It’s the end of October, the clocks have gone back and it feels like winter is in the air. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for dry weather for the next two weeks. We are about to head into a week of rehearsals and a week of performances of Give Me Back My Broken Night, and that means a lot of walking outside on the streets of Deptford.
This last month has involved a lot of preparation for GMBMBN. We even got to try out a version of the show in Bristol, imagining the future of Bristol University, as part of the launch of the Brigstow Institute.
Earlier in the month Paul and I were taken on a walk by Christopher Moore, who until recently used to work at The Lounge (there has been a big restructure in the Library Service and all the staff have changed). Christopher is an amateur historian and has incredible knowledge about the area of Deptford, so he very kindly spent about 2 hours with us walking and talking, which he later told us is a walk he takes the public on every now and then. If you are interested in Deptford and history then go on it if you can. It’s all about revolutionaries. Even though GMBMBN is about the future of a place we are interested in learning about the history of that place first. One of the locations Christopher took us to was St Nicholas’s Church at the top of the High St. It is where Christopher Marlowe is buried in an unmarked grave, and there is a plaque on the church garden wall.
Luckily the Deptford X festival was on and so the church was open. It was being used to show an artist’s film in the crypt. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the artist or film but it was very good! Anyway also inside was an exhibition about the history of Deptford, going back to the days when it was a Royal Dockyard and then later when heavier industry took over. They had these great pictures.
We then walked to Convoys Wharf, an area of 40 acres just beyond the top of the High St that runs along the Thames, to see the site of the former Royal Dockyard for ourselves. It is the single largest development site in the borough. In October 2013, the Mayor of London decided to take over and ‘call in’ the planning application, meaning that he – rather than Lewisham Council – would determine whether or not planning permission is granted. It is clear that this huge development will have a big impact on the community, and why we have chosen it to be one of the sites we will visit in our show. We want to know what local people would this this site to look like. Interestingly on the walk back we saw this stuck up.
We also walked past Czar St, a pretty normal street is SE8 with blocks of flats. Chris informed us it is so named because Peter the Great stayed there in what was once John Evelyn’s large house. Evelyn transformed the gardens of the house on a grand scale, which included orchards, kitchen gardens and many species of trees. One of which still remains today, tucked behind some flats. These gardens originally stretched into the current development site at Convoys Wharf. There are so many great stories in the street names that we pass every day.
I’m looking forward to these next 2 weeks. I’m looking forward to working with the whole Hothouse team on this project. The shows are from 9th-11th November at 6.30pm and 8.30pm and you can get tickets from The Albany. Come and discover what the future of Deptford may look like. We’d love to see you there.
Think that’s all for now.
Jess (for Uninvited Guests)