On Thursday our "Bricks in the Wall" project came to an end with a performance involving some 120 plus children from 3 local schools. Each day we have had 100 or more children in the audience largely due to local schools coming to watch. On Thursday we didn't have any schools coming but we still managed a healthy audience of about 60 adults. The performance starts with 4 pilgrims erecting a cross on Stag Hill just outside of Guildford as they muse about the idea of building a castle on the hill. We then jump forward to 1920/30's Guildford with the children creating scenes from that era. Silent Movies, The Jarrow Crusade and The Charleston dance to name a few. The idea of a Cathedral was in the air, although many shouted the idea down with money so scarce. The action then jumps to the 2nd World War as the children create images from Britain, the home guard, an all Women's workforce and Evacuees from London. In each era our pilgrims returned to muse over the idea of building a Cathedral. After the war the challenge again was money. Although the building had started before the war, there again was no impetus to continue the building. That was until an unlikely lady in a hatstepped forward and led a "buy a brick" Campaign. Elenora Iredale was her name and she seemed a quite formidable character. One of the children played her very well, in a hat, tweed suite and hand bag to boot. Finally in 1961 Guildford Cathedral had its commissioning service with children playing the Queen, her lady in waiting and Bishop Reindorp. The children performed a finale dance with Austin Powers style moves from the 60's, John Travolta hips in the 70's, The robot to Kraftwerk to represent the 80's, Britney in the 90's and Robbie Williams to usher in the millennium. Cathedrals don't get built everyday and Guildford was the first one to be built in the south for 500 years, so to be part of this celebration has been a privilage. It has also been interesting to work on a project in collaboration with a cathedral community, where I was part of a creative team to write the play and oversee its implementation. It really was a team effort involving schools, volunteers and even other Cathedrals ( Southwark provided the pilgrim costumes). Guildford will continue to celebrate their 50th birthday throughout 2011. Photos and comments of the project will follow and I hope to create a photo book of the project.
Next week my attention turns to the opening of Scene Change Theatre's play for 2011 called The King's Quest. The play looks at the history and impact of The King James version of the bible in this 400th anniversary year. We will open on Wednesday at Worcester Cathedral.