The protagonists, heroes and heroines of myth and folklore often journey to another world, whether it be on a quest or because they’ve been banished. Following in their large and ancient sandal-strapped footprints, Fly No Filter disappeared into the woods as an important phase in the Only When Its Feathers are Grown R&D project… Abington is a small and well-stocked village ten miles south of Cambridge. If you hit the traffic at the wrong time, it can take over an hour’s drive from Arbury council estate, to reach the village dating back to the Bronze Age. And with a demographic older and whiter than national average, Abington is not somewhere that immediately hollers for hiphop. But if you hit the A1307 in the right light, you part the most amazing dusty pink fields as you climb away from Cambridge and towards Wandlebury. And if you’ve been paying attention on your quest, you will find a wooden sign which leads you down a short road alongside a row of garages, with a large clearing to a surround of tall stately trees. If you look carefully you will see an old horse in all his finery, retired from the merry-go-round, standing proud like a Sentry guarding one of the seven gates. And if you look closer, you will see two big smiles swarming and chattering across two very little faces of the two youngest keepers of Abington Woods; meet six year old A-Star and her younger brother James. The pair have contracted the help of their parents, Debs and Chris, to help run the woods which they all manage with a perfect balance of wilderness and order. With an intuitive warmth and calm, the family welcomed Fly No Filter into the woods with a free range for the week. The Jeremiah Hall became a dance studio, the woodland was a natural location for photoshoots, the campfire was stoked for night time storytelling, and the company meditated and stretched in the sun soaked clearing. Abington Woods and A-Star’s family provided an experience beyond the project itself – yes it was the perfect space to explore a base for interdisciplinary play with dance, photography, and psychology; yes the experiments began to see how communities engage with art in a non performance spaces; yes, as a modern day study of The Descent, the company felt as though they had made that journey to another world; but the takeaway is the pure electricity of being immersed in such a generous environment, the healing power of nature, and the unity and mutual respect which everyone shared.
Thankyou to everyone who played a role, and made the magic happen.