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ROOTS | From the Makers of Urban Astronaut!

Posted by Laura Swain, 9th September 2019, 13:43pm

Highly Sprung was formed in 2002 by Sarah and Mark Worth to produce narrative driven physical theatre.

Based in Coventry and often working with younger audiences and performers, they created their first outdoor show in 2012 and were the company behind PopOut 2018’s mesmerising Urban Astronaut (see page 3). Here they talk about the creation of their new show Roots.

“Roots was made in response to Brexit. We are devastated that the decision to leave the EU has led to a rise in hate crime and unpleasant nationalism. We work closely with refugee communities in Coventry where incidences of public discrimination are becoming more common and so we wanted to make a piece that challenges negative perceptions. Mostly, we wanted the message of commonality to be heard, after all we, are all human, it is often only circumstance that draws the differences between us.

For those that saw Urban Astronaut last year Roots has a similar feel, with audiences recognising the style of the piece, and there is a sense that it could be taking place in a different part of the same world. There is no promenade aspect to this show, however. Instead, this year the whole piece is performed on and around a seven-metre metal ’tree’ structure designed by Entify, which spins 360 degrees, allowing the performers to use a mixture of dance and aerial bungee to tell the story.

Although we believe the whole show is particularly captivating, we think the moment of arrival when the travellers find a home they assume is unoccupied and take sanctuary, is particularly moving. But it is not long before the home owner is awoken and they have to learn to live together and this is where a lot of the dramatic tension lies.

Audiences begin to think that sometimes differences can be too extreme and no understanding can be reached but there is a moment of realisation that despite everything we are all human, we have loved and lost and all deserve to be loved and find shelter and this is worth looking out for.

This may all sound a bit heavy, and the show often brings audiences to tears that they did not expect, but as well as being moving it is very entertaining and often quite funny.”