David Leddy on phantom felines in Edgerton Park.


I’m so looking forward to being back in New Haven. I travel all around the world with this work and meet all sorts of different venues and festivals and International Festival of Arts and Ideas is one of the best. It’s such a unique structure for a festival with genuinely stimulating intellectual ideas at the centre of the whole thing. I’m so envious that we don’t have a festival like that in the city where I live!

My research trip to Edgerton Park last year was a mesmerising time. It was in the middle of autumn which meant that the colours were glorious. Susurrus is all about looking at your surroundings in a slightly different way by framing it within a fictional narrative from somewhere else. The audience follow a map around the park as they listen to the piece on headphones. I always look for a route that might send people to unusual, clandestine locations, even if they already know the park well. I was fascinated to be told that in the spring the foundations of the old house in Edgerton Park dry out before the rest of the grass, giving the ghostly outline of the home that used to be there. There’s also the ghost of a vineyard in the corner of the park with barely visible rows from the vines that used to create wine for the inhabitants of the house.

Each presentation of Susurrus involves creating a new map with the wonderful visual artist Laura Molloy . She’s such a pleasure to work with. One of my small pleasures on the research trips is looking round the garden for interesting visual patterns from bench designs, railings and gates that Laura can incorporate into the borders and backgrounds to the maps.

Ultimately, though, my favourite thing about this research trip was that a cat came from nowhere and sat on my lap while I was writing notes. Maybe she’ll be there when I go back. I’ll look out for her, curled up on the ghost of an armchair, on the ethereal foundations of that grand old house.

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