On Tuesday 15 December an interactive map will go live on GaggleBabble’s new website gagglebabble.co.uk/borderlands which includes a series of nine films and seven artistic responses from artists and locals from the England/Wales border. 

During the first UK lockdown, Gagglebabble wanted to experiment with different ways of working and connecting with people and place. After securing a stabilisation grant from the Arts Council of Wales, co-founder Lucy Rivers explored the Welsh/English border to walk, talk and remember... to explore identity, folklore, stories, get lost and then find the path again. 

Following a call out to artists and locals living on the border, Lucy and filmmaker Siôn Marshall Waters were invited on nine walks. From August to October they immersed themselves in the dramatic landscape between Chepstow and Llangollen.

Lucy asked the artists who accompanied her on these walks for their creative responses to their walk and the results are all beautifully unique and personal. As everyone locks back down during this strange winter, GaggleBabble hope you enjoy these snapshots of the borders, and maybe when you re-emerge from hibernation you will be inspired to walk in their footsteps. 

Artists involved include - Emma Daman Thomas (Islet), Remy Beasley (Stella, Tourist Trap), Chris Kinsey (From Rowan Ridge), Olivia Preye (Mandra), Robin Jones (Trials of Cato) and Tamzin Powell (The Witches Ways in the Welsh Borders). 

‘I find borders and boundaries interesting, and they certainly seem to attract a lot of drama and tension. I like drama and tension, and being a border girl myself I thought it was fertile ground for exploration. As Tamzin Powell said on our walk in the Wye valley... Where there are two countries it’s like a crossroads - it’s a sacred place, a place where you can do magic, where your charms and spells can work, and it’s also a place of death.” I’ve had the desire to walk the Welsh/English border for a while but it took being locked down in my small terrace in Cardiff with a new baby that really made me yearn for wild walks with panoramas and broad horizons, and I was determined to make it happen as soon as we were allowed. We hope you enjoy exploring with us.’ Lucy Rivers (GaggleBabble).

Borderlands was funded by Arts Council Wales and supported by Pentabus, who have worked alongside Gagglebabble to produce the project.

‘It has been a delight to support Gagglebabble with the making of Borderlands. 2020 has been a tricky year, particularly for the arts. Being able to help make this project happen has felt very special and has given Pentabus the opportunity to explore new ways of working and supporting artists.’ Sophie Motley, Artistic Director (Pentabus). 

GaggleBabble are a multi-award winning Cardiff based company who fuse live music and theatre, telling epic stories of myth and misadventure. Pentabus are based in Ludlow and tour new plays about the contemporary rural world to new audiences in village halls, fields, festivals and theatres, telling stories with local relevance, plus national and international impact. Borderlands was made possible by The Arts Council of Wales stabilisation fund.