Engaging the Audience

Considering the venue, with its history as a hospital, I had thought of a performance of applying first aid to the audience, by way of plasters, bandages or rubbing dock leaves or natural ointments etc to heal any ailments, real or fictitious. However, considering the kind of organization I am dealing with, I felt that it may not be appropriate, and that there may even be some health and safety issues involved.

Therefore, instead I have opted to create an experience for the audience which will allow them to taste some of the materials used in the exhibition. I have decided to serve drinks made from weeds and prickly plants such as Nettles, Rose Hips and Brambles. I may also make bramble crumble which will be served in small paper cases for the guests to sample.

The venue have strict rules about exhibiting and events. If you are hosting an event, then you must pay for the hire of the venue, whereas exhibitions have no cost. I have managed to persuade staff to allow me to serve drinks and nibbles on the final day of the exhibition, and was directed to a small table which I may use for this purpose. The challenge for me is to create a small cocktail bar experience for the audience, which will hopefully have an entertaining element and create an ambience in what are otherwise cold and formal surroundings.  I have access to a gramophone, and although this would have fitted in with the war time era, the volume is uncontrollable, and I feel that this may become more of an annoyance than a pleasure within a small contained space.  I think that I will try to source some music from the era, and have it playing softly at the “bar” so it may give the audience a subconscious connection to the era.


I created a sign for the bar on a piece of MDF (A1 size) and used vintage typefaces and a portrait, as well as a cocktail glass.  It took me two days to paint, but I felt it was worth doing properly as I may use it again in the future for other events. I was really pleased with the finished sign and feel that it will be the perfect solution to inform the audience what is going on.

poison ivy1

The drinks have been ordered and brambles picked and frozen, so I’m well prepared in the catering side of things. I would really like a soda syphon so that I could create spritzers to accompany the wines which I have purchased, and this would be another valuable prop for the bar which I could be using to make the drinks whilst the audience look on.

I also intend to create a fanzine, of which I will print around 100. these will be available free of charge for those interested. I will also have a wooden box for feedback, which the viewers may write on the back of a postcard which I will distribute.


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