What is “un-named”?

Un-named is our latest project. The six cast members have worked together for a year under the guidance of artistic director Bella Stewart. These are some of the performers’ thoughts and feelings about the work.

The cast of in situ:'s un-named

What’s the topic of Un-named?

“We started by broadly looking at the topic of ‘feral children’ – children raised in the wild, such as the Wild Boy of Aveyron. But the exciting thing is how the piece has evolved into something much wider.

We now cover themes such as; ‘abandonment’ and what effect that could have on a child’s development; children raised under unusual circumstances such as in foundling hospitals; language and what it means to be without it; the juxtaposition of two worlds, the ‘wild’ and the ‘civilised’; the implications of ‘feral’, socially and culturally,

Rachel Duthie in in situ:'s un-named

This thematic development has happened through our thoughts, our discussions, our accumulation of understanding and meaning. In particular, at the start of every class we hold a ‘Quaker’ meeting, where we bring ideas, experiences, music, website links, source material from different directions. Then, in the class, we ‘devise’ dramatic pieces, creative responses to what we have heard and learned.

What do you do when you ‘devise’?

“Led by Bella, we take a stimulus – such as reading ‘The Jungle Book’ – and produce solo pieces using objects, voice, movement, or any combination.

Maxine Fay and Rachel Duthie in in situ:'s un-named

We then work with others in the group to create a collective piece. We put ideas into the pot and mix it all together – often not knowing exactly what we’re doing, often laughing – until we see what plops out the other end. Whether that’s good, bad or indifferent. It’s always original.

Cyrus Pundole in in situ:'s un-named

One particular stimulus was a visit from Lydia. Born in the 1930’s, she was given by her mother – who had been abandoned by her partner – to the Foundling Hospital, in Bloomsbury [founded by Thomas Coram in 1739, now The Foundling Museum]. Bloomsbury. Lydia spoke to us very movingly about her experience of coming to terms with being a foundling. We didn’t replicate her story directly, but instead ‘devised’ a scene in response to her emotion and to our own.

What’s it like to develop a theatre piece outdoors?

“Working at Wandlebury is wonderful – energising and creatively stimulating yet utterly relaxing. We work there from Easter onwards as the weather gets warmer – though it would be lovely to work there for the whole year.

in situ: un-named

Wandlebury gives us so much – open spaces, trees, walls and mysterious doors – to bounce off creatively as we develop the performance. The Park looks different each time we visit, and it’s lovely to work in an environment that evolves with the seasons; it expands our entire experience.

We also feel that working outdoors is a completely different experience for the audience. We’re trying to take them inside the mind of a feral human, or a foundling all alone, abandoned; Wandlebury is perfect for creating what that might be like… it’s a wild space with a distinct urban edge.”

Cyrus Pundole in in situ:'s un-named

What was the hardest challenge in the project?

“It was hard to… imagine what it is like to be without language… retrieve for performance elements we formed nearly a year ago… gather in the best bits of what we have done… put together so many diverse elements for the production… listen to some of the very moving stories we were told… do those stories justice.”

Maxine Fay, Silvano Squizatto and Rachel Thilwind in situ:'s un-named

What were the best bits?

“Using a different part of my brain than in other areas of my life… realising how one’s own experience in the early years can have such a dramatic impact on who one is… rehearsing outside… devising… the creative process… Lydia’s story… creating whole group movement pieces in response to Lydia’s story… working with the other performers. Hopefully, the best bit will be actually performing the piece!”

Mat Wollerton in in situ:'s un-named

Why should people come to see Un-named?

Because we’ve taken core ideas, added individual inspiration, brought everything together “in collaboration, and created something that makes you think about the boundaries of tolerance, resilience and the human spirit.”

Rachel Thilwind and Silvano Squizatto in situ: un-named

These were the (lightly edited) words of: Cyrus Pundole, Mat Wollerton, Maxine Fay, Rachael Duthie, Rachel Thilwind, Silvano Squizzato.

Buy tickets for summer 2014

Our 2014 summer season gets underway in just over two weeks and tickets are available now. We will be performing four shows at two popular Cambridge venues in June and July.

If This Rock Floats… We’ll Live Forever

in situ: actors bound together

We begin with an exploration of creation mythology in If This Rock Floats… We’ll Live Forever in the open air at Wandlebury Country Park.

There are three performances from 12 June to 14 June and tickets are £10 (£8 concessions).

The Decameron

in situ: actors illuminated by candlelight

We move across the city to The Leper Chapel on Newmarket Road (opposite Cambridge United FC) for The Decameron. Giovanni Boccaccio’s collection of stories told by a group of well-to-do young people fleeing The Black Death illuminates life in 14th Century Florence and influenced many subsequent writers.

Performances run from Wednesday 25 June to Saturday 28 June and tickets are £12 (£10 concessions).

The Canterbury Tales

in situ:'s Canterbury Tales cast pictured inside The Leper Chapel

Geoffrey Chaucer was one of many inspired by Boccaccio and it is with The Canterbury Tales that we return to The Leper Chapel from Wednesday 9 July to Saturday 12 July. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions).

Ghost Stories

in situ:'s Richard Spaul in full Ghost Story-telling regalia

The Leper Chapel again plays host to Ghost Stories, in which Richard Spaul presents a mix of supernatural storytelling and song. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions).

The Merry Morning of May

The Merry Morning of May

The Calendar Project continues with The Merry Morning of May, which returns to Wandlebury Country Park for two performances.

The Merry Morning of May is the second part of The Calendar Project, following December’s highly successful performances of MidWinter Light. Once again, the magical environment of Wandlebury Orchard and the Inner Ring provide our setting.

Join us as we cut our capers into the Spring dusk in The Merry Morning of May.

Dates: Friday 2 – Saturday 3 May 2014
Venue: Wandlebury Country Park, Cambridge | Map
Time: 7:30pm – running time 95 minutes approx. Suitable for 16+

The Merry Morning of May

Where are the young men that here now should dance,
For summer is acome unto day,
Some they are in England some they are in France,
In the merry morning of May
Where are the maidens that here now should sing,
For summer is acome unto day,
They are in the meadows the flowers gathering,
In the merry morning of May
– From the Padstow ‘May Song’ (traditional)

May is the herald of the warm months of plenty and light, and the beginning of May – the Merry Morning of May – is a rush of energy and joy. It carries us out of Winter on a great wave of colour, movement, sound, play, – and sometimes mysterious, opaque rites and ceremonies…

For people living off the land, or in dark and squalid towns, without heating, without electricity, without ready access to a variety of food, the first flourish of Summer was a release from the constraints of living indoors through the darkness, cold and deprivation of Winter.

In towns and in the countryside, new greenery was fetched in from the woods and fields. People set up bowers outside, where they could cavort all through warm nights.

They danced – with or without garlands of flowers, hoops, ribbons, bright costumes and bells.

The energetic reappearance of animal life infects everyone and there are hobby horses, people dressed as animals, people dressed as trees. The Merry Morning of May is populated with Lords of Misrule, May Queens, Jack-in-the-Green. The absurd and the stately are side-by-side.

The wild energy of hobby horses, the animal masks and abounding greenery has infused imaginations with ideas of pagan sacrifice, fertility rites, animal and vegetation spirits. The Merry Morning of May still evokes desires for a long past, for old beliefs to linger, for something always to remain, for mystery in the familiar and for things not to be lost to us…

As a celebration of a sort of freedom, people still take to the streets, and the beginning of May has been marked in our own time with protests and unrest. People are masked and disguised – sometimes they are driven back and silenced, sometimes they break through the barriers.

in situ:’s brand-new piece takes this exuberant history of celebration and misrule, and fuses it with their own unique aesthetic and energy.

The Calendar Project

The Calendar Project is an ambitious cycle of performances that follows the changing of the seasons.

The cycle of the year, with its light and dark halves, and the points where one turns towards the other, or where both are held in equilibrium – these are transformations around which we have built notions of time and change, continuity and eternity, journey and return.

Over three performances – Midwinter, Spring and Autumn – the company creates a response to these changes, to our place within them, to the things done over time to mark them.

Performance, in all its forms, has always been at the heart of these markings.

The Merry Morning of May is the second performance in the Calendar Project cycle.