The Back Story
(Yvonne Levy) In January 2017, a pair of swans arrived in Brockwell Park, London. By May, they had taken up residence on a very small island, booted out the geese, constructed a large untidy nest, and laid eggs. Or at least, we assumed there were eggs as the female sat on the nest, apparently never leaving it, for many weeks while the male patrolled the water, fending off all potential enemies. Mini crowds gathered every day, comparing notes and eagerly anticipating the arrival of the cygnets. The most unlikely people talked to each other and bonded over the impending “birth”. This was the first swan family to appear in Brockwell Park for 30 years! More than a year later, the swans are still connecting people of every possible background. You cannot visit the park without talking about the latest developments. The day the first cygnets were spotted was a day of huge excitement. There were seven fluffy babies and cameras and mobiles clicked and clicked. Since then, the cygnets have grown up. Two of the seven disappeared, presumed to have been gobbled by the ever-present heron or a fox. There are umpteen stories told about the swans. Comedy, tragedy, drama of every possible kind involving humans as well as animal life. A flying practice which ended in two cygnets failing to make it back to their resident pond and ending up in a lower pond. One, a week after the faulty landing, somehow made it back to join his or her siblings only to be isolated and abused by its parents. “You left home. We’ve let your room so off you go!” A concerned park-goer called The Swan Sanctuary. They relocated it to a larger water space inhabited by other friendly juveniles where the swan was released. Since then all five surviving juveniles have been relocated. The idea was to devise a performance around the swan story but with universal themes of, for example, birth and death, migration, arrival, family life, rejection, growing up, gaining independence, love, caring … The Ǝncore Theatre Company has devised a performance around these themes which we hoped would intrigue and entertain. And maybe make you laugh and cry!
Performed at the Theatre Peckham Wednesday 30th May 19:30 Thursday 31st May 14:30 & 19:30
Written and performed by members of the Ǝncore Theatre Company Judith Bevan; Jeanie Deane; Donald Elliott; Cathy Jeffrey; Yvonne Levy; Angie McIntosh; Sandra Melville; Viv Peyton; Richard Russell; and Jenni Wredden
Director Javier Mora (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Assistant Director Benjamin Gunn (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Assistant Director Becky Turner (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama) Producer Keiron Spires (Ǝncore Theatre Company)
With special thanks to The Swan Sanctuary; Bianca Ioannides, Sam Aimson & Becky Turner for help with video; and for inspiration: Seasons March by Pina Bausch.
See our write up in the South London Press.
The 2019 production took place at The Half Moon,10 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, London,SE24 9HU, on March 12th. We had two performances. It was quite a different venue and we had to adapt the production quite a lot.
Performed by: Nina Ezra, Viv Peyton, Ann El Mahjoub, Angie McIntosh, Anna Brown, Donald Elliott, Richard Russell, Judith Bevan, Yvonne Levy, Jeanie Deane, Sean Kibbey, Sandra Melville, Mario El Mahjoub
Director: Valentina Rosati (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)
Producer: Keiron Spires (Ǝncore Theatre Company)