Theatre Volière at Marchland Arms

Published: 10 March 2019

Anglo-French company Theatre Volière is taking over one of London's historic pubs to present a weekend of works in progress inspired by a different European borderlands, looking at what it means to be European today.

Amongst those taking part are Scottish music specialist Lori Watson, British Poet Katie Hale, Greek singer and songwriter Savina Yannatou and Budapest born and now Norfolk-based playwright, librettist and poet George Szirtes.

The works are presented in three sessions that will be repeated across the weekend and The Marchland Arms audiences will be invited to give feedback on the pieces in development for the full Marchland Season which will take place next year. The sessions are:

Once and Future Europe

  • Lyonessea commissioned work from West Country poet and environmentalist Dom Bury, early music specialist Sophia Brumfitt, percussionist Dhevdhas Nair, and German theatre director Katharina Engel about the land that once stood between Cornwall and Brittany.
  • The Capital of Europe – an installation of treated sound, found objects and cut-up poetry by sound artist Charles Webber and Strasbourg-based poet Mick Wood addresses an ideal, unreal city on the Rhine.
  • Ionic – a fin de siècle café in Alexandria is the background for this new dance theatre piece based on the poetry of Constantin Cavafy by Savina Yannatou, composer and electric guitarist Alex Roth, Greek classical guitarist Nikos Baroutsakis and choreographer Janacek Wood.

Customs and Duty

  • Fritz and the Bohemian – this episode from the novel L’ami Fritz by Erckmann-Chatrian provides a tale of renewal and the kindness of strangers from 19th century Mitteleuropa adapted and performed by storyteller James Peacock and viola player Shiry Rashkovsky.
  • Before and After Schengen – a staged performance of George Szirtes's sequence of poems written in response to Spanish photographer Ignacio Evangelista’s After Schengen project.
  • Goethe in Alsace – a one-act play re-imagining the encounter between Goethe and pastor’s daughter Frederika Brion and an act of casual cruelty that will haunt him forever.

The Northern Marches

  • Gretna – this collaboration between Théâtre Volière, Katie Hale and Lori Watson explores the culture of the region around Gretna from the perspective of the women so often written out of its history.
  • The Meaningful Merse – a talk on the impact of shifts in ethnic and cultural identity on localised place names, folk memory and dialects of Europe’s border regions by the University of Glasgow's Dr Eila Williamson.
  • Lori Watson – a performance of folk music from the coasts and borders of Scotland using traditional music and found, ambient sound from Scottish music specialist Lori Watson.

The Marchland Arms takes place on 23 and 24 March at Ye Olde Mitre Pub, 1 Ely Court London EC1.

Sandra Giorgetti