I tried to work out yesterday how long I’ve been following Rima Staines at The Hermitage. A few years? As long as ten? I really couldn’t tell you. I feel like her work has seeped its way into my being; like it’s been there forever.
Rima’s work feels both contemporary and a very real part of the myth and story of her heritage; as if it has been in our collective conscious for the whole history of storytelling. Her work is about storytelling, and myth, and history, but it has the magic of speaking not as an observer of all that, but from within. Which is why I was so exciting when she announced her new project Hedgespoken.
Rima and her equally incredible partner Tom plan to convert an old Bedford truck into a travelling, off-grid theatre, and home for the two of them. It’s the kind of thing many of us dream of doing. It’s a ‘one day’ thing. But Rima and Tom are doing it now. An artist and a storyteller, both a little of each other, will roam the countryside telling stories; bringing some of their magic to all they touch.
I’ll let them describe a little bit more themselves.
With its drop-down stage, fancy awning and proscenium arch, Hedgespoken will serve as a stage wherever it goes. Whether it’s Tom and Rima telling tales and making mischief with handmade puppet shows, or it’s other actors, musicians or sword-swallowers using the stage-space as part of the Hedgespoken travelling show, our aim is to spread a little old magic by doing what we love. Hedgespoken has the wherewithal to act as a mini-theatre, a cabaret stage or acoustic music venue, anywhere. Perhaps your village green, or that disused urban space, wayside or park – Hedgespoken arrives, makes magic, plants seeds of imagination, and then leaves, in the tradition of wandering bards, travelling storytellers and itinerant puppet theatres and circuses that are so much part of our heritage.
Don’t you wish they’d roll into your town? Tomorrow, at the latest, thank you. I’m writing from afar, and it will be a very long time, if ever, before I see the fruition of their labour in the flesh, but it doesn’t make me any less excited for their project. I have made a donation, for which there are incredibly generous rewards, and I hope you will too. It’s an investment in a dream – one they are living for real, and one I will be living vicariously, all the way down their winding road.