What I did last summer part 2

25 Sep

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Devizes Festival. A brilliant example of how a market town comes alive with a well-run two week set of events. This is where I encountered the iron man and became a spider minion.

I’m very into carnivals, always have been. Loved making slightly rubbish fancy dress outfits and strutting my stuff in the parade. Now I’ve got kids to make costumes for and fortunately they love it.

This year we took part in the Devizes Festival makers workshops. Me and Milo (aged eight) made our colourful feather head dresses then went back a couple of days later to work on a giant spider.

A family had already been there a day and a half. I think they slept in between. Whether they had planned to do it the whole two plus days I didn’t ask but they were loving putting together the willow and paper structure to create a huge black arachnid – the kind you find scuttling around in the bath. Well you do in our house, though fortunately a lot, lot smaller.

In the procession we donned our outfits (I made Milo a shiny silky orange jump suit to go with his head dress, the kind of thing you can only get away with when you are eight or are part of Legs & Co) and helped carry the spider, moving its articulated legs.

And I managed to beat myself into first place; the spider cleaned up but my toddler Sydney (I made her a ‘Naughty and Nice’ devil/angel outfit) didn’t win anything. I didn’t realise she’d be in the same category as our eight legged monster. D’oh!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The week before the carnival was the Street Festival, which, really, all Devizes inhabitants should say to non-Devizes people: ‘well of course I come from Devizes, you know, the one with the amazing street festival’.

Monday of the festival was so rainy it was for hardcore fans only plus parents desperate for something to do on the penultimate week of the school hols. But on Sunday I saw Greaea (another integrated company) who brought their immense Iron Man, a fully engineered house-high puppet. I loved the spectacle but it was difficult to hear the actors due to the sound system not quite being up to it. (Which was ironic as it was signed so deaf audiences could follow the action.) Integrated companies do seem to be where it’s at – imaginative, cutting edge and entertainment with a wide appeal.

Not sure about the Saturday location on Devizes Green. Street theatre really works best on a street, being discovered around nooks and corners which Devizes has a lot of. In a big open space it feels like there is less happening and the impact is diminished. I’m really glad the street festival is two days now, but hope that next year all the fun is in the town centre.

Written by Louisa Davison.

2 Responses to “What I did last summer part 2”

  1. 79nexus 4th Nov 2014 at 11:37 pm #

    I have been there, too. Held a spiders leg, too. http://79nexus.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/dancing-spider/
    and in costume after a spiders walk through Devizes:

    • Festival Chronicler 8th Nov 2014 at 9:55 pm #

      We must have been different sides of the same spider. Or did it brave the light and scuttle out once more in Devizes, looking for Frodo?

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