Jenny Beare performed in and around Cornwall spreading her story of The Walk Home, accompanied by live music by Jamie Crowe as part of Kneehigh’s Random Acts of Art. Here Jenny chats to Helen Mallett, Communications Placement Intern from Plymouth Conservatoire, all about her experience.
“Anna Maria Murphy wrote a story a few years ago for the Walk With Me story walk app called The Walk Home about the relationship between small villages and towns throughout Cornwall that sit very close to each other along ancient coasts. These old rivalries often started with pilchard fishing fall-outs hundreds of years ago.
I fell in love with this story and felt it needed sharing for the Random Acts of Art project. It’s essentially a love-against-all-the-odds sort of story and what better way to connect with people behind closed doors during a global pandemic than to drop a handwritten (by the beautifully talented Maya) love letter through their letterbox engaging their interest and enticing them to look out of their windows for a lovelorn Gorran girl looking for her Meva boy at dusk on a cool spring night.
To help create a random ‘event’ on the night I felt I needed a sign that something was about to happen; a kind of banner or flag, you know the kind of thing when a local history guide holds an umbrella up to lead the group! The line ‘as the crow flies’ is repeated twice in the story so in true Kneehigh style a fantastic crow puppet was made for me by the incredibly talented designer-maker Alice King complete with wonderfully flapping wings. This charming crow now has its own fan club!
The Walk Home is a great story to perform and I think is written with a live audience in mind. I wanted music to accompany the performance and it was Jamie Crowe’s idea to use live music rather than recorded which lifted the whole thing.
The good people of Mevagissey, Portmellon and Gorran along with most of the country have been starved of live performance of any kind for many many months so the feedback we received on the night and afterwards on social media was amazingly supportive and generous. Also, because the story was written about Mevagissey and Gorran to perform it in situ on a dusky late March night, on a high tide, surrounded by fishing gear with gulls screeching overhead was an absolute privilege.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Kneehigh for giving me the opportunity and unending support, to the Random Acts family for their love and kindness, to the wonderful and willing residents of Meva, Portmellon and Gorran and of course to my musical composer, Jamie, for writing a beautiful song to accompany a beautiful story. “