Without Walls, true to its name, inhabits and enriches outdoor spaces. Much of our work is essentially urban but there’s a new and growing demand in out-of-town spaces – the focus here on parklands and landscape gardens, the great eighteenth century English vision that melded art and nature.
There are around 3,000 such attached to country houses, castles, palaces, stately homes across the UK (reduced from 5,000 in the mid-nineteenth century). Many (and rising) run activities to generate income from golf courses, weddings, and of course festivals. These sites often have a strong local identity and wider appeal where celebration – mirth and madness in the forest – is a quintessential English trope: think Midsummer’s Night Dream or Robin Hood.
Festivals and events (rock concerts, garden shows, etc) help balance the books but our sector’s contribution lies in how our artists make magical these spaces for people of all ages – illuminating their specialness, melding the work into the particularity of the landscape or simply being crazy in the woods! Rode Hall Estate, the site of the Just So Festival and Portmeirion in Wales, the location for Festival N°6, are striking examples of just how well this works.
Heritage properties are eager to work with the arts to increase their profile and to grow and deepen engagement with their audiences. Without Walls is perfectly placed and looking to grow new strategic partnerships in these spaces, using outdoor arts to draw upon their geographies, their histories, and their people to share their incredible stories.