Trans-Plantable Living Room is a living, edible performance space, grown by community gardeners, which hosted interactive performances by international performance collective Plantable during September 2013 in Cardiff and London.
In Cardiff underneath a tree in Bute Park behind the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, as part of World Stage Design festival…
and in London at Central School of Speech and Drama on 21st September as part of Collisions: New Research in Performance.
The creative process was a collaboration between an international group of artists and community groups. A network of Cardiff based gardeners grew plants for the space, coordinated by Sam Holt of Riverside Community Allotments and supported by Becca Clarke of Green City Events, Michele Fitzsimmons of Edible Landscaping, Polly Reichelt and Adamsdown Community Garden, Alistair Rowan and Field Days Organics (Innovate Trust) and Vegalive Aquaponics.
Meanwhile Green Stage ran workshops and interviews to unearth hidden stories about gardens and bring them to life.
The workshops, with Katie Jones of Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens explored how story-telling and imagination can help solve problems that face us today, like climate change, and feeding a growing population.
The oral history interviews investigated personal narratives about gardening in Cardiff: why people garden, how gardening practices have changed over time and what role they see local, small-scale food production taking in providing food in today’s fast-changing world. The interviews will be shared online via the People’s Collection Wales, who kindly provided the recording equipment, and are gathered in a small book.
Ideas unearthed in workshops and interviews were woven together by Plantable Performance Research Collective, to create an immersive, interactive performance.
Plantable Research Collective: An international collective of theatre makers that explore the interface between performance and ecology. Made up of Lisa Woynarski, Bronwyn Preece and Megan Moe Beitiks, Plantable will weave together elements from the workshops and interview recordings to create the performance.
The Living Stage: An international project that combines stage design, permaculture and community engagement to create recyclable, biodegradable and edible performance spaces, led by Tanja Beer, who created the design for the ‘Living Room’ space.
Riverside Community Allotments: A project that provides a place where people can learn how to grow food in a sociable and supportive atmosphere, running two volunteer days per week. Garden Manager Sam Holt is sustainable agriculture mentor for Renew Wales; Horticultural and Animal Husbandry trainer for Grow the Future project at the National Botanical Gardens of Wales and founder of Eggseeds, working with primary schools in Cardiff. Sam had coordinated volunteers in growing plants for the Transplantable Living Room.
Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens: An organisation that supports, represents and promotes community-managed farms, community gardens, allotments and other green spaces, creating opportunities for local communities to grow. FCFCG promoted the project to Cardiff community gardens, and experienced storyteller Katie Jones led storytelling activities for the workshops.
Sarah Jayne Leigh and Mawgaine Tarrant-Cornish:
Producers and promoters for the project.
Rabab Ghazoul: documentary film-maker for the project.
Sam Goudie: designed our flyer.
Edible Landscaping: A Cardiff based education and design business run by Permaculture Designer Michele Fitzsimmons, with over 20 years experience in edible gardens, organic fruit and veg growing, permaculture, symbiotic, natural and edible forest gardening. Planting Design Consultant for the ‘Living Room’, Michele’s extensive knowledge of plants formed the foundation of the growing plan.
Adamsdown Community Garden: Part of the Adamsdown Community Project, a partnership between People Can (formaly the Novas Scarman Group), Cardiff Community Housing Assosiation (CCHA), local residents and organisations based in the area.
Green City Events: A not-for-profit social enterprise that provides interactive and accessible events which engage the public in a participatory way, through workshops, demonstrations, activities and the arts.
People’s Collection Wales: A organisation that draws together digital collections of photographs, sound recordings, documents, videos and stories about the history and heritage of Wales and its people, from the main heritage institutions as well as smaller museums, archives and libraries. They provided recording equipment for the interviews and store the recordings on their website.
Interviewees: Anne Bateman, Anon, Richard Berry, Gordon David Clarke, Sophie Durnan, Edith England, Michele Fitzsimmons, Stephen Garrett, Sam Holt, Jason Horn, Kate Knowles, Yvan Maurel, Lewis Mottrum, Monica Nobriga, Helen Reardon, Mariusz Rogacz, Tim Stevenson, Stephen Watts, Dafyd Williams.
A huge thanks to all those who’ve kindly given their time, ideas and resources to the project: Claire Bracegirdle, Frances Smith-Williams, Eva Krasenska, Owen Evans, Ian Garrett and CSPA, Gisela Beer, Manuela Franken, Freya Stanley-Price, Rosie Strickland, Kit Jones, Allan Shepherd, Ariana Jordao, Harry Giles, Emma Williams and everyone at World Stage Design (WSD).
A special thanks to our wonderful Wefund supporters and grant-funders.