Thursday, 9 December 2010

Pilgrimages & Riots.

An excellent session yesterday planning some schools workshops with Applied Theatre Level 2 in preparation for the outreach work that'll accompany The Canterbury Tales in the new year.

Working with Danielle the team had devised their own pilgrimage around the St Mary's campus, with stops at key sights, converted into taverns with wonderful pub signs. Earlier in the week each of us had been assigned a twentieth century job - weather girl, professional footballer, international DJ, plastic surgeon etc. and at each stop a few of us were selected to tell a story or sing a song in our pre-cast role. It was jovial, great good fun and, as we'd all taken time trouble to prepare, healthily competitive. Occasionally we met other students and asked them for stories, or songs. By the time we arrived to give thanks at our final destination, outside the chapel, we'd collected dozens. The work has wonderful potential and we're going to try and develop it in Hackney Schools with the Sutton House team. In two sessions we can tailor make and export a pilgrimage anywhere.

Meanwhile there was more trouble in central London where students and lecturers were picketing outside the Houses of Parliament in anticipation of the vote on tuition fees. For a couple of hours once again the streets were filled with violent clashes between police and protesters. The issue has certainly woken up the current generation of students to the possibility of taking direct action and for all the outcry and dismay there is a certain inevitability to the violence and criminal damage. London has periodically fallen to the mob and riots, particularly when those who perceive themselves to have little are threatened by those born into privilege and opportunity. These class struggles are very much a part of the capital's heritage.

As if to reinforce the point there was some amazing images of Prince Charles and Camilla under siege in their car as they made their way to the Royal variety performance. Perfumed, preened and corpulent they looked for all the world as if they'd stepped out of Hogarth lampoon. It felt as if we were momentarily back in the eighteenth century.

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