Quest & Gathering
Part Quest, part Gathering, Beacons explores new ways of reaching audiences and embedding story in landscape, culminating in a collectively created light installation on the beach. It seeks to address social inequalities and responds to the climate crisis by invoking a sense of shared responsibility and joyfulness in our community and the natural world.
One hundred ancient sea gooseberries have washed ashore from the past and become stranded in the landscape during a storm. They need our help to find and reunite them, via a Quest that engages with places and people around the landscape of the town, co-built by the local community through a 9 month program of workshops and conversations. The gooseberries light up when they are found and are taken home to be cared for by their finder, until after 3 weeks, the signal to assemble is given - the gooseberries must be brought to the beach, where they will share their secrets with us in an epic performance of light and sound.
Alison worked with composer Emily Peasgood to create the voices of the sea gooseberries, drawing on ancient texts and composing a site responsive score that embeds in the landscape and community of Folkestone and then tours to other seaside towns around the country. The music was performed live by 6 local singers, and carefully crafted to work with a co-created choreography on the beach, where the sea gooseberries and their finders become a moving light installation with echoes of ancient ceremony and rituals of togetherness. Creative technologist Tarim created the gooseberry magic, and built our interactive website map alongside Ellie Foreman.
We worked with many local businesses and organisations to make the project a success, including Kent Refugee Action Network, Kent Libraries, Folkestone Quarterhouse, and Kent Wildlife Trust. The work was produced by SparkedEcho & Creative Folkestone.
Beacons came to Folkestone in Autumn 2021, after 4 years of development work. The gooseberries also appeared at Cheriton Light Festival in 2019, where they were seen by over 3000 people. The project was funded by Arts Council England, Kent Arts Investment Fund, PRS Foundation, Ashley Family Foundation, and Help Musicians UK.