Performance Development – Part I

The Performance Development is based on the Warplands toolkit (particularly part 3c); a toolkit developed as a part of the Snows of Yesteryear’s Co-Investigator’s (Professor Mike Pearson) Warplands project.

Within the Toolkit there’s guidance to choose an autobiographical topic with personal resonance, to draw from personal experience and the historical record, to include texts of different kinds: letters; half-remembered stories and so on.

The Snows of Yesteryear project was invited to talk about the performance at the ‘Making it Real’ Active Ingredient event in London on the 20th November 2012.

So, as this is such a personal process, this is an extract written by the performers on their thought-processes up until the time of that meeting…


The performance will be a sibling duet between brother and sister, Roger Owen and Eddie Ladd (real name Gwenith Owen). As children, they lived on a farm and so it’s probable that the duet will concentrate on the countryside, rural experience of extreme weather. The two thought a lot about survival and persistence; the work is likely to last quite a time, though they have yet to consider the practical implications of this idea! What is “a long time”? Is it 2 hours? 2 days? Weeks? Months? They believe that the weather and climate has to leave its mark on the performance – they must consider the changing weather and the changing “weather of the body” as such. When running a marathon, for example, the body experiences physical changes after running 16 miles – when you hit ‘the wall’ when the body’s store of glycogen is empty. The challenge for the performers would be to consider the effects of fatigue, thirst, cold, wetness, heat and rest on the body. In addition there are psychological experiences which have yet to be considered. For example, one of the diaries we’ve received includes accounts of a farmwife waiting at home, on her own, for hours each day for her husband to return from the mountain slopes where he was trying to dig out sheep from underneath the snow. Her diary says of the greyness of the days and the loneliness; and worse, the lack of things to do.

Some resources that could be used in the performance include soil, bales, root vegetables, sugar, mild, wool and blood. Possible locations include a hay barn, a series of interconnected rooms, a series of separate venues or a chapel and its vestry.



One of the ‘Timestreams’ shown at the Making it Real event.

Each inflatable is connected to sensors which monitor sound levels and Carbon Dioxide levels; the objects inflate and deflate according to the volume and CO2 detected by the sensors.













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