Cultural Capital in Telling Tales: 'Responsive' Play Scripts and Palimpsests

Helen Newall, Matt Baker (Composer), Russ Tunney (Director)

    Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


    Cultural Capital in Telling Tales (CCITT) is a two-phase investigation by Theatre in the Quarter (TiQ), Chester, into the creation and production of plays responsive to and rooted in community reminiscence and/or folklore, while appealing to general audiences. TiQ creative team: Newall (writer; lyricist), Matt Baker (composer), Russ Tunney (director). Newall’s playscripts respond to practitioner/ theorist Mike Pearson’s critical investigations of traces in the landscape of ‘complex articulations of history and place’ (Pearson & Shanks Theatre/Archaeology, 2001: 39). CCITT scripts explore place, inhabitants and histories discursively and offer findings in fictions that tell truths. Rooted within named places, Newall approached project research as for ‘site-specific’ artefacts. The production phase saw the realisation of responsive scripts in bespoke performances articulating community concerns around local history (disappearing landscapes; memories and aspirations) and interest in national events (London Olympics 2012). Community participation was paramount: scripts included local choirs as chorus, and the Forgotten Fortress tour included villages closest to historic hillforts on Cheshire’s Sandstone Ridge. Productions toured subsequently across Cheshire and Lancashire; Liverpool Anglican Cathedral; Hampton Court Palace; and Chester Racecourse (attendance: 20,000). Research questions: 1. How might relationships between a palimpsestic landscape/cityscape and its current inhabitants be imagined in ‘responsive’ playscripts? 2. In what ways might local participants, audiences, theatre artists and members of the general public benefit from a programme of participatory community theatre projects arising from this investigation? Insights: Phase 1: Responsive scripts foreground archetypes and narrative repetitions, enabling communication of research insights into past-in-present Artists must prioritise critical and creative imperatives, while responding to diverse funders and participants (IFTR, 2011)) Phase 2: Responsive scripts enable production models to accommodate diverse – even contradictory - needs of professionals and amateurs, and create popular forms aesthetically challenging to audiences. Scripts include: Silent Night (2008) Home for Christmas (2009) Forgotten Fortress (2010) James & A Jacobean Christmas (2010) Giants Opera (incorporating Across the World) (2012)
    Original languageEnglish
    Media of outputOther
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    EventTheatre in the Quarter plays - , United Kingdom
    Duration: 1 Jan 2008 → …


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