Rebecca McCutcheon

Director theatre & site specific performance


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Til We Meet in England 2017

Some of you will know about or maybe saw the pop up of Til We Meet in England at last year’s Peckham Festival. I’m really excited that we’ll be returning to Safehouse to stage this in a full run later this year, and we’ve just started a Crowdfund Campaign to support the project. The project will launch Lost Text/Found Space as a Peckham-based theatre company, making work for the local and London-wide community, and will be a landmark for Safehouse too, as it will be the first full run of a production, and so will put the location as well as us on the map.
Our work is truly unique, offering innovative approaches to staging remarkable lost texts.

Til We Meet In England:
A family discover their son is missing, possibly murdered by sectarian forces. They prepare themselves to flee, but are surrounded by a blood-hungry mob. How can human values persist when humanitarian beliefs are flung aside?

Working with Elizabeth Inchbald’s extraordinary lost tragedy, The Massacre, experiences of persecution, displacement and mob violence are explored resonating with Britain’s contemporary refugee crisis and the rise of fascism across Europe. Through examining and responding to The Massacre and its themes in Safe House in Peckham, we create an intimate experience which brings you face to face with the world of persecution and panic, loss and longing for home.

Til We Meet in England is our first full-length run – we’ve made sell-out pop up versions of this amazing piece; we now want to reach a bigger audience and have a wider impact. Our Crowdfund Campaign will help us to make the project accessible and inclusive of as wide a local audience as we can, helping us to connect to young people and local communities through workshops and events.

Please check out the campaign video below, and support us by pledging for one of the rewards, and help to make this wonderful project happen:
Please do pledge and share


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Til We Meet in England – Scratch

tricastinIn September 2016 I directed scratch performances of ‘Til We Meet in England’, at Safe House in Peckham as part of the Peckham Festival, merging text-based performance with site, movement and installation. Til We Meet in England’s starting point was the coming together of Elizabeth Inchbald’s tragedy, The Massacre, with the intimate domestic, near derelict site of Safe House.

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The Massacre is a remarkable text written by Inchbald in response to sectarian intolerance in the French Revolution, which has much to offer today. This text, and its engagement with experiences of displacement across Europe, resonates with current experience, and also highlights a long view, in which such movement across the continent has been a familiar and recurring event. Inchbald depicts her persecuted family, the Tricastin’s, with great humanity and empathy, a valuable voice to hear today, and she is explicit in placing England as a place of humanitarian refuge.

 

 

Working in Safe House with this text, the themes of seeking ‘home’, of finding sanctuary, of the precariousness of life and of the value of sharing all became strongly present for audiences, as we share the same intimate space as performers, and make a journey exteriorwith them.

Safe House is a tiny, domestic house which has reached a point of near-total dereliction. Quoting Tadeusz Kantor’s landmark ‘Odysseus Returns’, this house as a setting interacts with the text of The Massacre, through performance, encounters with characters, with music, with fragments of installations and recorded audio from recent British political life.

The intimacy of the space, as a home which hgatheredas become unhomely, works compellingly with the plays’ themes. The piece gathered momentum as sections of Inchbald’s depiction of an emerging fascist leader were performed, at which point the audience members are put in role as fellow mob members in the claustrophobic space of the living room. Here audiences became physically involved with the action as they wish to be, and are (more significantly) all ‘active participants’ in that they are called on to consider both the moral questions in play, and at the same time to encounter with empathy the characters who are caught in the drama.

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It was thrilling to find all of the performances sold out and I’d like to thank Sydney and the whole Peckham Festival team for making the work happen. We plan to bring the performance back in a longer run, in 2017, and are seeking funding and partnerships to make that happen. If you would like to be involved or support the project, please see our Crowdfunder page to support this extraordinary project and find the kinds of rewards and events you can be part of as a supporter.


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Mob-handed – research & development for The Massacre

Mob-handed – the crowd as character – Workshop 12th March

IMG_1204 In our second workshop at the Jerwood Space, we explored our text within the context of its claustrophobia, its sense of urgency, and more than anything, its sense of shared experience. A walk-through, on our feet, in which no-one in the space was a mere observer. All of us, whether portaying a character or acting as witness to the action, were required to be involved in the action, and there was no concept of being ‘outside’ of it.

This work led on from the previous week in which we had read the text through for the first time, complete with the author’s extremely detailed stage directions to performers. This is an 18th century ‘lost’ text, an attempt at writing about state atrocity, violence and trauma which was itself suppressed from public performance. The text invites many layers of response and interrogation: its relationship to terrible historical events (patchy, hearsay, yet containing moments of reported ‘truth’), its negotiation of how and whether to represent violence and atrocity, placing violence off-stage, but summoning it with an increasing intensity. Its ultimate silence in the face of trauma, its denial of a voice to perpetrators.
This is just the start of the journey with this text, but the impact of this evening’s active reading was marked. This is a text about atrocity that summons and acts upon the violence it seeks to condemn. It contains sparks of contagion, it works with extra-textual qualities – sounds, atmospheres, and most of all, the increasing sense of the approach of the mob. Among many of the insights from tonight’s reading is the way in which the material – the reporting of horror, the need to verify its status as eyewitness account and not lurid imaginings – places this as a play in dialogue with much contemporary theatre and visual art works which attempt to negotiate the difficult, disputed terrain of how to represent that which, it has been argued by many, is unrepresentable.

IMG_1248Another stand out moment, developed through the urgency of the writing and emerging through the shared storytelling, was a sense of the mob as a character. This is a play which attempts to warn of the dangers of unthinking group violence, of the labeling of the other as evil or less than human. In doing so it conjures up a disturbing presence – that of the mob itself. Felt as a live presence in the space, its contagious affect tangible to me, I sense the power of the journey this text is taking us upon, its importance and also how very disturbing it is. This is a deeply ethical, important text for today.

 


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A Testimony and a Silence at Dilston Grove

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May 2014 – a site-specific performance piece in Dilston Grove in Southwark Park. Dilston Grove is an arts space and former church in which the rarely-performed play, The Massacre by Elizabeth Inchbald, was explored. The play is extraordinary and prescient, a discussion of the tragedy of genocide, written by Inchbald during the French Revolution. It is a play whose tense relationship to terror and to violence, and to human values of respect and humanity, found rich ground in the association of meanings generated by Dilston’s craggy, evocative spaces.