INTERVIEW: Collision & Conflict | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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You sometimes hear talk of an ‘immersive experience’, be it in the theatre, while listening to an album, or when reading a book. These are usually rather figurative examples though – we might feel like we’re part of the action, but we’re still ultimately on the sidelines.

Green Croft Arts is changing the game on this with their new project Collision & Conflict, which launches on Friday 26th March. In the current climate that has been so detrimental to traditional art consumption, this project aims to bring cultural experiences to one of the remotest areas of the region. Through the joys of a smartphone app, hikers can take a journey around Wall Country accompanied by a specially curated soundscape of music, sound, storytelling and spoken word.

Fourteen artists with ties to the region have contributed pieces in their respective fields to inform, educate and entertain. Bridie Jackson will be combining her musical prowess with that of Northumberland-based writer and designer Jude Irwin, who already has a track record for encouraging accessible, bracing walks; composers and sound artists :zoviet*france: contribute their genre-defining music to the project; multi-media artist Dan Fox has a basis in absurdist theatre and site-specific sound and lighting masterpieces; theatre director Oliver Furber’s pairing with actor and filmmaker Ramzi Maqdisi is certain to provoke an interesting theatrical response to the surroundings; sound artist Joe Snook teams up with electronic music composer and performer Dean Dennis; historian and storyteller David Silk will represent stories from the area with help from musician Lindsay Hannon in a quest to unite our past with the present; spoken word specialist Ellen Moran has already covered topics such as feminism, community change and the housing crisis, so taking on contemporary community issues facing Northumbrians will be a new, worthwhile venture; the region’s rich mythology comes under the microscope of writer Emma Newrick; while Iona Lane’s folklore inflected sounds will seek to uncover rural folktales.

In our fast paced and ever progressive world, it is important to stop for a moment and discover how the past and present have been intertwined, to help us see more clearly what the future could hold

We’re all pretty used to stories of Romans, their forts and roads living up here, but we rarely think about the link between our history and the present day. The Borderlands, defined by conflict and collision throughout its remarkably dramatic history, has long been a battleground for control and power. Hadrian’s Wall marked the border between the Roman Empire and the ‘barbarian wilderness’, but it also represented trade, communication and community. Let’s face it, it would be a pretty terrible wall for simply keeping everyone out if it’s full of gates and checkpoints. Perhaps you can learn more about this at the stops at Milecastle 45A and the Roman Army Museum and Carvoran Roman Fort on the way. Following the collapse of their Empire, the Romans were replaced with warring border clans, abandoned by London and Edinburgh who were unable to govern the area without their former infrastructure and resources. Remnants of such skirmishes are easily spotted at Thirlwell Castle.

For those local to Walltown Country Park, it’s an ideal two hour daily exercise. But if it’s a little bit out of your way, worry not: Collision & Conflict is accessible until October. Pandemic allowing, we should all hopefully have plenty of time to do a little exploration of our own. In our fast paced and ever progressive world, it is important to stop for a moment and discover how the past and present have been intertwined, to help us see more clearly what the future could hold.

Collision & Conflict launches on Friday 26th March and is available until October. For more information and directions on downloading the app, visit Green Croft Arts’ website

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