Dark Earth is Eastern Angles’ latest production in Peterborough. It’s a tale of love, treachery and ,er , drainage! There’s ice, fire, a hint of witchcraft, a crisis of faith, a defrocking and some very challenging bones. It all adds up to a thrilling night of theatre.
And the first night is a little over a week away!
Definitely time then, for the Eastern Angles production team to get on site. For this is no ordinary night at the theatre…
…this is is theatre at Flag Fen.
Here is how the site looked when I first arrived at 0930 on Wednesday. The Eastern Angles and Hansa crews had already been on site for some ninty minutes and were well into the build. At 9am they had been joined by some very special guests!
Flag Fen is a scheduled monument, a site where a 3,500 year old prehistoric causeway has been found wonderfully preserved in the peat, not far below the surface. (When you come and see the play you`ll understand how relevant a setting for Dark Earth Flag Fen is). It’s also home to the recently discovered Must Farm Bronze Age Log boats.
Not surprisingly tent pegs of any size are a big no no on a site such as this. So how do you secure a marquee then … ? 1 tonne water weights is the answer!
And you don’t fill 1 tonne water weights with a watering can (as I might feebly have suggested). Nope, a situation like that calls for the professionals, aka the fire brigade, and more specifically Red Watch, Dogsthorpe.
Within minutes of Red Watch sitting down for a well earned cup of tea post job, `a shout` comes in over the radio and they were off, blues flashing.
Back on site with the water weights now full and in place the task of erecting the main marquee which will become a temporary theatre for the next two and a half weeks fell to Chris and the team from Hansa.
Meanwhile the Eastern Angles team were busy sourcing electricity from a tree! The company production team truly deserve their reputation for magicing stuff out of nothing!
Six hours later the site was beginning to take shape…
and the focus now shifts to inside the tents for the next few days. There’s still an awful lot to be done to create ‘the fen within the fen’ ….
Dark Earth opens on Thursday 12 September and runs until Sunday 22 September. More details and booking information can be found here. The show is directed by Naomi Jones and designed by Nicky Bunch and is performed by a 34 strong community cast.
Want to read more about Dark Earth?
Naomi Jones blog on Guardian Professional can be read here
Cast member Emma Goldberg’s blog How the Professionals Do It is here
Platform Peterborough Coordinator Keely Mills blogs about Dark Earth here
Watch Naomi Jones talk about the project here
Writer Forbes Bramble talks about the project here
My blog on the development weekend for Dark Earth is here