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Art and Icknield
The grounds of Basildon Park, a Palladian-style country house in Lower Basildon near Reading, are the setting for Wayfaring, a free outdoor installation and performance created by artists Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby, who work together as And Now:
Co-commissioned by the Corn Exchange in Newbury, Wayfaring is an artistic journey of exploration, inspired by the landscape and ancient routes of the Icknield Way, a pre-Roman pathway from north Norfolk to the Dorset coast. Basildon Park, where the North Wessex Downs meets the Chilterns, sits on the edge of the route.
Usually visitors pay to enter Basildon Park’s beautiful parklands – but on 18, 19 and 20 July between 10am to 5pm they can go in for free. Once in the park, they can journey through – and contribute to – artwork being crafted from local and found materials by Mandy, Ben and their team and a group of local volunteers.
On the evening of Saturday 21 July from 7pm, fire, pyrotechnics, live music and performance will transform the installation in a rousing celebration. The audience will play an active part in Wayfaring – walking, looking, listening, maybe even singing.
Mandy and Ben were drawn to Basildon Park for a number of reasons – the eccentric history and beautiful architecture of the grand house; the landscape of the grounds with its hills, woods and open fields; the rides and vistas of the chalk ridge; and the ‘conscious aesthetic’ of the landscaping.
They particularly welcomed the opportunity to work side-by-side with Basildon Park’s groundsman.
Basildon Park’s General Manager Rob Hayes says: “The artwork is a great opportunity to encourage more local people to engage with the parkland and the outdoors in a new and interesting way.”
Wayfaring is the culmination of a three-year artistic and heritage collaboration between And Now:, producers Activate and the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Basildon Park residency is supported by the 101 Creation Centre at Corn Exchange, Newbury.
The North Wessex Downs AONB is funding access to the parklands for local school children. Director Henry Oliver says: “The North Wessex Downs AONB is proud to be a supporting partner of the Wayfaring project. Through Wayfaring we hope to inspire everyone, but particularly children, to think about and discover how this beautiful landscape has shaped our evolution over thousands of years.”
Open Gardens for NGS
• 1-2 July, The Old Rectory, Newbury, RG20 0AL
• 8 July, Deepwood Stud Farm, Nr Maidenhead, SL6 6QW, tel: 01628 822684; The Harris Garden, Reading, RG6 6LA; West Silchester Hall, Silchester, RG7 2LX, tel: 01189 700278
• 8 July, West Mills Allotments & Island Cottage, Newbury, RG14 5HT
7-8 July, Peter Pan Jr.; 13-15 July, Return to The Forbidden Planet
The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, tel: 01635 46044
Until 21 July, Jerusalem; 26 July – 15 September, Sweet Charity
The Corn Exchange & New Greenham Arts, tel: 08455 218218
5-7 July, What the Moon Saw; 18 July, RSC Live: Romeo and Juliet; 19-20 July, Little Baby Bum Live; 21 July, UK Pink Floyd Experience; 28 July, Of Rags and Bones; 28-29 July, Andre Rieu’s 2018 Maastricht Concert
Theatre Royal Windsor, tel: 01753 853888
3-7 July, Relatively Speaking; 10-14 July, Fatal Encounter; 15 July, Heidi Rhodes School of Dance; 17-21 July, Lloyd George Knew My Father; 24-28 July, The Dresser; 29 July, Showaddywaddy
Royal Windsor Racecourse, tel: 01753 498400
2 July, Ronnie Scott Live
Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, tel: 01183 788660
4-7 July, The Great Gatsby; 18 July, RSC Live: Romeo and Juliet; 21 July, Laurie Holloway in Concert with Students of 2018; 29 July, Glyndebourne: Saul
South Hill Park, tel: 01344 484123
Until 1 July Legally Blonde – The Musical; 5 July, Forever in Blue Jeans; 6 July, Bracknell Jazz – Whitehead/Woods; 8 July, West Forest Sinfonia; 20 July, The Supertonics Big Swing Band, Summer Concert; 25 July, A Midsummer Night’s Dream