The evening ended with us sitting round laughing at short excerpts from Walpole's beautifully poised letters and biography. It could all be very exciting.

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