Stories from the Oil Age
In May 2014 we invited 6 artists, Catherine Cartwright and Ama Bolton, David Lane, Sally Flint, Amy Shelton, and Shiona Morton to lead the creation of a book about the Oil Age with Exeter’s young people. Then from September 2014 the artists led workshops in Stoke Hill, West Exe, Exeter College, Isca, Crediton Library, St James, St Lukes, Kenton Primary and Exeter Library. Together they created The Books of Love, Leadership, Technology, Food, and Justice.
The 6 Artists and 281 Young People wrote, drew, painted, printed, built, and performed their way to what we think is an extraordinary book.
Cost: £8.99 (£11.99 with postage). (All proceeds from sales contribute towards the direct costs of the project)
First published in Exeter Living | June 2015
In 2009, as I sat in my office inside Bristol Old Vic, it occurred to me that even when the theatre is flying much of the world will never come through its doors. So I set about thinking how I could interrupt the realities of all those people who never will, all the people who are on their way to work, or to the shops; how could I interrupt them in a joyful way? How could I invite them to stop for a moment and ponder the world? What would be my interruptive gift?
At around the same time, I was sitting in a coffee shop in Tooting with friend and colleague Lucy Neal, with whom I worked briefly at London International Festival of Theatre. She was full of her usual boundless energy to turn and face our planet’s greatest challenges. I became very interested in the narrative of oil running out: What if there was no oil?
So I started asking “What should we do with a last barrel of oil?” Most people said burn it, but moments later leapt into dialogue about the affordances of oil and what we have and value and how those values might shift or be sustained in the future.
In 2012 I founded Kaleider (a production studio based in Exeter) and proposed to create an interruptive gift for the people of Exeter on a grand scale – to create a live experience that interrupts the city and gives us time to ponder our world. We called it Ancient Sunlight.
In May 2014 we invited 6 artists, Catherine Cartwright and Ama Bolton, David Lane, Sally Flint, Amy Shelton, and Shiona Morton to lead the creation of a book about the Oil Age with Exeter’s young people. Then from September 2014 the artists led workshops in Stoke Hill, West Exe, Exeter College, Isca, St James, St Lukes, Kenn Primary and Exeter Library. Together with around 280 young people they created The Books of Love, Leadership, Technology, Food, and Justice, all of which are contained in the book, along with a blank Book of Me.
Although we still have hopes of doing the live show in the future, in many ways the book has become the thing. It is the point of arrival, not at the originally planned destination (the live show), but at a new destination: a very special outcome from an incredible journey.
In Spring 2015 we held a 3 day Open Space to draw together ideas for the live show…
Let’s make Ancient Sunlight: The Live Show in 3 days at Kaleider.
R+D for Ancient Sunlight: 12th – 14th September 2012
To begin the project, Kaleider spent three days with designers, writers, musicians and technicians. It was a chance for us to dream and imagine what Ancient Sunlight might be. We talked, created stuff, drew, made noises (and some music), wrote loads and even wrote some stories. This R&D intensive really marked the beginning of it being real for us.
Here’s what we got up to…
Film by Rob Darch.