From King Arthur’s Round Table in Eden to Winston Churchill at Dover Castle, and from Brixton Market to the rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral, our national story can be found in the buildings all around us.
Travelling from one end of the country to the other, before and after the 2016 referendum, Margate artist and writer Dan Thompson has become interested in how the stories told about England’s historic buildings reflect our sense of identity. In a new project, taking place over the next year, he plans to write 100 poems about 100 places, which together will form a history of England.
And some of the first poems to be created will be read at a performance at this month’s Roundabout pop up theatre.
In a free show on Friday, September 21 Dan will tell the story of the first black trader in Brixton Market, Basil Spence rebuilding Coventry Cathedral after the Blitz, the architect who created an Egyptian temple in Leeds, and the man who discovered Margate’s Shell Grotto.
Dan said: “The show will appeal to people interested in local history, printing presses, historic buildings, lost rivers, poetry, or the split in society brought about by Brexit.”
Dan has worked as an artist across the UK, often helping local people to explore the place they live. He made a set of signal flags for Estuary Festival, which subsequently toured as a backdrop with The Libertines, and in 2017 programmed the Estuary Festival in Swansea.
He has won Coast’s Unsung Hero Award, been included on The Independent’s Happy List, and listed by Time Out as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK’s creative industries.
He has previously performed a one man show at Roundabout in Stoke and Margate.
The latest one-off performance, titled Your England, takes place at 2.30pm on September 21. It lasts around 45 minutes and is free.
Your England is supported by Marine Studios and is part of the Margate Festival. For more information visit www.danthompson.co.uk