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The Boathouse Studios, a natural place for ceremonies

When we first set up the Boathouse Studios 10 years ago, it really was an adventure. For many years before when I was leading Arc Theatre in the same building, I had dreamed of evolving it into a dynamic space, home to individual and collective imagination and creativity. 

Influenced by the work of the theatre director Peter Brook’s idea of an Empty Space, I wanted the studios to offer artists and local people somewhere to experiment, try things out and transform ideas. As part of this I also wanted to experiment with the studios to create a ceremony space for significant life moments and transitions.When space and creative ritual meet there is an opportunity for something deeply human and connecting to happen. 

At the start of May we hosted a very moving and beautiful memorial for a local family whose brother had recently died and had not had a funeral. I was privileged to co-create a ceremony with them, which wove together stories, songs, poetry and the haunting music of Jelle, a traditional Ghanaian kora musician. We transformed the studios into a sacred ceremony space that allowed everyone to feel part of a significant rite of passage. George’s ashes in a beautiful blue ceramic urn were tenderly carried in by his younger brother, the colour reminiscent of the river Win. The urn was placed centrally on a brightly coloured kente cloth.  It was beautiful and uplifting, and we made meaning through the ritual laying of yellow roses, the symbol of sunshine that typified the brother we were remembering, The sun shone through the studio windows and there was a feeling of peace, calm and community in the studio. 

Carole Pluckrose (Artistic Director/CEO) Boathouse Studios Barking CIC.


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