Dreamtime drama has Dartmoor audience over the moon

One more performance of the drama, Brown Hare, by Manaton and East Dartmoor Theatre , will take place on Sunday 5th September 2010 at Heathercombe on Dartmoor.

Time stood still as young artists led a captive audience on a journey which began in a rowan copse on the edge of a Dartmoor hillside in their performance Brown Hare.  Described as “spell-binding” the piece used dance, music and text to fuse together elements of ecology and mythology about the intriguing and rarely seen  animal, creating a magical atmosphere at a site-specific location on Dartmoor.

Manaton and East Dartmoor (MED) Theatre’s ethos is to take inspiration from the ecology, history, folklore and communities of Dartmoor to create original dramatic work - the Brown Hare project, supported by the Dartmoor Sustainable Development Fund and Teignbridge District Council, exemplified this. Three professionals - a choreographer, a musician and a playwright - worked together to mentor six young artists through the collaborative process of creating a dance-drama performance with music that used the environment as inspiration and backdrop. The performance incorporated the mystery surrounding the symbol of the three hares that is still puzzling experts today, looking at its possible connections with the moon and the feminine, whilst at the same time interweaving ecological facts about the present decline of the brown hare on Dartmoor with mythology from China, Africa and Dartmoor itself.

This community theatre company is doing something very unusual, as the audience who congregated high on one of Dartmoor’s most awe-inspiring hills on Saturday 7th August discovered. “I have rarely been moved emotionally in that way” audience member Julia Oliver commented. “I could feel myself welling up. The way that the weather and environment combined with the dance, the music and the spoken word was unworldly; it was that unworldly-ness that accessed a spiritual dimension in me.” MED Theatre enables community members and young people to create artistic work of a unique quality by facilitating them to explore elements of their local environment through science and art, immersing themselves within it over a long developmental period. Many of the performers have been with MED Theatre from an early age, and grown up with a drama tradition that integrates the natural world with the human.

MED Theatre’s education branch to the project, funded by the Dartmoor National Park Authority, is a stand-alone workshop being disseminated to primary and secondary schools across Devon, that enables participants to create their own reactions to the ecological and mythological stimulus about the brown hare through, drama, storytelling and movement.

One more performance of this matchless drama will take place on Sunday 5th September 2010 at Heathercombe on Dartmoor.

To find out more about MED Theatre please visit www.medtheatre.co.uk

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