2011: ‘The Great Rinsing’ at Wimborne’s Pump House
WCT was awarded an Arts Council ‘Grants for the Arts’ to develop a new theatre project at the Pump House, involving schools and community groups and developed in partnership with Sembcorp Bournemouth Water.
The project was developed through a series of workshops and rehearsals, led by Jonathan Petherbridge. To read about the creative journey, see WCT’s blog: www.wimpp.blogspot.com
Jonathan Petherbridge, Writer and Director of ‘The Great Rinsing’ writes:
“The first workshop was in December 2008. We explored memories of water, wrote a group poem, shared some images. It seems a long time ago, and at the time it seemed very tenuous. But a show about water in a town surrounded by rivers just seemed to feel right. And slowly, like tributaries feeding into a river, the pieces of the jigsaw have come together. For example Producer Gill Horitz not only found a pumping station but she found a pumping station run by people who wanted it used – and who have been incredibly kind and helpful.
So throughout 2009 we continued workshops – ideas and individuals came and offered up their time. Then just as we were starting to wonder if it would lead anywhere, Activate offered a small seed grant to continue the work, and then the Arts Council gave us a vote of confidence by agreeing a project grant. And other “re-sources” were attracted by the pilot show ‘Source’ which took place in one room of the Pump House in 2010, artists from Walford Mill, composer Karen Wimhurst and choreographer Lee Hart were drawn in and commissioned and they in turn brought in other artists, musicians and dancers to play with us.
In the early parts of 2011 we pulled together the strands of words and stories, images and fragments of ideas that the building had inspired. These were gathered on to a story board – some things fitted, others didn’t. Then I sat down to fill out the scenario and found myself writing, writing out the ideas that we had teased and tripped around for the previous year. Water as tool. Water as weapon. Water as political prize. Water as beauty. Like water the story flowed but slipped through the fingers.
Designer Pip Nash and I have been feeling our way into the mini-community that is Wimborne Community Theatre and have been honoured to work with such an experienced and brave group of artists. And it’s been great to see the core group joined by students from at least four different establishments, all open and up for the challenge. I think Dorset is very fortunate to have such an organisation.
At a time when theatre is fighting for funding, here we have a model of rooted and thoughtful theatre making where a little investment goes a long way.”
Gill Horitz, Creative Producer writes:
“Since WCT’s first show in the grounds of Kingston Lacy in 1991 we’ve searched out locations in East Dorset and beyond that lend themselves to our way of playful exploration, places such as Hambledon Hill, Knowlton Rings, Holt Forest, Pamphill, White Mill, Wimborne Minster, and many others.
Working with the architecture of the Pumphouse has been challenging, and we’re grateful to Peth for bringing his rigour and discipline to the strange process of realizing our imaginings about water and place.
Involving people of all ages in play-making is what we value, as well as working with experienced artists who stretch and stimulate us. And in turn we become artists in our own ways. Three of the artists in this event were involved as children in WCT’s first shows. Now in their late twenties, they return to make their own work.
The American writer, Alice Walker, said recently about her journey with the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza: ‘I see children, all children, as humanity’s most precious resource, because it will be to them that the care of the planet will always be left.’ This struck a chord with this environmental story, which focuses on two young people’s journey in search of water and how to value it in the world.
Over 70 artists and individuals joined The Great Rinsing team to form this temporary community with a common purpose.”
Writer and Director: Jonathan Petherbridge: www.londonbubble.org.uk
Designer and Visual Workshops: Pip Nash,
Musical Director: Karen Wimhurst: www.karenwimhurst.co.uk
Co-Director & Theatre practitioner: Tony Horitz: www.stateofplayarts.co.uk
Sound Design: Robert Hart: www.myspace.com/eatenbychildren
Sound Installation & Digital Processing: Adrian Newton: http://www.nemeton.org.uk
Movement Director: Lee Hart, : www.saltfactory.co.uk
Assistant Musical Director: Olly Keen: www.soundspecies.co.uk
Film & Projections: Dan Horitz: cargocollective.com/ipsofactory
Students from Allenbourn School: Year 5-8
Students from Oakmead College of Technology: Year 13
Students from Arts University College at Bournemouth
Wimborne Community Theatre members
Production Manager: John Camble
Design & Workshop Assistant: Caroline Parrott
Costume and Set Design & Realisation: Laura Davis, Louisa Fisher, Lois Sargent, Daisy Turner
Production Crew: Chloe Bannister, Jake Baker, Richard Nicholson
Lighting Equipment: P A’Court
Assistant to Producer: Paul Wilshaw
Tunnel Shrine Artists: Alison Board, Hazel Evans, Olivia Keith, Caroline Parrott, Clare Small
Choir: Anna Eckford, Mike Dawson, Tony Horitz, Victoria Pirie, Lynne Vipond, with Dave Arkell and Tuppy Hill
Musicians: Cara Bennett, Dan Horitz, Olly Keen, Harriet Russell
Creative Producer: Gill Horitz
‘Source’ was a pilot project at Wimborne’s Pump House, an evening of outpourings and distillations, featuring storytelling, movement, music, sound and song, set in part of this Victorian industrial building. The event was programmed as part of:
Sting in the Tail Festival www.stinginthetale.org.uk (August 29)
Dorset Architectural Heritage Week (September 11)
History of WCT
WCT was started in 1991 by community/educational theatre practitioners, Tony Horitz & Sharon Muiruri, (Bournemouth Theatre in Education) and writer and producer, Gill Horitz.
WCT was developed in partnership with Alan Wilson, (Director, East Dorset Heritage Trust) & educationalists and East Dorset residents, Jeff Hart and Barbara Hart.
Previous productions took place at:
- Kingston Lacy (1991,1992)
- Wimborne Minster (1993)
- Christchurch Priory (1994)
- Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum (1997)
- Knowlton Rings, Corn Market, Wimborne (VE Day)
- Wimborne Minster (Millennium Day)
- Dean’s Court,Wimborne.
- Allendale House (2001)
- Hambledon Hill (2002)
- Holt Forest (2004)
- White Mill (2005)
- Pamphill (2006)
- Allendale House. (200? And 2007)
WCT works in partnership with East Dorset Heritage Trust. Other partners have included: National Trust and English Nature
Comments about WCT
“It brings together all ages and backgrounds to work for a common goal which in turn must have the effect of bringing the community close by having something they can all be proud of. It also offers a theatrical experience to those who might not have the opportunity elsewhere, both for actors and audience.”
“It brings us all together – actors, audience & the place – & brings places to life”
“Gives a real feeling for and within the community both past and present.”
“It brings attention to buildings and places that might otherwise not be known to a majority of people.”
“Imagination, a mixture of age groups, variety, music, varied styles, simple use of costumes and props.”
“Special places like Hambledon Hill should be actively used by the community.”
“An opportunity for arts participation which is open to all – arts participation is inherently beneficial to individual s and groups – non-competitive, non-materialist, it promotes community and concentration on the things that really matter in live.”
“They help us see and feel that we are an integral part of the countryside around us; that we share in its past present and future. Arts activities seem to enable us to feel not just know it.”
“It gives people attending a unique insight into the history (and existence of!) unusual locations, plus it provides the youngsters involved in the production with a wonderful educative experience.”