Company of Wolves, Burn The Curtain, Durlston Country Park, Swanage – Saturday 23rd April
This event was supported by Activate (Artsreach, Arts Development Company, Durlston Country Park, Arts Council England)
The day before, I had an email from the mysterious ‘Grandma’ dropping a few hints about what might be in store. I still wasn’t sure what to expect.
I invited my partner to attend too. One of us was to be a runner (Hunter), the other a walker (Gatherer). We knew that we were to spend the evening exploring Durlston Country Park in the company of Burn The Curtain Theatre Company and there was a strong possibility that wolves would feature. And so, this was the introduction to Company of Wolves, a sassy, outdoor adaptation of the Angela Carter short story with Gothic undertones.
We were guided to a gathering point by following a path of revealing messages tied to tree branches and we soon converged with the rest of the audience in a wooded area where we waited expectantly, for a wedding to begin.
It wasn’t a typical wedding and before we knew it, we were immersed in the story and half of the congregation had run off in search the bride who never appeared and the remainder marched into the woods, hunting for clues that could explain the disappearance. Thus, an altogether curious scene was set, offering us an evening of adventure and discovery. What followed was a two and a half hour escapade, using the beautiful country park with breathtaking coastal scenery to full advantage.
There were a few moments when Hunters met Gatherers; most notably at the halfway point where both camps reunite and are warmed with hot chocolate. This gave an opportunity to talk and exchange clues and information. It becomes obvious that there has been something of a disparity in the stories each side have been exposed to. We were all left a little suspicious of some key characters as the remainder of the tale began to unravel…
Deep in the woods, dramatic encounters revealed crucial details to the walkers and Grandmother’s voice, floated from amongst the trees giving important encouragement and vital instructions about magical herbs. The runners took a different path where they fell prey to the dark side, but not before they had enjoyed a coastal sunset from Durlston’s highest point. As day turned into night, it really felt like we were enjoying a scene more enchanting than everyday park visitors get to experience. Burn The Curtain worked extremely hard to keep the energy and action well-paced throughout, ensuring the runners and walkers both had differing scenarios of equal value. Along the way we encountered a mix of non-conformist characters: Little Red Riding Hood (who had more in common with Tank Girl than a children’s book character) a half-crazed Duke and the esoteric Alice. All giving insights into why certain things, are the way they are!
As the tale concluded, the darkness was pierced by threatening wolf calls and a wonderful fire-filled finale unfolded where Hunters and Gatherers were reunited once more. On the evening I attended, a spectacular red moon illuminated us as the story closed, adding extra magic.
Samantha Gillingham, Activate’s Projects and Promotions Assistant has shared her production diary with us: Read it here
Burn The Curtain continues to tour the show: Delamere Forest, near Frodsham, Cheshire, CW8 2JD, May 5th, 6th, and 7th 2016
Tickets: www.boxoffice.forestry.gov.uk 03000 680 400
Burn The Curtain, are an innovative Devon based outdoor theatre company, who create fun and engaging outdoor promenade shows. Previous shows have included The Adventures of Don Quixote by Bicycle this highly successful show premiered as part of Exeter’s Ignite Festival and then went on tour around the UK and across the Channel to Brittany, winning a prize at the acclaimed Brighton Festival in 2013. They are well known for producing inventive shows where the audience become part of the story and the action!
With kind permission from Durlston Country Park, supported by Activate Performing Arts, Artsreach and The Arts Development Company, with Arts Council England funding.
TOTAL THEATRE ‘….beautifully crafted adventure theatre… like stepping inside the pages of the fairytale, or falling into a dark dream’
THE STAGE ‘Burn the Curtain have created a new and accessible theatrical experience’
BRIGHTON ARGUS ‘A spellbinding production’ – Argus Art Angel winner 2015
‘One beast and only one howls in the woods at night’
In a tiny village on the edge of the mountains, a young girl puts on her red shoes