After having first developed the show during Billy Barrett's Student as Producer (Performance) project, 'Beanfield' was performance at the Warwick Student Arts Festival, and at the Theatre503 Previews season. This funding was to support the team in taking the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2015 at the Space on the Mile.
The production follows the process of creating a historical re-enactment of the Battle of the Beanfield, a violent clash between new age travellers and police in 1985, as they travelled to Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice. The piece reflects on the incidents using documentary footage and interviews with those who were there including both travellers and ex-police. The piece also features monologues which chart the experience of a young person attending the Summer Solstice, in 2015, as they attempt to connect with history and national heritage. We have included our press release to offer additional details about the show.
The Edinburgh production will be of particular interest to Warwick staff, students and alumni, since the project's research and development coincided with tensions between students and the West Midlands police regarding protest on campus - the events of December 3rd at Senate House provoking local and national debate about freedom of assembly and the right to dissent in a university context. Amanda Fawcett (project lead) and her team are keen for the performance to pose an opportunity to process and in some ways "heal" these conflicts, and this has been worked into the fabric of the show through its reflexive structure.
In Edinburgh, we also intend to continue extending our outreach to (ex-)members of the police force and the traveler community, who we have already connected with in researching the show and are keen to see it at the Fringe if they haven't already. These resonances make this production both an important piece to be performed on Warwick campus and in other venues and contexts to engage with contemporary debates around freedom of assembly, policing and who we are as a country, today.