A powerful new film is celebrating an extraordinary gathering that took place in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) last month. Artists and community groups from around the region came together on June 11th, as part of a nationwide project called Green Space Dark Skies, led by Walk the Plank as part of the UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK festival.

Together, they explored Dorset’s extraordinary landscape by making a magical journey at dusk. Across a stunning tableau of poetry & performance, music & dance and low impact light art they created something truly remarkable. This gathering was captured and is now released as a film available to watch

(c) Walk The Plank, Phil Young

The new film opens with dramatic and unusual shots of Dorset’s landscape, telling the story of its heritage and natural beauty. Shot in early summer, wildflowers and shades of green show a place that is bursting with life and balances animal life with human endeavour.

Throughout its six minute length, the film’s energy shows how Green Space Dark Skies brought diverse groups together – the low impact lights showing the joy & delight on participant’s faces.

The gathering’s stunning choreography is captured in the film, the Dorset sunset inspiring movement of people across the landscape on a truly epic scale.

(c) Walk The Plank, Phil Young

Dorset-based Activate Performing Arts work around the South West and exist to uplift and connect people by bringing extraordinary events to unexpected places. Kate Wood, the organisation’s executive and artistic director said:

“We were so pleased to work with such a wonderful team, the artists, production, volunteers and participants who made the event a real success. You can see the joy reflected in the film. The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a truly inspiring landscape and we hope the event and the film shows the importance of our green spaces through a creative act.”

(c) Walk The Plank, Phil Young

The words of poet and writer Zakiya McKenzie were central to the live gathering and narrate the film.
In the film her words say:

“This place sprawls across time. Telling the tale of ground packed and bound by those who placed evergreen stories within reach. Stories in safe keep. Across ramparts and mound with beauty beneath. We dig for old fragments and assemble them until night…

“… Go light the night and sing the same song. Follow the moon to where it began. Find the path that keeps you together. Keep the fort when hearts are weathered. For before what will be left there is beauty still. And struggles ahead at intervals for peace. The land opens ahead as hiding place for these living memories.”

Participants in the film were part of creating the artwork in the landscape using movement and specially designed low impact lights by graduate engineers at Siemens. The creative team for the gathering was led by local producers Activate Performing Arts. Dorchester rapper Isaiah Dreads and choreographer Subathra Subramaniam joined Zakiya McKenzie in devising a unique atmosphere.

Subathra Subramaniam said:

“Watching 600 people do the Namaskar together was incredible. The silence and the focus in that space was magical. Not just watching it – but being part of it. The participation in Dorset was truly beautiful, the commitment people had to be together and really be part of something.”

“I’ll never forget the energy and the joy that was present from the moment people arrived to the moment they left. You could see it, hear it and feel it. It was a shared joy. There were about 600 people there, and choreographing that many people was a very humbling and special experience for me.”

Rapper Isaiah Dreads said:

“I had the chance to be musical director for this project and made a selection of tracks made from natural sounds recorded in Dorset. I have written countless songs in the same location the event took place and it was sick to see it filled with people having a good time. Things that get people together to appreciate our county can only be a positive. My highlight was seeing everyone holding their lights and moving in sync, I loved seeing everything come to life.”

c) Walk The Plank Phil Young

Green Space Dark Skies is led by Walk the Plank and commissioned by UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, the ground-breaking UK-wide celebration of creativity in 2022. It is one of ten commissions developed with expert teams built around STEAM: Science, Technology Engineering, Arts, Maths.

The Green Space Dark Skies journey continues across the UK until September. Everyone is welcome to become a Lumenator and help create art within beautiful landscapes.

Green Spaces Dark Skies: https://greenspacedarkskies.uk/