Residents of Portsmouth are getting creative this month as they join professional actors on stage in a new production by Forest Forge Theatre Company, all about the English garden.
Forest Forge, a professional theatre company, based in Hampshire have commissioned playwright Dinos Aristidou to write Bloom, a new production to celebrate English life in the garden and the story of one family over 100 years. The story centres around Emily Langley, who has mysteriously inherited an English garden which is watched over by a guerilla gardener who doesn’t share her views on how it should look.
As you would expect from this innovative small-scale theatre company, the audience will be fully involved as they enter the venue to walk round the garden, engaging in the action including helping “build” the garden, take part in English folk dances and being immersed in the experience.
Writer Dinos Aristidou says: “Forest Forge is taking an original approach to theatre and I’m very happy to be part of what I think will be an exciting process of discovery and theatre-making.”
Director Kirstie Davis added: “It’s a promenade, interactive production with lots and lots of audience participation. We’ll be transforming small arts and community centres and holding strange events within communities to really encourage audiences to engage with this style of presentation not usually seen in rural areas. Audiences should keep a look out for garden gnomes and enormous plants coming to venues soon!”
The company is working with local community groups over the course of the project, with members helping to create parts of the set and performing songs and dance alongside the professional actors. The groups involved are as diverse as a zumba exercise class, a judo club, youth theatres knitting circles and even Portsmouth bicycle recycling centre.