When: 22nd November – 18th December 2016
Where: Red House, Red House Lane, Bexleyheath, London DA6 8JF
£: Tickets cost £25
What is it?
This winter, visitors are invited to experience some immersive theatre at the National Trust’s Red House in Bexleyheath. The Red House was the arts and crafts home of textile designer William Morris.
Palimpsest, a theatre company who specialise in multi-media theatre for historic houses, will present If I Can at the Red House from Tuesday 22nd November to Sunday 18th December.
If I Can will embody the dark and gothic edge of William Morris and his circle. Atmospheric, ghostly and unspeakably sad, If I Can is a narrative poem, fusing the poetry and prose of the Pre-Raphaelites who built and developed Red House.
Prepare to encounter themes of loss and longing in the 1860s, as this sensory drama is presented through an innovative new form, with Palimpsest actors in character and costume.
With the house bedecked for a candlelit Arts and Crafts Christmas, audiences can explore a range of tales, roaming freely throughout the enclave. From Morris’ love story with Jane Burden, to Lizzie Siddal’s depression and suicide, choose the journey as the house comes to life and gives up its tales and secrets.
In 1859, the site for Red House was surrounded by orchards and market gardens and William Morris was drawn to the gentle Kentish landscape around. He engaged Philip Webb to build the house which was Webb’s first independent commission. The result was a highly successful blend of Morris’ romantic vision and Webb’s practical common sense, with a shared youthful exuberance and desire to experiment. The iconic red brick house under a steep tiled roof contains many original features, including items of fixed furniture designed by Morris and Webb, as well as paintings and stained glass by Edward Burne-Jones.
The need for William Morris to decorate his iconic red brick house prompted him to found ‘Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co’ in 1861. ‘The firm’ spread the example of what he and architect Philip Webb had created across the world, and gave practical expression to Morris’ words which then – and now – embodied the spirit of the Arts and Crafts Movement, ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’.
If I Can is written by Katherine Tozer for Palimpsest, with music and sound by John Chambers.