artworcs and a psychogeographical bike ride
>Last Thursday I travelled up to Worcester for a wake. Like all good wakes it was a cheerful affair, but it marked a passing.
In 2003 Sheila Farrell, Deborah Rees, Peter Wild and I set up an arts production company called artworcs. This was partly a reaction to the City Council cutting funding to the city’s producing theatre, The Swan, and partly a desire to create a company to produce cross-art form work utilising the professional talent based in and around Worcester.
Between 2003 and 2007 artworcs created a whole series of projects. These included Upside Down and Back to Front in 2005 (visual arts, education workshops and a newly commissioned play) and The Worcester Pilgrim (visual arts, early music and Alex Jones’ play of the same name performed in Worcester Cathedral). The company collaborated with many great artists and educators in all of these projects.
Although the team remain individually active in the arts, artworcs is now closed for business. We achieved a lot.
The wake was a great chance to catch up with Sheila, Deborah and Peter.
Photo: Charlie McCarthy, Paul Clarkson and Polly Lister in my play Upside Down and Back to Front (photo: Robert Day)
I was staying in the Midlands for the weekend’s 20/20 conference in Birmingham (I’ll write about that in the next few days).
Friday was an empty day, so I got on my bike and headed over Ankerdine to Herefordshire via the Bromyard Downs. This was a ride through my training grounds of 30 years ago. The rhythm of the landscape (slower than it used to be) and the unfolding map of my memory made it a special ride.
It’s not quite nostalgia – physical effort keeps you in the moment. But there’s a kind of muscle memory (not always accurate – I was caught out on some bends) that speaks the past through you. It makes me realise how little I know the area I now live in. It takes years to get the whole map in your head.