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Beneath The Boughs Of The Calling Tree

An artistic celebration of community spirit centred around an iconic oak tree in Bruce Castle Park.

The Calling Tree
The oak tree in Bruce Castle Park. Photo: Ray Jacobs.
Walking through Bruce Castle Park, it’s hard to imagine it 500 years ago. If the trees could speak, what stories would they tell?

Artists Rosemary Lee and Simon Whitehead are preparing for a series of cyclical performances called Calling Tree. They have been meeting people from many walks of life, all of whom live a stone’s throw away from the five-century old oak tree in the heart of Bruce Castle Park.

Events at the calling tree
Activities at the Calling Tree. Photo: Ray Jacobs.

Calling Tree is LIFT’s 2016 festival and part of a month-long celebration in London of theatre from around the globe. It will see aerialists, singers and performers dip in and out of the canopy, filling it with bird-like calls, song, messages and movement.

Rosemary says “I have met so many inspiring people – of all ages, from all around the world – thanks to this beautiful historic tree in the heart of Tottenham. Its long boughs reach out to communities in all directions. I hope that people will come from near and far to see what we have created together for this iconic oak tree.”

The tree will also shade evening and daytime events, which are all celebrating the place it holds within the community. The event has been developed through conversations with various groups across Tottenham.

A particular event I have my eye on is Beneath the Boughs, an evening of spoken word and music featuring former UK Poetry Slam Champion and esteemed poet Deanna Rodger.

Deanna is also running workshops with students at Risley Avenue and Lancasterian Primary Schools. You might just make out these Tottenham pupils’ penned efforts emanating from the tree’s branches during the performances…

With ornithology and urban ecology walks, plus choir performances and more, it feels like an obvious choice for a (hopefully) sunny Saturday stroll.

Words: Selma Willcocks
Photos: Ray Jacobs

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Calling Tree, produced by Artsadmin, takes place in Bruce Castle Park from 30 June to 2 July, with daily performances from 4pm to 8pm.
Visit the Artsadmin website for a full run-down of activities. All events are free of charge.

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