The Grain Escape Goes Global


The day of the performance came and we had a strong clear insight into our plans. We had previously taken all the cakes we had baked and the necessary furniture to the library before hand so in the morning all we had to do was ‘pop up’ the café. Everything we had brought together to form the café worked well, from the initial presentation of the space to our standardised uniforms. The attention to detail was key. We had someone at the door giving the participants name tags and allocating them a class similar to that of ‘Duckie- The class club’. Once allocated they would either be seated and obtain first class service or essentially work for their cake; showing the class difference. When entering the café, we would often split group members up and assign them different stations. The response was what we expected; people would ask ‘why’ and state that they felt ‘different’ when they had to work to be seated. However this is what we wanted them to feel. The participants seemed to enjoy the historical aspect of the café and intrigued to learn what it was specifically used for since some of the original workings of the building are still visible.

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We had a strong structure to the performance, with a change of stations every thirty minutes, with a whistle to signify the change. Then on the hour we would all line up and go out side for a cigarette break to signify the working aspect of the warehouse. It was these elements to the performance which gave it the authenticity.

Many performers can take a space and make it their own, many of which either do this successfully or not. I believe our performance was a success, taking into account the background research throughout; the outcome of our performance was a success. The carefully thought out structure and attention to detail helped progress our space beyond our expectations. It didn’t only transform the space itself but transformed our attitudes to it. ‘The empty space encouraged the actors to see themselves not only as improvisers lending themselves to their inner impulses but as artists’3 . The transformation both physically within the library and mentally in us helped us create something with an imaginative, artistic flair.

We explored many ways to give the space a place of meaning. By exploring many routes and playing with our ideas we managed to develop our idea whilst integrating the historical aspects we wanted and keeping it creative and fun. ‘Exploration is a prerequisite for place-making; it is, I think, another form of play; conversely, play creates place’4 . The Key word in this is ‘play’ we had fun with the space and identified what worked and what didn’t. This is something that we will continue to do not just within a certain space, but with idea’s as it is a great was to develop and create something spectacular.


  1. Photo taken by Faye Bunclark, 2013 []
  2. Photo Taken By Rim Petros, 2013 []
  3. Peter Brook, 2008. Empty Space (Penguin Modern Classics). Edition. Penguin Books. P52 []
  4. Biggs, E. 2009, Everyone play: Sound, Public Space, and the (re)making of  place, Princeton University, P77 []
Posted: May 13th, 2013
Categories: Library, The Grain Escape
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