Improv Night: Roots Routes by Mark Sheeky

Improv Night: Roots Routes
Mash Guru, Macclesfield
19 June 2018

Detail from Improv Night: Roots Routes by Mark Sheeky Detail from Improv Night: Roots Routes by Mark Sheeky

About this event
One of a series of experimental art performance nights at music venue Mash Guru, curated and organised by Sabine Kussmaul and I. This was a Barnaby Festival special event with the theme of Roots/Routes.

We began with a reading of my poem, This Is Our Soil set to a video of reeds. Then artist Laura England gave a talk with slides about her recent art projects about her family history and memory. Sabine Kussmaul showed a film about drawing and the landscape with overlayed words. I performed The Harp of History with Deborah Edgeley, where some members of the audience were handed one end of a string, the other end held by Deborah. When these were plucked, the person at the end spoke the name of a parent or grandparent, and I played a corresponding note on the keyboard, so a simple musical instrument of history was made. Simon Woolham talked about his Barnaby project to take rubbings along a long canal walk, then assemble these fragments into a very large drawing. Becca Smith asked audience members to write three drawing instructions on a postcard eg. draw the person on your right, draw the last thing you was last night etc. These were swapped with audience members and we obeyed the instructions to produce a series of drawings which where used in a later projection to music.

The second half started with music by Pete Mason on guitar and vocals by a visitor from The Netherlands. Deborah Edgeley then read Crumpsy Madpash, a poem in old Cheshire dialect about the roots of language. Simon Woolham read a story written by his daughter that was inspired by 7000 tiny paintings on bricks in the Park Lane underpass. Claire Bassi read some random diary notes from her stay in America. Chris Godber read three poems from his recent collection. Michael Chisholm read two stories from his collection in progress, Deck of Tales, with illustrated cards on screen. Deborah Edgeley and myslef performed Time Falling as Fall in Green from the Testing The Delicates collection. Becca Smith asked people to touch an old wall with one hand, and draw with the other in a psychic experiment. The night ended with a music jam with myself on synthesizer, and Simon Woolham and Sabine Kussmaul on guitar.