May - June 2016
A triptych of large-scale paintings by artist Pippa Blake was on display at Pallant House Gallery following her time as Artist in Residence at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2015.
The works respond to the powerful play ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ by Irish playwright Frank McGuinness, performed at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre.
The focus of Pippa Blake’s second residency at the theatre, ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ was inspired by the experiences of those taken hostage in Lebanon in the 1980s and explores the bonds forged through shared adversity by three prisoners: Adam, an American doctor, Edward, an Irish journalist and Michael, an English academic. A powerful testimony to the resilience of the human spirit, the play was directed by Michael Attenborough CBE. The cast was David Haig, Rory Keenan and Adam Rayner.
Blake says: “Sitting in rehearsals for ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ whilst drawing, watching and listening to the three hostage’s reactions to each other gave me the rare chance to capture what it might mean to be in captivity . Albeit a silent observer it was a privilege to be one of the team and to witness not only the raw emotions and relationships that developed between the characters in the play but also to watch the input from the director, cast and crew as the production gradually developed.”
Blake’s first residency at Chichester Festival Theatre was in 2014 when she focused on Richard Bean’s play ‘Pitcairn’ about the colonizing of a South Pacific island in 1789. The residency marked the first time the artist had used theatre as a starting point for her work, exploring the visuals, atmosphere and psychology of a play. The resulting paintings were exhibited in London and at West Dean College.
Michael Attenborough CBE, director of ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ said, “Pippa was with us for quite a while during rehearsals and effortlessly become one of the team. It was rather thrilling to have a visual artist amongst us and the raw vulnerability of her images bears testimony both to her talent and the power of Frank McGuinness’ extraordinary play.”
Pippa Blake: Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me will be on display in the Garden Gallery at Pallant House Gallery from 10 May until 19 June 2016.