The Unearth Project
What are the stories about your community that lie just under the surface? Do you know about local events in the past or about any of the characters that lived in the same streets where you live now? When we go to the cinema or theatre we watch stories about the rest of the world. What has been unique for audiences at the Unearth shows is that they have watched stories about the place where they live – a rare experience.
For the last two years, history enthusiasts and volunteers from eight rural communities have been busy unearthing their local stories to share with a creative team from Devon’s rural touring scheme, Villages in Action. Playwrite, Lucy Bell, folk musician Jim Causley, sculptor Peter Margerum, actors Charlie Coldfield and Kirsty Cox plus media artist Kate Green have weaved together local stories, happenings and events to create a multi-media performance in each community.
Sharing stories through song, drama, archive photos, soundscapes, sculpture and visuals is a great way to breath life into local, often forgotten tales. Here we share content from each of the eight shows. Each show has a main character at its core, their life shared via a series of fictitious letters, written by Lucy Bell, that chart events across the decades.
We hear about the trials and tribulations of many other characters through their missives too. Songs crafted by Jim Causley convey tales in a traditional folk song format. A variety of artwork created by Peter Margerum illustrate characters in each story and archive photos projected during each show have provided an opportunity for many in each community to see images of their predecessors, sometimes for the first time.
Audience members have been gripped by the stories conveyed, often moved by the lives and circumstances of people who have gone before them.