Stormy House will be a combined arts performance of text, dance, inscription, visuals and mixed reality taking place in UK and Japanese venues in 2018/19.The text will be based on the ghost scenes of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and Lafcadio Hearn’s life and translations of Japanese ghost tales (kaidan).
The show will be developed between Japanese and UK artists / trainee artists and students of drama both in Japan and in our research centre on Haworth Moor – 2 miles from the original Wuthering Heights.
We are delighted to have received funding from the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Artists International Development Fund (Arts Council England/British Council) for a two week visit in May 2017 to Japan by playwright Judith Adams, visual artist Simon Warner and performer Stacey Johnstone to record landscapes, meet contacts at the Kyoto Art Centre and Lafcadio Hearn Museum and work with Juliet Winters Carpenter of Doshisha Women’s College in Kyoto.
In the depths of the Dark House and shadows, we placed Woman, marking her as the whitest of beings; but only the face and hands. The teeth were painted black, the lips green-black, the eyebrows shaved. She was as a spectre: might not the Darkness have emerged from her mouth and black teeth, from the black of her hair, like the thread from a great Earth Spider?
Tanizaki: In Praise of Shadows
As the novels of Tanizaki, Murakami, Soseki, Enchi, Idemitsu, Ishiguro and Mizumura testify, the western and eastern traditions of gothic – these vampire dramas of the excluded, the marginal and the enslaved – are yoked in magnetic attraction and repulsion; yet why is never clear.
Inside and outside the Stormy House ghosts, doublings, split personas, women and ghost children lurk at our windows and in the dark shadows of the Room (camera), ignored through the edicts of men at the world’s ultimate peril.
The Japan visit will enable an intensive period of script and technical development on our return, including a workshop with Drs. Oli Mival and Iain McGregor, Digital Research Fellows from Edinburgh Napier University. The future intention is to rehearse the show at Whitestone Arts and a venue in Japan for performance in both countries in 2018 (the 200th Anniversary of Emily Bronte’s birth). Further funding will be sought for these later stages of workshops, rehearsal and production from the Japan Foundation, British Council and Arts Council England, with support in kind from Whitestone Arts.
Emily located her childhood imaginary Queendom of Gondal in ‘the North Pacific Ocean’, we found during research, making Japan a likely location for her imaginary landscape. The coincidence was too good to ignore – something Einstein might describe as “spooky action at a distance”.
The project will forge a link between two northern (wild) locations and provide the personnel and materials needed to create a truly collaborative text. It will make a significant contribution to worldwide Emily Bronte celebrations in 2018. Taking an entirely ghostly perspective on the novel is an original idea, as is making kaidan (ghost tales) its parallel universe. It will focus our joint skills and experience on the deep structure of Wuthering Heights.
With the intention of including two languages throughout, and story-telling through action, mixed reality and visuals, our ‘game of quantum fragments’ will have a broad potential audience, drawing local, national and international attention to cross-cultural themes, and the potential flexibility of multi-narratives. Our style of composition and expression may also lend itself to versions in other forms, such as graphic novel, radio play, and/or video game. The theme is a potent one in popular youth culture: can Lockwood/Lafcadio face his ghostly room girl nemesis and ‘Let the Right One’ cross the threshold?
Whitestone was used as the development base for 50 Steps, a mixed media dance project celebrating the Pennine Way in its 50th anniversary year, 2015. 3 dancers, a composer/musician and a videographer undertook a series of 5 walks on different sections of the National Trail and produced a creative response the same day in improvised performances at 5 local venues. This experimental process of immediate re-imagining culminates in a final performance at Halifax Square Chapel on 20 April 2016.
The Collective used the Barn Studio for 3 rehearsals at different stages of the project, and made Whitestone the starting point for 2 exploratory Pennine Way walks (bearing in mind that the Pennine Way passes within 200 metres of our property).
Members of the 50 Steps Collective are:
Dancers Ruth Jones, Stacey Johnstone and Natalie Speake
Musician/composer David Birchall
Videographer Simon Warner
One day photoshoot at Whitestone, October 2015, for Red Saunders’ new tableau depicting the Peterloo Massacre of 1820. This initial photography of the militia charging the crowd will be composited into the final image.
Whitestone Arts provided overnight accommodation, catering, make-up and costume facilities for the crew and cast. and also looked after the horses.
Video stills by Simon Warner
Poetry / music / video presentation based on the lives and poems of the Brontës, devised and performed by Adam Strickson, David Wilson and Simon Warner. Originally created for the University of Leeds conference Revisioning the Brontës in 2013, the first full performance was at Bradford Cathedral 2013 and the second at the Brontë Society annual members’ weekend in Haworth 2014.
Rehearsals for all 3 performances took place at Whitestone Arts. Simon projects landscape video sequences to accompany Adam’s recitation of his own poetry and poems by the Brontës. Different video sequences accompany David’s specially composed saxaphone and flute music. And sometimes all 3 elements are experienced together.
In March 2012 creative arts company verd de gris brought their project Changing Landscapes to Whitestone Arts: an initiative for older people exploring ideas about memory, landscape and sense of place …
In this third project working with Elders from Calderdale’s Asian community they took women attending the Women’s Resource Centre in Halifax on day-visits into the Pennine countryside, exploring how landscape can serve as a starting point for artwork and conversation. Sessions included arts & crafts, exercise & movement, talking & reminiscing, memories of childhood and life in Pakistan, Uganda and Kenya.
From past projects, landscape has played an important part in the Elders’ memories of childhood and homeland. This was a wonderful opportunity for the women to reimagine the landscape of their youth through the hills, rivers and valleys of West Yorkshire.
In recent years Whitestone has hosted playwright development workshops run by Snowgoose (director Jonathan Hall). The groups self-cater for these residential weekends, sleeping in the Studio Flat, Stable and Garden Rooms, and in tents.
5 day residential development workshop with Opera North Projects, 2014 exploring Japanese ghost stories.
With writer Judith Adams, musician Clive Bell, actors Stacey Johnstone and Stephen Anderson, and video artist/photographer Simon Warner
Since 2011 Kay Taylor has been bringing groups to Whitestone for residential weekends of Egyptian dancing.
Multimedia performance about walking by Whitestone Arts, commissioned for the Watershed Landscape symposium Unbounded Moor in Haworth, October 2012 and repeated for the Pennine Prospects/Natural England conference National Character Areas Profiles in Practice at Hebden Bridge, January 2013
The 10-minute work features a poem by Judith Adams recorded by Alexandra Mathie, video by Simon Warner and movement devised and performed by Stacey Johnstone. Graphics, editing and technical presentation by Christopher Keech
Whitestone Arts conducted a visitor survey on Haworth Moor over the Easter holidays 2012, as part of Simon Warner’s artist residency with the Watershed Landscape Project (Pennine Prospects). With the help of Jasmine Taylor and Rebecca Stott, travel and tourism students from Leeds City College, Keighley Campus, we asked walkers what brings them to this much-visited area of open country.
The findings, including voice recordings and photographs, formed part of our live performance Crossing the Line at Unbounded Moor, a symposium on landscape and literature held in Haworth in October 2012 under the auspices of the Brontë Parsonage Museum and Ilkley Literature Festival.
Also for Simon Warner’s Watershed Landscape Residency, we hosted a group of walkers from the Grange Interlink Healthy Living Centre in Bradford. Arriving by minibus, the group collected in the barn studio for refreshments and a slideshow of Haworth and Stanbury Moors, intended as inspiration for the group’s own photographs. They then walked to Ponden Kirk and picnicked by the stream.
Celebrated photographer Red Saunders was commissioned by Impressions Gallery and The Culture Company to create 3 new photographic tableaux, inspired by historical events in Yorkshire, for the Ways of Looking photography festival in Bradford, October 2011 (www.waysoflooking.org). Using Whitestone Arts facilities, a cast of civil war soldiers, agricultural labourers, horses and a saint were photographed at Whitestone, Ponden and Bradford in July 2011.
Opera by Luigi Nono, directed by Katie Mitchell for the Berlin Staatsoper 2012 and Salzburg Festival 2009. Whitestone Arts hosted camera rehearsals for the extensive live video sequences designed by 59 Productions.
Duende Ensemble, 2010
3 weeks ensemble training and rehearsal led by John Britton at Whitestone for the Milton Theatre, Huddersfield production of The Shattering Man. The company lived and worked at Whitestone throughout the period, eating meals prepared by chef Michael White.
Whitestone weekend workshop with Carry Akroyd
Participants on this course explore many different approaches to the practise of drawing, and experiment with different techniques. The venue, with its old buildings and the immediate farmland, gives out onto open moorland, all of which provide subjects and challenges to observation and recording.
The large barn studio at Whitestone gives room for both group drawing exercises and personal workspace. Part of the course involves walking in the landscape with materials to draw and experience how drawing expands seeing. These drawings can be a springboard for studio work. There is a small printmaking ingredient in the latter part of the course.
Carry Akroyd is a painter and printmaker for whom drawing in the landscape is the preliminary step in all her work: www.carryakroyd.co.uk
[The workshop took place 11-13 October 2013]
Whitestone weekend workshop with Ruth Jones
Suitable for all levels of skill, this workshop can be seen as part of personal development or be more directly applied to the world of theatre and dance. Two walks taking an hour each day, on moorland terrain requiring good shoes and waterproofs, will be led by one of our hosts.
Walking and Dancing is simply that, walking – in the form of taking yourself for a ramble across beautiful countryside from Whitestone, and dancing – in the form of creative, improvised and choreographed movement. A different walk will be encouraged and experienced at the beginning of each day, which will precede and inspire the dance for the remainder of the day in the studio. Various ways to translate the experience of the walk into movement and dancing will be offered such as visualisation and improvisation, and the experience of a variety of choreographic processes as a means to set/fix creative movement.
Having trained at The Laban Centre, London, Cunningham Studios, New York and Temple University, Philadelphia, Ruth Jones is first and foremost a contemporary movement practitioner and choreographer. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally over her 25 year career.
In the past 15 years, Ruth has taken her own dance work out of the usual black box. In her personal practice she now specialises in Sited and Site Specific work. Her Manchester based Axial Dance company tours outdoor works around the country. Also, some 15 years ago, Ruth became interested in theatre and began choreographing theatre work and teaching movement for actors. She has since choreographed over 50 productions for UK theatres.
Whitestone weekend workshop with William Varley
There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast: Paul Scott Mowrer
Explore a landscape of stark beauty; enjoy exhilarating walks and investigate the geology of this distinctive area. No experience necessary. The walks, typically 4-6 miles with picnic, can be adapted to meet the needs of the group.
Programme: After the Friday evening meal, enjoy an illustrated introduction to the landscape and geology of the local area.
On Saturday morning our walk takes us up to the highest moorland to orientate ourselves in the landscape and enjoy extensive views in all directions. After a picnic lunch we follow a section of the Pennine Way past Top Withens, popularly credited as the setting for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Exploring some of the deep valleys we have opportunity to look at how the rocks have been formed and influence the shape of the land. Returning to Whitestone there is time for relaxation and the option of a further talk/discussion after the evening meal.
On Sunday morning we head down the Worth Valley to Haworth, following an ancient packhorse route and exploring old industrial sites along the way. On the moors above Haworth in Penistone Hill Country Park we gain some insight into how the rocks were formed, and the effects of changing sea levels as sediments were being deposited in a huge river delta. We return along a section of the Brontë Way, past old mines and the site of Stanbury’s ‘gold rush’, our route once a favourite walk of the Brontë sisters.
Biography: The workshop leader, William Varley, has a specialist interest in landscape, geology and historical geography. A former teacher and geography inspector, he has planned and led field trips in the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors, the Lake District, Northumberland and Scotland and Iceland. In total, he has spent over a year of his professional life leading trips and expeditions.
Informative, energising, so interesting. Wonderful food, company and fossils
A real eye-opener of a weekend
Lots of learning and lovely food, very comfortable
– Comments from participants on September 2011 workshop
Whitestone weekend workshop with Ola Animashawun and Nadine Khadr Renton for Euphoric Ink
This workshop is suitable for beginner playwrights or more experienced writers looking for inspiration and alternative ways to get started. It can be seen as part of personal or professional development.
We all have a novel or a play or a film inside us struggling to get out, yet few of us ever get around to starting work on it. That’s where Euphoric Ink and their writing courses can help you to take the first steps: Allan McLaughlin, Journalist and former course participant
THE WRITE PLACE celebrates the impact of location on creativity, kick-starting the weekend with practical writing exercises that draw inspiration from the beautiful setting of Whitestone Farm. Enjoying the luxury of time and space, you will be encouraged to take an holistic approach to your writing, by ruling everything in – seeking inspiration from your own personal experience, your current surroundings, your thoughts and feelings, and your observations of the everyday and the unique – to create characters and to explore where and how to start writing a play.
Understanding the tools that good playwrights use is an essential part of the creative process: What is dramatic action? What makes a scene? How does structure make or break your story? Through a rich blend of fun, accessible, and practical exercises, games, analysis and discussion, you will learn what you need to know about the craft of playwriting and how to apply it to your play so that what is written on the page transfers to the stage.
Ola Animashawun has over 25 years of experience of working in theatre, with 15 years specialist experience in the field of playwriting workshops and script development. He is an Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre where he founded and directed the famous Young Writers Programme for 10 years, and where he currently leads two of the introductory writing courses offered by the Royal Court Studio, alongside playwriting programmes in Brighton, Birmingham and Coventry. As Euphoric Ink’s Creative Director, Ola delivers an ongoing programme of taster sessions, weekend workshops and bespoke courses across the UK, also working with individual writers via one-to-one tutorials and script development sessions.
Nadine Khadr Renton has 10 years of experience of working in theatre and the arts as a project manager, producer, facilitator, script reader and performer. Previously based in Leeds programming shows and workshops at The Carriageworks Theatre, she now works closely with Graeae Theatre Company, and has also worked with the National Theatre and Royal Court Theatre since moving to London. As a writer, Nadine has been supported by the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Soho Theatre. She currently manages Euphoric Ink’s script reading and development consultancy, taster sessions, weekend workshops and bespoke courses.
Euphoric Ink aims to inspire, coach and develop anyone who wants to write; to make the experience fun and to keep things simple, practical and accessible.
[This workshop took place in 2012]
This workshop is suitable for actors, improvisors, dancers, those who train others through improvisation, and any bold and reasonably fit novices who are committed to exploring physicality in performance. The workshop will combine ﬁxed exercises, structured improvisations and performance scores, to develop your ability to pay attention to ‘liveness’, the workings of the body-mind, the details of task and sensitivity to others. Underlying the work is a suite of principles that can be used in all performance work, including the central importance of taking pleasure in all tasks.
BiographyJohn Britton is a teacher, director and performer who has been developing his approach to Ensemble Improvisation for the last twenty years. His work is based in both theatre and dance, drawing inﬂuences from European Laboratory Theatre and from the improvisation work pioneered in the US dance world in the 60s and 70s. He is Artistic Director of Duende as well as having an extensive practice as an improvising performer, both as soloist and with Quiddity Theatre. He performs and teaches extensively round the world, including, in recent years, in Greece, France, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Slovenia, Portugal, China as well as the UK. He trained for a number of years with Al Wunder when he lived in Melbourne in the 1990s. John’s book on Ensemble Performance was published by Methuen in 2013.To find out more about his work go to www.ensemblephysicaltheatre.com as well as his Facebook site DUENDE.Contact email@example.com for more details
Workshops exploring the world of Angela Carter’s The Loves of Lady Purple, with Judith Adams, University of Huddersfield, 59 Productions, Faulty Optic, Margie Gillis, Holly Bright, John Barber and others, 2008
Filmed at Whitestone by 59 Productions in 2006 with funding from ACE and SAC, this web-based version of Judith Adams’ play also incorporated Community workshops in Scotland and England
Development and rehearsal facilities for this performed lecture by Simon Warner incorporating magic lantern projection, music, audience involvement and live photochemical demonstration. Devised for the ACE touring exhibition Alchemy 2006-7, the show has also been seen at several universities, the Humber Mouth Festival, Light Night Leeds and at the Magic Lantern Society series Professor Pepper’s Ghost.