June is here and we’re delighted to welcome artist, performer, curator and Associate Director of WildWorks Sue Hill as our Ambassador of the Month. Sue was born and educated in Cornwall and has worked with numerous companies from Kneehigh to the Eden Project. She has a particular interest in the role of culture and art in building and sustaining communities and we couldn’t wait for her to share some of her wonderful work and experiences. When you’ve finished reading, make sure you have a look at Wildworks’ latest project 100: UNEARTH
Image: Thom Axon
Sue Hill / WildWorks / Redruth
Crikey, here’s a list… Created the Mudmaid and the Giant at Heligan with my brother, re-imagined Tom Bawcock’s Eve in Mousehole and Mazey Day in Penzance with Anna Murphy, performed in Kneehigh shows at Trelissick, Trelowarren, Minack, Sterts, HfC, National Theatre, founder member of WildWorks, making site specific theatre in Cornwall and beyond, Artistic Director at Eden, commissioning Cornish artists, designed the head of the Man Engine…
The email event listing is a great roundup of what’s happening. I often pick up a show or exhibition that I’ve somehow missed.
Impossible to choose! A night sail back from the Pandora Inn, with flashes of phosphorescence at bow and stern. My first kiss on top of Carn Brea. Waiting to make an entrance in ‘Tregeagle’ at the Minack with waves crashing into the zawn below. Midnight on New Year’s Eve in St Ives in fancy dress with Bill (he was the Invisible Man, I was Cruella de Vil). Playing with mud all summer with my brother at Heligan. Watching the eclipse at Godrevy in 1999 seeing thousands of camera flashes fire around the bay as the sky grew dark. Waking in the Tropics Biome at dawn the day Eden opened. The cast and audience howling for Bill every night at the end of ‘Wolf’s Child’ last year…
On a sunny day, a swim and bask at the wonderful Jubilee Pool in Penzance, followed by a visit to Tremenheere Sculpture Garden (I love the David Nash sculpture, Billy Wynter’s camera obscura and Penny Saunders’ Restless Temple). Then evening on any west-facing beach watching the sun go down with my family and a picnic. On a mizzly day I could spend all day tucked up in a comfy leather armchair in Morrab Library, with a stack of books, followed by supper and a movie at the Newlyn Filmhouse.
I need a lot of tickets. I would like some of the amazing young artists I have worked with in far flung places, to come to Cornwall – the Hiphop Parliament from Kibera in Kenya, the artists from VAST in Thimpu, Bhutan, the Visioni y Paces artists from Kosovo, the puppeteers from the Barefoot College in Rajasthan. We’d go in a big tribe to see Kneehigh at the Asylum. And I guess there would be quite a party afterwards…
Site specific theatre means you get to perform in some very eccentric places – in a graveyard, fifteen feet up a tree, in a cage suspended from a crane, up to my waist in the sea. But I think the most surreal was showing a tiny candlelit shadow play to a group of Samburu warriors inside a goatskin tent in the Rift Valley.
It has to be the Eden Sessions; world class music – the likes of Sigur Ros, Bjork, Elbow – in a beautiful arena, but on a more intimate scale than the big festivals where they normally play.
Up the hill behind my house to Wheal Uny, twin mine stacks that speak of our history of wealth from tin and copper, then across to the ruined stamps building at Seleggan that looks like a monastery, and back along the coombe through St Euny Churchyard to visit Bill, then home.
Heligan is marvellous, they grow lots of their ingredients so they’re super-fresh; beautifully prepared salads and sumptuous cakes (my favourite’s the pineapple cake). Bill and I would often treat ourselves to lunch at Oliver’s, a great family-run restaurant in Falmouth, or go for a feast of shellfish at the Wheelhouse, also in Falmouth.
I’m very drawn to Cornish churchyards, they’re such beautiful atmospheric places, treasure troves of stories. They’re great nature sanctuaries too, the birdsong at dusk is magical. St Levan, Paul, St Kew, St Euny, Zennor, Gwennap, all have interesting stones. And last week I was taken to Falmouth Cemetery above Swanpool, full of mariners and war graves.
The Constantine Stores. At first glance it looks like a normal village shop – tins of beans, packets of cereal, postcards. But explore further and it opens into an extraordinary grotto of wine and spirits. A thousand wines, hundreds of whiskies, rums, ports and sherries, strange liqueurs from all over the world (that weird pink stuff made of prickly pear?), some jaw-droppingly ancient (and expensive!) cognac.
The island of Ikaria in Greece. Bill and I didn’t get to take many holidays, but this was the best ever. A wild, unspoilt island with rushy ravines and white stone beaches. The islanders are fiercely independent, descendants of the rebels exiled here by the Colonels. They live remarkably long lives, eating lots of tomatoes and goat meat, and drinking a particularly punchy red wine.
My favourite Cornish town? Redruth of course! It’s a brilliant place to live – it still has proper shops, (butcher, baker, greengrocer, sewing shop, chemist), a great independent cinema, extraordinary architecture from its days as the centre of mining wealth, six antique/junk shops, the Idler secondhand bookshop, Krowji with all its arts activity, and stupendous walking country around – Carn Brea, Carn Marth, the Mineral Tramways. And soon we’ll have Kresenn Kernow to explore, Cornwall’s new Archive Centre.