ritten almost 650 years ago by William Langland, Piers Plowman enters the mind of a wanderer, Will, as he falls asleep in the Malvern Hills, dreams of a ‘fair field full of folk’ and embarks on a quest to find Truth. Conceived and produced by multi-award-winning arts company Penned in the Margins, Fair Field re-imagined Piers Plowman for the twenty-first century through site-responsive performances, an exhibition at the National Poetry Library, a series of podcasts, educational workshops and more. Fair Field invites you to enter the psychedelic dreamscape of Piers Plowman — to explore a world of inequality, political corruption and spiritual crisis that is uncannily like our own.
At the heart of Fair Field was a series of live performances that brought Piers Plowman alive through music, theatre and spoken word. Created through innovative collaborations between some of the UK’s most talented artists and writers, this unique staging was presented over two weekends in the poem’s key locations: the Malvern Hills (30 June-1 July) and London (7-8 July). Audiences followed Will’s journey as he slipped between waking and dreaming, between the fourteenth century and today, and encountered a cast of characters from Conscience to Gluttony.
Visitors to London’s Southbank Centre could discover more about medieval poetry at an accompanying exhibition at the National Poetry Library (11 May-9 July 2017); creative writers studied ‘how to write medieval’ in our online course with the Poetry School; and online audiences immersed themselves in the world of Piers Plowman through blogs, essays, interviews and multimedia.
Fair Field was commissioned by Ledbury Poetry Festival and Shoreditch Town Hall, and supported by Arts Council England, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and King’s College London.
We are indebted to individual givers who raised over £4,000 towards the project via our Crowdfunder campaign. In particular those who:
Alex Preston, Amaan Hyder, Amber Massie-Blomfield, Angela France, Anne Playle, Anthony Bale, Bethan Kilfoil, Chris Gribble, Chris Larkin, Claire Murphy-Morgan, Gavin Stewart, Jarred McGinnis, Jeremy Osborne, Malcolm Chillcott, Meryl Pugh, Miriam Patrick, Niall Munro, Owen Davies, Rachel Piercey, Rishi Dastidar, Rob Spence, Rosemary’s Sealpup, Sam Hawkins, Sarah Hesketh, Sarah Hymas, Sherry Neyhus, Siddhartha Bose, Simon Barraclough, Sirius Gibson, Stephen Page, Susannah Herbert
Alison Sheppard, Carolyne Larrington, Jim McGuinness, Julia Payne, Lydia Macpherson, Paul Cann, Stephanie Dilworth, Susie Cello, Victoria Whitworth
Alex McGann, Bethany Burrow, Chris Chivers, Christopher Cook, David Cook, Gay Cheyne, Kevin McGann, Geraldine Terry, Dr I & Mrs A Dustagheer, Jeff Garner, Justin Rumsby, Lawrence Warner, Martin & Sue McGann, Ned Donovan, Roy Richards, Tim Cresswell
We are grateful to a number of individuals and organisations for facilitating and providing support-in-kind for the project: Beck Baker at The Malvern Hills Trust, Robert Yeoman at Ledbury Places/Ledbury Youth Activities, Alison at The Brewer’s Arms in West Malvern, Earl Robinson at St Katherine’s, St Michael & All Angels Ledbury, Angela Craft and Maria Castrillo at Senate House Library, Rev. Paul Turp and Robin T. Hatton-Gore at St Leonard’s Shoreditch, Chris McCabe and his colleagues at The National Poetry Library, Jason Phipps at The Guardian, Bernadette Russell, Julia Bird and Will Barrett at The Poetry School, Nick Murray and the team at Chisenhale Dance Space.