UP THE LINE 2011 MARGATE PRESS RELEASE & PROPOSAL

UNIQUE LIVE PERFORMANCE EVENT TO TAKE PLACE IN MARGATE CEMETERY AS PART OF REMEMBRANCE

New and traditional art forms meet in an exploration of conflict, war and human tolerance

This November 10th, the eve of remembrance day, a unique multi-disciplinary performance event will take place in the atmospheric setting of Margate’s St John’s Cemetery.

The free event, called ‘Up the Line’, will bring together new media and traditional art forms in an exploration of attitudes towards conflict, war and human tolerance.

Audience members will enter the Cemetery as darkness falls and follow softly lit footpaths around the beautiful burial ground, passing graves and memorials, to encounter a series of short live performances, spanning classical music, contemporary dance, film and poetry

The event is curated and produced by live performance micro-events company Platform-7 and follows critically acclaimed ‘Up the Line’ events in 2010 and 2009. Artists involved include Scottish experimental piper Duncan Menzies; the Colchester-based Dead Rat Orchestra; British pianist Julian Jacobson; French dancer and choreographer Keren’Or with her Maaikor dance company; and London-based film maker Kai Clear in the company of actor Harry Vendryes, with the poetry curated by Isabel White.

John McKiernan, Curator, Platform-7, commented:

“The feedback Platform-7 received from previous ‘Up The Line’ events really inspires the artists and crew to excel even further in creating a truly beautiful, sober, fascinating and respectful event that remains in the memory of the audience way beyond the evening itself.”

AUDIENCE INFORMATION

‘Up the Line’– Margate’s St John’s Cemetery, Manston Road – 10th November 2011
• Entry is free and can take place at any time between 6.50pm and 8.00pm
• Access is via the pedestrian gate (second gate from Crematorium enterance), Manston Road
• The walk lasts approximately 50 minutes
• The audience is advised to wear appropriate footwear for uneven and wet paths, bring torches and dress appropriately for an outdoor autumn event.
• This event is wheelchair and pram accessible.

How to get there:
• Margate, St John’s Cemetery, Manston Road, Margate, Kent, CT9 4LY
• Manston Road is located off the Ramsgate Road (A254) 1 minute drive from the QE Queen Mother Hospital
• The nearest train station is Margate (approx. 3 miles and a short taxi ride away).
• Available bus routes: The Thanet Loop to Victoria Lights and a 10 minuite walk

ENDS

For further information and images contact:
John McKiernan on johnm@platform-7.com or 07808 808 704
Further Event information http://www.platform-7.com/remembrance
Further Company Information: http://www.platform-7.com

Design: Daniel Crawford, Type&Numbers

NOTES TO EDITORS

PLATFORM-7
Platform-7 is a micro events company that creates live performance in public space that we see as blank canvas for artists to create and communicate original and challenging work that encourages audiences to notice things they see everyday.

The company was founded in 2011 combining 18 years of experience of mounting interdisciplinary arts events in a community environment and championing new and emerging artists and artforms in a variety of media. For further information please visit: http://www.platform-7.com

FRIENDS OF MARGATE CEMETERY
The Friends of Margate Cemetery Trust Volunteers, those many Friends who have voluntary given of their time, expertise, knowledge and manual effort during the past 10 years.
Our cemetery is now such a beautiful, calm, place to sit and contemplate the past – for those who have lost loved ones, and those who just enjoy watching and listening to the abundant wildlife.
The work of the Friends has enabled more research to be carried out, that information has been passed on to those who have visited the cemetery on our Graveside Tours. These Tours have brought to life the often forgotten human aspect – beneath each gravestone lie people who knew and saw, a very different Margate to the one we now know. We hope they would be glad of our efforts to maintain the cemetery as it was intended.
Now, a tranquil area allowing visitors the peace to put their problems into perspective; and allowing all, the space and vision to enable feeling at one with nature and to leave the cemetery feeling calm and relaxed.

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT ‘UP THE LINE’
In 2009, Harry Patch, the last British person to witness the WWI conflict at first hand, died aged 111. Passing no judgment on the validity of the conflict, Harry spoke without rancour of the suffering endured on all sides. This prompted many to consider their own view of conflict. With his passing, the nation lost a vital source of personal memory. This year we have seen war, civil unrest and uncertainty in the UK and across the World. The power of the first hand storyteller is one of the most important aspects of human evolution. When highly significant personalities such as Mr Patch are no longer with us, it becomes imperative that other, inspirational ways of passing on significant events are found.

Up the Line 2011 is a live event encouraging people to consider why individuals hold the opinions they do on the subject of conflict and war. After darkness falls on 13th November 2011 at Brompton Cemetery in West London, a live audience will follow a softly lit footpath past specific graves and monuments, encountering a series of short performances: interactive multimedia, classical music, contemporary dance, film and poetry. Each performance will last approximately 3 minutes, with time between each allowing for deep reflection on the audience’s own and others’ understanding and experiences of conflict.

The event also explores the way people relate to their local environment and the memories that inhabit their surroundings, as represented by buildings, artefacts and the green space. For communities who are superstitious of such places, the event encourages visits to cemeteries as they were originally intended – as a place to reflect and also to enjoy the environment, the sculpture and the increasingly wild habitats that they have become. The event has in previous years opened up ageing and underused spaces in a new way, stimulating creative ideas for other events, interest in the cemetery and of other public spaces.

ARTISTS AND PERFORMANCES
Many of the artists behind the creative work that underpins ‘Up The Line’ are in the vanguard of an
emerging wave of European artists working with new media, technologies and traditional methods, bringing cutting-edge work to areas identified as lacking creativity. Up to fourteen different nationalities are involved with this project. Artists and performances involved include:

• Duncan Menzies: A Scottish experimental piper, whose short pieces to open and close the event will expose audiences to the versatility of the pipes as used in wartime contexts.
• Dead Rat Orchestra: a new composition by the orchestra will explore the excitement of young men heading to war
• Julian Jacobson: has composed an event-specific classical music piece
• Keren’Or Pezard and her Maaikor dance company: choreograph and perform the last rhythms of life and death in the trenches
• Kai Clear: Creating a new film, projected on to evergreen trees in the cemetery, created from archive footage, and with extracts from WWI diaries read by actor Harry Vendryes
• War poetry: Curated by Isabel White, poetry classics will be performed alongside new pieces, reflecting conflict from all sides (perspectives of ally and enemy, male and female) in English and German, given the unique stories of heroism and kindnesses shown by friend and foe alike

ABOUT MARGATE CEMETERY

Opened in 1856, the thirty five acres that comprise Margate cemetery commemorate many who have helped make the town what it is today. Famous residents include Alfred Tennyson’s two sisters (many poets artists were attracted to Margate, its climate and its light). The meandering designs of the pathways were attributable to the taste of Mr Cormack of Vicarage Place, Margate. The general architect was Mr Birch, and the erection of the various buildings in the cemetery were by Mr G Hadlow of Margate. It is also the resting pace of many caught up in the conflict 1939-1945, both friend and
foe alike. The Friends of Margate Cemetery are the inspiration and driving force behind the conservation of the fabric of the cemetery and its memorials. How to get there:
Source: http://www.margatecemetery.co.uk/Friends.htm

Executive Summary

In a year already filled with civil unrest and uncertainty throughout the world, ways of considering the impact and effects of conflict are becoming ever more important. Understanding such events can seem somewhat remote from modern Western life; so often sanitised by the soundbites of 24-hour news coverage.

2011 will be the third year of the highly successful Up The Line Remembrance event. This unique series of live performances has attracted an audience of more than 750 and involved 50 artists, 20 crew and almost 100 volunteers.

The reaction to the event has been overwhelming, with many, especially younger people, becoming actively conscious for the first time of the subject of world conflict, and the impact, suffering and legacy it imbues. The event makes no attempt to educate, lead or comment on the rights or wrongs of war, the intention is only to create consideration and discussion amongst its audience.

As the comments and feedback (below and at the end of this document) demonstrate, this event has made a lasting impression on many people who would otherwise be disengaged from the subject or the idea of remembrance.

Well done, it was wonderful, really moving and all the performers were great. Our 5 year old son enjoyed it too and really seemed to get the message. Which is great as he seems to think fighting and weapons are really great. I really think something sank in about the reality of war. He loved all the poetry, especially the woman near the church who was animated and communicative but still got a serious message across, and the violinist in the church. And the lantern making, which again isn’t something he would normally do.
Sarah, Igor and Vitaly Outkine (by email)

Proposal
War is ultimately about death and destruction; we avoid war only by remembering the pain and suffering associated with it, rather than victory or defeat. There is probably no greater example in history that teaches us this than the Great War of 1914-1918.

The passing of the last witnesses to WWI in 2009 denies us a firsthand account of the horrors, privation and suffering endured by those who lived through it. Whole generations were lost on all sides of the conflict, and to avoid repeating such tragedy it is important that we continue to remember the pain and suffering that war inflicts.

As the end of WWII moves towards the 70-year mark, the numbers who experienced that conflict are also dwindling. The loss of a direct voice, an eyewitness account, removes from society the power and impact of the intimate storyteller, the person who was there. Ways of replacing the storyteller need to be developed, to create the unexpected within the constant onrushing imagery to which we are all subjected in modern life. The need to find ways of discussing conflict and to avoid the subject becoming as simplified as soap powder advertising is essential, if we are to avoid future disharmony.

Over the last two years, we have marked the passing of our last witnesses to the Great War by mounting an evening event on Armistice Day in Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery, South East London. Poets, dancers, musicians and actors performed alongside filmmakers and sound artists on 1.5Km path, softly lit during the hours of darkness. The audience walked the length of the cemetery, encountering brief performances a short distance apart, allowing time for consideration and reflection. The intention was to create a simple experience that was sober rather than sombre, yet powerful enough to lodge deep in the mind of those who attended. These performances were not intended as a history lesson, rather they were an opportunity to reflect and easily engage through the culture of the age, with survivors of the conflict and, in so doing, pay tribute to them.

This year we intend to take the event to a broader audience and expand on the conflicts beyond the Great War to the wider impact on societies of the period, the effects on families and how the upheaval of war has influ