These Hills Are Ours – An Escape From London
SINGERS and RUNNERS wanted
(you can be one or the other. You don’t have to be both!)
We are recruiting participants for a unique project.
On 4th April this year, a group of runners will set off from Shoreditch Town Hall, with the mission of escaping London on foot. They’ll do so, as far as possible, via off-road routes: public footpaths, canal towpaths, back alleys.
Several hours later, they’ll arrive at the summit of Box Hill in Surrey and look back at how far they’ve come.
It’s approximately the distance of a marathon.
At the beginning and at the end, as well as at three or four points along the way, the runners will be greeted and sung to by a choir. The choir will sing an original song, written by me and Boff Whalley, about the urge to – and the difficulty of – escaping the chaos and the noise of 21st-century digital life. About the need to flee the urban for the rural and about the fearsome challenges of doing that in London in particular. It’ll be a celebration of switching off and checking out, and the power of our two feet to set us free.
The song, and the journey, will be documented as one of a series of four short films of related projects across the country.
Singers will be able to listen to a demo of the song in advance, in order to prepare. There will be a rehearsal on the day, at approximately 9am, at Shoreditch Town Hall. You’ll be in the hands of the brilliant pop-up choir leader Beccy Owen, who's just brilliant at supporting singers to learn new material.
Runners will depart at around 10.30am.
The various stops for singers will be mostly accessible by public transport, with a little bit of taxiing. This transport will all be paid for, as will the return journey – you just need to get yourselves to the start line.
- 4 April 2020 9am til approximately 5pm.
- that's it.
How fast do I need to be?
We expect the run to take approximately five hours, including a couple of short stops. This means averaging a little slower than ten minute miles: for most we expect this to be a relatively easy pace. Those who want to go faster will get more breaks.
If for you this is at the edges of what you think you can manage, we’d love you to give it a go. We’ll have a back marker at all times so no-one will be allowed to drop off the back. The front-runners will pause periodically to allow everyone to regroup. And in the worst-case scenario, if you can’t continue, there are regular opportunities to hop on public transport. Give it a go.
It’s a long way. How will I get back?
Depending on where you’re getting back to, there will be a mix of public transport and taxiing. We’ll cover the cost of this.
Only two FAQs for runners?
There’s more under “both” below.
Do I need to be an experienced singer?
No. There’ll be people involved who are very experienced choral singers, and people involved for whom this is their debut at singing in public. All are welcome. And you’ll be in the very safe hands of a fantastic choir leader.
Do I need to be able to read music?
No. We can have the sheet music (“dots”) available for those who need it, but this isn’t how the songs will be taught. And we’ll have demo tracks available to download and/or listen to online, so that you can familiarise yourself with the material between rehearsals.
FAQs (Both runners and singers):
Is there a bad weather plan?
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. You may need waterproofs. Runners would be advised to consider trail shoes. The choir will be able to take shelter more often, but still, for the final climb of Box Hills, sturdy footwear would be advisable.
What should I wear?
See “is there a bad weather plan”, above.
How long will the performance day take?
We’ll be back down in the warm well before dusk, and perhaps by mid afternoon. But we’ll travel at the speed that can accommodate the slowest group member within the time frame, and want to ensure everyone who wants to can participate, so this isn’t going to be a race. It also means that we’re reluctant to give a precise time, but we expect to be finished somewhere between 3-5pm. Bring food and water.
Who's behind this?
Daniel Bye and Boff Whalley. I'm Daniel Bye and you're on my website, so if you want to find out more about me, you're in the right place. Boff's site is: www.boffwhalley.com.
The project is commissioned by Shoreditch Town Hall and supported by Arts Council England.
(This same week, Boff and I are also doing a show at Shoreditch Town Hall. You can find out more about that here: https://shoreditchtownhall.com/whats-on/these-hills-are-oursshoreditchtownhall.com/whats-on/these-hills-are-ours)
I’m in! Or, I have more questions!
Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to get your name on the list. If you have any other questions, however small, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will