Tubular bells in Rye

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Festival visitors triumphant at the end of their improvised piece.

How to create a piece of street theatre at this year’s Rye Arts Festival that would bring people together after the social disjointedness of Covid and its restrictions? Solution – the Beautiful Creatures Bell Orchestra featuring chimes made by Michael Davies.

On Saturday, September 11, the Gun Garden resonated to the sonorous chimes of five cleverly suspended large metal tubes (each comprising two hundred separate parts, apparently). Passers-by of all ages and abilities were invited to pick up a beater and join in a ‘game’ in which sounds were ‘passed’ from person to person. The improvisations built up in complexity as differences of pace and rhythm were added. The results were never dull and at their best created a Zen-like calm of hypnotic peace. Best of all, perhaps, anyone could have a go and experience the fun of making meaningful music while communing with other people, sometimes complete strangers.

Danielle Corbishley, artistic director of Beautiful Creatures, summed up: “It’s about making a moment for people to tune in with each other – a shared, present moment.”

That and a great deal of fun, too.

Image Credits: kt bruce .

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