About eighteen months ago (summer 2011) I went to The Grange, Pugin’s house in Ramsgate, Kent on one of its infrequent open days; it is now owned by the Landmark Trust. I knew practically nothing about AWN Pugin. The house is remarkable and yet quite unremarkable. I was intrigued. I embarked on a personal mission to find out more. One of the things I found out was that Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was born in 1812, a year regarded by many as the worst year in British history. Wars, riots, poor crops, disease, a country almost bankrupt, a mad king and a world that was changing more rapidly than the institutions that ran the British Isles could cope with. Over the next forty years Pugin was widowed twice, shipwrecked, bankrupted, built the first Cathedral in Britain since Christopher Wren, went mad, died at the age of forty and yet still managed to change the face of Britain. I decided that here was an extraordinary story that needed telling and, as I create theatre, I should make a play. Easy.
No, not easy! His story is huge. His achievements were huge. His character was huge. The changing world he lived in was huge. The play therefore has to be huge. So, once again, I embarked, this time, on a journey to discover how to make a piece of theatre that would do justice to this huge character from British history. This began in earnest at the beginning of this year (2012) and, ten months later (as I write this) I still have a long way to travel. But, as someone said and I can’t remember who, it is the journey that is important and not the arriving at your destination; the Arts Council who have partially funded this project may, of course, disagree.
It is a journey that has no map, no Sat Nav, no plan, there are no directions marked, no sign-posts … it is a journey that, like many a country road, meanders, often without rhyme nor reason, towards … who knows where, or what, or when, or occasionally, why! It has been so far, a journey of self-discovery; a journey of truth, of beauty; a journey of frustration, surmise, fact, fiction; a journey of joy and tears, even of anger; it has been a journey of fatigue, love, contemplation, belief, disbelief, and I still have no idea of how close I am to the finishing line, or even if there is a finishing line … it is a journey into the joyous unknown.
As I’ve travelled I have pulled-over into many artistic lay-bys, filled up at knowledge supplying roadside cafes, been emotionally repaired in wayside garages, even pulled out of ditches of despair by friendly locals … I have limped towards service stations with my belief-in-myself gauge registering empty, I have discovered wonderment and trust in the least expected places and … the journey is still uncompleted.
This is not a journey log-blog, or a diary-blog: it is the blog of a traveller mid-journey sharing his thoughts, musings, stories and the occasional fact with whoever is interested. So, peruse these pages and posts at your leisure … and enjoy!
Home … this will take you home.
Red Sky at Night, Shepherds Pie … this will take you to a beautiful spot.
The Blog … you know where this goes.
Tickets and Other Things … this will take you to a place where various things can be purchased with the currency of the realm.