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The Beckett Theatre – Box 3 Spool 5

Part 2 Project 2011
Morgan Grylls
University of Kent | UK
Dungeness peninsula is an area of unique topography and climatic conditions. During the Sixteenth Century disease and poverty ravaged the area. During this time Landlords capitalized and bought large land tracts. The famous Romney sheep was purpose bred to endure the unforgiving conditions. By the Nineteenth Century there were as many as a quarter of a million sheep across the Marsh. To ensure their safety, landowners employed the services of shepherds who would later become known as ‘The Lookers’.

The life of a Looker was a lonely one and to be close to the flocks they were forced to live away from their families in isolation. For shelter, small Huts were constructed to provide the most basic of living conditions. The vast majority of the estimated 350 original Huts have since been destroyed. The remaining few are now in dire condition and at risk of being lost though a lack of maintenance. The surviving Huts stand as a reminder of the peninsula’s history and as a symbol of the isolation of the area.

The building proposal is for a contemporary theatre that creates a theatrical journey for audience members. The building is inspired by both Samuel Beckett's play 'Krapp's Last Tape' and the ruin of the Looker's Hut. Often described as Beckett's biographical piece, Krapp’s Last Tape is an archive of personal history that examines the human condition as well as questions of memory, perception and isolation.

The entire building creates a unique performance space encapsulating the play throughout, rejecting the traditional theatre archetype. The user experience has been designed as a series of theatrical events or 'Acts'. As visitors move through the each Act they experience different spaces inspired by the shadows of Krapp’s fractured memories and the Looker's Hut ruin. The play is performed within the decaying structure of a Looker's Hut ravaged by time standing itself as a symbol of a memory long since lost. The connection between the ruin and the new building creates a performance space that traverses and explores the concept of time and celebrates these forgotten structures, whilst representing Krapp's neurological degeneration.

Morgan Grylls


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