Brighton Festival Hot Seat… For the Birds
We caught up with Jony Easterby, lead artist and Producer of For the Birds on the immersive night-time adventure he is exclusively bringing to Brighton Festival 2017
How and where will the work be staged?
For the Birds is an immersive walk through a secret woodland location in Brighton. Within that landscape we are going to be placing various different sound and light installations which you will be able to discover. All the installations share a common theme which is based around our observations and love for birds and all things avian. So, flight, bird-song, movement and other narratives based around extinction and migrations, but also a celebration of their life and beauty.
Why should someone come and see your show?
One of the unique things about the show is that we have a lot of separate pieces, which are actually quite small, intimate works but added together they actually create a large landscape composition. As you move around the site sometimes you find yourself by yourself and then you might turn around the corner and then be with a crowd experiencing something quite magical. You will hear sounds come from near, from far, you’ll be able to get up very close to the work as well. We hope everyone is going to enjoy it as much as we do.
Where did the idea and inspiration come from?
The idea for the work actually came from quite a dark place in a way. I had been working as part of a research project up at the Centre for Alternative Technology to try and address ideas on environmental change, climate change, degradation of landscapes and extinction stories and I realised that if I concentrated too much on the negative aspects of things then I was startling myself in to non-activity. So, the bird narrative arose out of a way of actually both celebrating nature but also identifying that birds are really an indicator of the health of our own humanity and our planet and the way that we treat it. They literally are the canary in our coal mines.
What do you hope the audience will take away from the piece?
I’m hoping it will allow people to take away a sense of wonder and joy that we felt as we’ve been creating the work. I also want people to feel that sense of togetherness and conviviality — the way that people are drawn together to come and experience something communally, which is a really rare and beautiful thing to find in this day and age.
Finally, what does it mean to you to be a part of Brighton Festival?
Well to be a part of Brighton Festival for me is a real privilege. I’ve got almost a 30-year history of working in Brighton — the very first piece of theatre that I created was in 1987 after the great storm with a Brighton based company called Red Earth in Stanmer woods. So, to come back to Brighton for Brighton Festival is a fantastic sort of creative homecoming for me.