Real life stories in a nature reserve

Life on a barge and the personal passions of an activist are just two of the real life stories being told in a nature reserve in Bath.

The University of Bath's Institute of Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts (ICIA) has commissioned the acclaimed performance company Lone Twin to bring their unique and extraordinary project Speeches to the city next month.

Speeches invites members of the public to work with Lone Twin and professional speechwriter Helen Mackintosh to develop a speech about their life, delivered in a place that has a particular connection to them.

It takes place from 11-13 September in and around Kensington Meadows, off London Road.

Kensington Meadows is a parkland and local nature reserve. It is one of the few areas within Bath that has natural banks along the River Avon.

Audiences will be able to hear about life on a barge from a canal boat dweller, the personal passions of a local activist, and find out how the communities and surroundings have changed from a resident of 20 years.

The aim is to create a snapshot of life in the area. The end result promises to be a surprising and truly diverse collection of private thoughts shared in a public space, in a heart-felt performance event.

Tanya Steinhauser, ICIA Theatre Co-ordinator, saw Speeches in London.

She said: "I was really struck by Speeches, it was fascinating, funny and touching. Everyone had a story to tell, and it felt like a privilege to listen.

"There is real honesty in a performance like this. The participants and audiences enjoyed it so much that I was determined to bring Speeches to Bath and place it in a rural setting."

Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters of Lone Twin are highly regarded for their gift of making work that intrigues, entertains and embraces life to the full.

Lone Twin, and the newly formed Lone Twin Theatre, are committed to creating work that appeals to a wide audience.

The company's work has achieved critical and popular acclaim, with an international audience enjoying work for both stage and public settings. They gained high profile for "Nine Years", a piece made up of performances they presented during a nine year trip around the world, involving seven hundred performances in many different countries.

In the autumn of 2008, Lone Twin Theatre presented a sell-out performance of Daniel Hit By A Train at ICIA, University of Bath. 

Speeches sits alongside a range of public projects which Lone Twin are developing, including Beastie, a new work for children, The Boat Project, which invites residents of a town to set about the communal building of a boat constructed entirely from its unwanted wood, Working Day, a film portrait of a community at work, and Social Dance Project where Lone Twin will work with a Choreographer and Musical Director, to develop a dance that will accumulate and grow as it passes through communities and households.

For its 2009 programme ICIA selects work which explores ideas around the theme of "plotting... arts and place."

Speeches will be held on: Friday 11 September, 6.30pm, Saturday 12 September, 2pm and  5pm, Sunday 13 September, 2pm and 5pm.

Admission is free but tickets must be reserved in advance (capacity limited to 30 per show). Bookings can be made via the ICIA Box Office on 01225 386777.

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