/ The Forest Project

Deer Park, 2005












The Forest Project consists of a three hour guided walk through the forest at dusk. The act of walking in a group, from lightness into darkness and within the gentle parameters set out by the artists constructs community and ritual. These parameters playfully engage with the notion of a constructed ritual that is inherent within the transitory nature of the walk: from lightness to darkness, from city/town to forest, from one season into another. The performance reflects upon this twilight zone by playfully introducing some thoughts on the concept of the uncanny, which to a large degree functions as a framework for the walk. The participants are introduced to the German origin of the concept of unheimlich (uncanny) and its opposite heimlich (homely) in relation to the forest and the abode. By unsettling the romantic poetics of the forest as a place of the un-homely and the house as a place of the homely, it destabelizes our received notions of what is homely. At the same time the performance walk offers itself as a passage from the un-homely to the homely that lies within the ritual powers of walking, communion and performance itself.

Devised and performed with Joanna Brown, Neil Callaghan, Antoine Fraval, Simone Kenyon, Mary Southcott.

Commissioned by Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster. Produced with funding from Arnolfini’s We Live Here commission. Developed with support from Grizedale Forestry Commission.