A magical installation and performance inspired by the landscapes of the Icknield Way - FREE event
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 running 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 - an artwork being crafted from local and found materials by Mandy, Ben and their team and a group of local volunteers. Local schoolchildren will also be getting involved in the making of Wayfaring.
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: “Hosting Wayfaring at Basildon Park is extremely exciting for us. By partnering with the artists and other local organisations, we hope to welcome a diverse range of audiences from local communities around the North Wessex Downs and Newbury areas who perhaps haven’t visited us before. 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 and enjoy the benefits of spending time in nature.”
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. This will be achieved via a schools engagement programme focused around the art installation, as well as reaching out to all those enjoying the North Wessex Downs.”
Simon Chatterton, head of outdoor arts at the Corn Exchange, Newbury, says: “This event is an exciting opportunity for us to create an amazing journey for audiences in a very special location. We are delighted to be able to work with the AONB partners and Activate in Dorset. We hope that this project will provide a stepping stone to other ways to transform natural locations with imaginative arts events."
Installation: from 18 to 21 July See the Call to Volunteers to help set up and run this FREE Community event
Performance: Saturday 21 July at 8.30pm FREE entry but Booking essential: Click here to book