Doggerland

Following on from the success of “Midwinter Dreaming”, the Team with Hugh, Charlotte and Mary are planning another event. It will be quite different in character but you can be sure it will have its own magic!

Doggerland will be a performance exploring the theme of inundation.

It is to be performed in Bergh Apton Church in February 2018.

It will be written by Hugh Lupton (with help from the Bergh Apton community through a series of writing workshops). It will be directed by Charlotte Arculus and its musical director will be Mary Lovett.

The play will be in three sections.

The first will tell the story of the inundation of Doggerland 8,000 years ago when the melting of the ice-age glaciers overwhelmed the land-mass that once joined East Anglia to the continent of Europe.

The second section will look at the early years of the science of geology in the nineteenth century. It was a time when Biblical explanations of the origins of the world were being challenged by new information. Questions were raised: Was the inundation of Doggerland the flood that Noah survived? Were the fossil bones that were being found and identified the relics of the drowned creatures that didn’t get onto the ark? What was the timescale of the creation of the world? Old beliefs were being inundated by new facts.

The third section will look at the contemporary threat of inundation: global warming, rising sea-levels, and a new melting of the ice-caps.

The performance will be light-hearted but with serious under-currents. It will need actors, writers, makers and technical assistants. All volunteers will be welcomed.

There are already workshops in connection with the event planned. The first three are writing workshops with Hugh on Tuesdays 28 March and 11 and 25 April, these start at 1000 and finish about 1200.

On Saturday 15 April there is a workshop with Georgina Warne to make lanterns in the shape of fossils from clay. This starts at 1000 and finishes 1600ish.
When the audience arrive for the play our thinking is that they will gather in a big henge (another workshop in prospect!) in the meadow beside the church. They will be led in procession from here to the church, it will be dark hence the need for lanterns to light the path.

There is another workshop on Saturday 10 June with Peter Lyle to create imaginary plants from Doggerland. This starts at 1000 and finishes 1500.
Create imaginary plants that could have grown on Doggerland by combining pressed leaves, flowers, seed heads. Strange combinations, something unique & new. Plant materials will be provided but bring your own along too. Get pressing now! And describe what the new plants would have been used for and give them Latin and common names a Daffodolia or a Primercup or……!

The finished works will be mounted and displayed in the Church, during the period of the performances, as if they were pages from a long lost herbarium.

This is a free workshop being held at the Village Hall. There is no need to book a place, just come along for as much of the day as you like.

Creative Writing Workshops

First Workshop – 28 March 2017

‘Doggerland’ has begun!

A group of writers met this week with the storyteller, Hugh Lupton, to explore the terrain of Doggerland, the lost bridge between the East of England and the European mainland. A timely encounter one might say, in this week of the inauguration of the long awaited Brexit negotiations!

We were once linked to Europe not just by a tunnel but by a land mass now sunk beneath the North Sea. Hugh Lupton invited us to imagine ourselves back 8000 years and he led us deep into folk memory of creatures now extinct.

Gathered in Pat Mlejnecky’s conservatory nine of us let our imaginations run riot. We roamed the garden, found fossils and other strange natural phenomena and then wove intricate, impossible tales and entertained each other all morning. Hugh held us in check and then finally gave us full rein and we galloped free into our newly reclaimed territory.

The morning ended with a delicious lunch. It was time well spent!

Sophie Saunders

Second Workshop – 11 April 2017

Eight of us sat around the trestle table, with Hugh, buoyed by our first session, ready to learn, to imagine and to write.

The start was serene and thought-filled. Hugh read us extracts from four books, all different, all related to Doggerland, our land to be. Fossil footprints in Europe’s Lost World, more than half attributed to children, set the scene in my mind: a homeland for skilled and inventive people mastering a bountiful but hostile land.

Now for our first challenge. Invent a landmark in Doggerland and give it a name. Write about it for thirty minutes, starting with the words ‘I see …..’

I see a great oak in a forest and a boy. I become the boy, looking up at Child Killer. I start to write. Half an hour later, I tell Sophie my story and listen to hers, slipping into her bird-filled landscape, looking down to the water from the Edge Lands.

All together again, Hugh produced a hand-smoothed staff and a stick of charcoal. ‘Draw a pictogram for your landmark on the stick.’ A series of symbols made their way down its surface. It is transformed, a Shaman’s Story-Staff.

Hugh became the Shaman, beating a rhythm on his bodhran, first steps from landmark to landmark, each of us reading our story at our own special place. The path unwinds before us, from salmon pool to swamp, from the forest to the fringes of a sea. We are treading the ways of our ancestors, wary but at one with a land now lost, its myths in our collective memory the sole survivors.

I have been to dozens of workshops over the years and run a few of my own. This was probably the most fun, certainly the most creative. Best of all (and rare for workshops) we knew we had contributed to the beginning of something special, a journey that will take us and our community to meet our fellows in the lands below the sea.

John Nicholson

A wonderful village where things happen