Performing Wild Geographies refers to two workshops delivered by Karen Christopher, exploring the potential of performative interventions in wild landscapes. The workshops were oriented toward an interdisciplinary group interested in re-wilding as a concept and as a reality in the service of regenerating ecosystems.
“Performing Wild Geographies” is a name that Dr. David Overend, theatre artist and [then] lecturer in Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London, gave to a series of events he organised (with Jamie Lorimer, Geography, University of Oxford, and Danielle Schreve, Quaternary Science, RHUL) and for which he invited Karen to offer workshops.
The first event was a two-day creative retreat at the ‘re-wilded’ Knepp Castle Estate in West Sussex. Hosted by Isabella Tree and Sir Charles Burrell, a disparate group of academics, artists and conservationists gathered to explore the potential of performance in the context of the re-wilding initiatives at Knepp, and to consider how we might work together to build a bigger project. The event included presentations on re-wilding, performance and conservation, a creative walk around the 3,500 acre estate, a performance-making workshop, and discussion about future directions for new projects, including opportunities for research and public engagement. The event included two nights accommodation in Knepp’s unique yurts and shepherds huts at the edge of the Estate’s ancient woodland. Meals were provided, including local and organic food.
The second was a workshop for a large group of MA students at Royal Holloway, University of London. This included courses in Drama (contemporary performance, playwriting and the new directing course), and also students from Quaternary Science and Cultural Geography. This workshop included Karen’s usual collaborative and generative methods and tasks for making performance works, with additional elements involving working with participants across disparate disciplines with a focus on learning from each other, public engagement for the scientists, and working with specialist knowledge for the artists.