Smugglers, Seafarers, Shantymen (and a lost cow)
Note: Decuman was one of the Celtic saints who came to Somerset from South Wales in the seventh century, arriving on a raft (or his cloak) with a cow for a companion. There he was a pastor and physician to the local inhabitants.
We will create a community arts extravaganza using the story of St. Decuman (and his cow) to take audiences on a journey through time from 706 to 2022.
This will be a site-specific extravaganza; part farce, part festival-esque performance.
It’ll combine live music, rich visuals, large scale set pieces, large puppets and lots of costume. It will involve storytelling shaped by historical accounts and modern-day interpretation and reflection from the communities own-words.
It will be made by and for the people of Watchet and surrounding areas, bringing all of the community together in a spec tacular way.
As well as creating the performance, the build up to the show will seek to reach as many members of the community as possible:
● Creating and teaching a shared shanty for Watchet which can be sung at the final extravaganza ● Pre-show project in which members of the community will take part in a secret santa style cow exchange. Com munity groups, schools, shops etc will be encouraged to create, exchange and display cows around the town
St. Decuman will arrive in Watchet harbour, on a coracle, looking for his cow.
He soon discovers, through interactions with the local people, that things in Watchet are not all that they seem.
With a professional actor in the role of St. Decuman and a troupe of small-scale & large-scale ensemble performance moments, working with the existing skills, professions and interests of the wider community, the audience will follow St. Decuman through a journey of Watchet’s maritime past and present.
In his search for his dairy-dwelling friend, the supposedly knowing St. Decuman is forced to search deeper within himself to challenge his preconceptions and help solve the conflicts that plague the cursed community.
Sometimes the answers, like the cow, are right under our nose!
Community, The Sea, Belonging, Resistance, Loyalty, Loss, Love
The audience will begin their journey with the project several months prior to the final extravaganza. They may be in volved in one of the preliminary activities including the production of ‘Cows’ or learning of the commissioned Shanty. They may also be involved with a specific section of co-created material as part of their community group. These collaborative experiences will tie the participants intimately to the project; giving them a powerful experience of togetherness and build ing excitement towards the final extravaganza.
The extravaganza itself will take audiences on a journey of maritime and cultural history that links Watchet’s past and present. Following the journey of St Dec and his cow will provide an irreverent and compelling narrative that audiences of all ages will be able to enjoy. The careful choice of local reference points (cultural, historical, geographic) and their playful inclusion will ensure accessibility both for those with an existing knowledge of the area and those without. In doing so, the extravaganza’s interaction with the East Quay site and wider Harbour/Marina area will draw upon the audiences existing knowledge of place and in turn write new memories onto them for the wider community to share.
Our aim is that this leaves a lasting impact on all audience members regardless of their level of engagement and reflects positively on the town and its aspirations.