Caroline’s performance-based research is the creation of new site-specific music and drama pieces in the setting of Heaton Hall and Park, north Manchester. The focus is the development and professional performance of two pieces of national significance created with a distinctive aesthetic style for Heaton Hall and Park.
Commissioned and directed by Caroline, Whispers of Heaton was performed in 2016 and These Days – The Manchester Peace Song Cycle, (Song Cycle) in 2018 – 2019. Alongside this, is the creation of special Remembrance Events in 2016 to 2019 which are now embedded in the annual cultural calendar of Heaton Park.
Two crucial questions permeate Caroline’s research:
- Is it possible to create an interpretive audience for the work by employing meaningful ways in which they can engage with culture in the park on a regular basis thereby encouraging a sense of agency and of being valued?
- Can site-specific methodology be challenged to develop a specific paradigm for Heaton Park as a ‘living site’ working alongside a ‘daily performance function’ (Foucault) of this multi-functioning municipal park.
Caroline’s work celebrates Heaton Park’s past, present and looks to the future. Through professional methodology and the use of applied theatre practices the work fuses music, drama, dance, and poetry to form a cohesive whole. The work promenades through indoor and outdoor locations finding new ways to connect acoustically, acousmatically and visually. In the final stages of her PhD Caroline is exploring the notion of how a site-specific piece can be re-located in order to extend and enhance site-specificity thereby questioning the hypothesis that site-specific pieces are inseparable from their original location.
As reflective case studies Caroline created a further four professional productions which were performed between 2016 – 2019 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Ghost Story, Marvellous Music of Heaton and Romeo and Juliet), and alongside the two major works contributed to the development of her new paradigm for Heaton Park.
Caroline is a theatre and opera director with over 30 years’ experience and is the founder and artistic director and producer of Feelgood Theatre Productions.