EAT! some

02Oct12

 

 

EAT! is a show developed from dozens of interviews with residents of Birmingham and the Black Country. The task of the interviews was to collect a body of material that reveals something of the myriad significance of food in our culture. From its fundamental capacity to sustain us, to examples of the weird and wonderful ways that food charts our lives and enriches the everyday: From its symbolic function in ritual or celebration to our need to control its command of our lives: From  the devastating effects of food deprivation to the temptations and indulgencies of excessive times.

 

EAT! is a collaboration between Black Country Touring and Birmingham Rep. Following the interview/research period at the start of this year, a fortnight’s development in July resulted in a draft script from the edited materials. In the interim weeks, script editor Rochi worked with BCT directors Steve and Frances to refine and shape a rehearsal script, which is now finding its feet in advance of the show’s premiere on the 18th October.

 

After months of imagining, we arrived on site yesterday at The Roundhouse – formerly the Fiddle & Bone pub, on Sheepcote St., Birmingham. The show takes place in and around four caravans – each tailored to the specific stories retold by the inhabitants. Thus the ‘War Caravan’ becomes my home for the coming month;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Roundhouse is a magnificent location. The building itself is a former stables and yard for canal ponies but for many years The Fiddle & Bone (so called because it was owned and run by a violinist/trombonist duo from the CBSO) was a magic oasis of independent culture in a deprived and derelict corner of post-industrial Brum. The F&B hosted quality live music every night of the week and was part responsible, I believe, for attracting regeneration to the canalside around the Icknield loop. But no sooner had glitzy new canalside apartments been built and occupied but some residents started complaining about the noise from the pub. The City Council capitulated – revoked the F&B’s performing licence following a Noise Abatement Order and the place therefore lost its raison d’etre. Sadly this ‘goose and golden egg’ story is not unfamiliar in these parts, as the exceptional Spotted Dog in Digbeth can also testify. I think it also speaks volumes of the voraciousness of the Sheepcote St. residents that within a couple of hours of us arriving on site with the caravans, we were visited upon by the West Mids Constabulary. There had been complaints, apparently, from the neighbours. It appeared that Travellers had arrived to pollute their canal-side views.

 

 

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