Part Quest, part Performance, Beacons took place across a whole month in Folkestone in 2021, inviting audiences to seek out adventures and new encounters, before culminating in a co-built display of light and sound that could only work if the audience played their part. The story of eco-system interdependence was told through the physical shape of the work.

“The Sea Gooseberries come and go with the tides, ancient messengers washing ashore in times of need. But since the balance between humans and the rest of the ecosystem has been upset, their song is fading and they need us to work together to restore their magic”

In November 2021 the Sea Gooseberries arrived in Folkestone, seeking refuge in local businesses, public spaces, and the surrounding countryside.  They waited for us to find them by following clues using interactive online and paper maps, uncovering boxes filled with community-gathered wisdoms and fragments of the Song of the Sea Gooseberries. Audiences then hosted the Sea Gooseberries in their homes, until it was time to reunite them on a misty beach as part of a magical participatory light installation woven with live acapella song that harked back to ancient community rituals and celebrated our connections to each other and the natural world.

Beacons was an experiment in participatory scenography, using game-like processes and tactile invitations to welcome new audiences to participate in creative activity and more deeply discover their local environment. The two-year, site-responsive process was supported by a network of local Guardians and Hosts who co-built the story on a grassroots level.

Created by Alison Neighbour with collaborators Emily Peasgood (music); Tarim (electronics and website design); and the community of Folkestone, Hythe & Romney Marsh. Produced by SparkedEcho and Creative Folkestone. Full credits at the end of the film. 

Alison Neighbour –