We have established an on-going collaboration with Changeling Productions, a theatre company who specialise in performances outside theatres, and have an excellent track-record for community engagement, particularly in areas of social and economic deprivation. In the year 2013/14, Changeling Productions delivered music and theatre workshops in County Durham, exploring Homeric poetry. These were designed to test the hypothesis that imagining the author is an effective means of establishing a personal relationship with the text.
Changeling Productions adopted a three-pronged approach, offering sessions not only in local schools, but also addressing members of the public through street performances, and setting up workshops in a local library and in the Spennymoor Vacant Shop, managed by Creative Communities.
We are currently exploring the possibility of using the materials generated to create a theatre piece for two professional actors and members of the local community. As currently envisaged, one actor will play the part of a rhapsode arriving in Durham, determined to perform Homer’s Odyssey; the other will act as an interjecting member of the audience, demanding to know who this great Homer was, and offering his own (locally inflected) conjectures.