Rob Mennear and Suzie West took Anna Maria Murphy’s story of ’11 doors , a story of dirt and washing’ and created a beautiful story through dance and music. Popping up around Charlestown, they incorporated a curious door, washing line and various other props… all coming together to create a dance piece of sheer joy. Helen Mallett, Communications Placement Intern from Plymouth Conservatoire, chatted to them about their wonderful project.
“When we started this project, we were unsure how the random act would feel, returning to the same locations each week. It has actually meant that we have built a community around the random act, with residents coming to see us each week, and telling their neighbours. Not only have we entertained the visitors to Charlestown, we’ve been able to provide some magic to families in the park, individuals living on their own, hikers and dog walkers and group of young friends.
Rob’s family are from Charlestown. In fact his Grandads ship mast is used to prop up the entrance to the Rashliegh. We wanted to find a story that connected Rob to his ancestral roots. Something about the people that lived there. Anna’s story of 11 Doors was perfect and that was our starting point. We just loved the generosity and kindness that sailor and Eliza find in their friendship. It’s a story of rewriting yourself. Very apt. “
How did you get involved this project? – “Last year, in early lockdown we both decided to bring a little dancing and social experience to our village in Grampound Road. For 6 weeks, every Friday, we danced in all the streets, bus stops and cul-de-sacs. It proved very popular and well timed for our fellow villagers and we have been commissioned for many similar pop up hyper local performances since. When Anna invited us to produce one for Charlestown we couldn’t resist. “
Can you describe the creative process? – “We always think BIG. The project started with music making, lights flashing, 11 Doors of wonder. We worked to the possibility of village and the community response to the project in order to refine our ideas. A door on wheels that we can perform. A door installation that will build people’s curiosity, made from what we had. That bit was important. Eliza in our story is resourceful. As is Cornwall. We are good with what we have. We find new possibility in the smallest of gestures. One persons tin bath is another persons heaven!”
What has it been like working on Random Acts Of Art? – “It has been so special working with Kneehigh. For freelancers like us, it’s a rare occasion that we can work within a team. It’s even rarer that we can work with specialists in their field to form music, set and capture the event. It’s been a real luxury! These random acts have also been a way for many artists across Cornwall to be part of something together, which again has felt joyous- and a little mischievous, like a band of random acts bandits!! “