Residents of the South West have been invited to collaborate on ‘Hanging Around’, a new project the Exeter Northcott Theatre has commissioned as part of ‘The Time is Now’ series, a creative initiative in response to lockdown.

‘Hanging Around’ aims to play with the notion of suspension and finding new ways to pass the time.

“Since lockdown, I’ve had this weird sense of just hanging around. It feels like we’re all waiting for something”

“Since lockdown, I’ve had this weird sense of just hanging around. It feels like we’re all waiting for something” said Hugh Malyon, lead artist on the project. “Whether it’s waiting for news, waiting for it to be safe or waiting to see each other again. From the comfort of our own homes, we want to create an experiment!”

I have been running a lot more since lockdown started, and as well as enjoying the time outside exercising, I’ve found the nature of it chimes with my lockdown experience. Running offers a direction, at a time where it can be hard to find one. For that span of time you are running, you know where you are going, you just have to put one foot in front of the other and that can be your sole focus, which feels good when there is so much to think about. It’s liberating.

The ‘stop-go’ change of pace is similar to my experience of our Government’s handling of the pandemic. One moment we are slowing down, pacing ourselves for the lockdown long-haul and the next we are told we can move again – but the movement feels too sudden, sudden enough that I feel a panic response. It feels almost like being out of breath, as though we are running full tilt at something we are not ready for.

I climb over a gate on one of my regular running routes and it occurred to me that it would be a fun place to ‘hang around’, to play, to think and to take a rest – in suspension. What am I waiting for? Or am I just enjoying the moment?

I made this short film on my phone, in isolation. All the related responses the Northcott receive will be put together to produce a longer film around the theme, creating a collage of unique perspectives. Watch out for it in July.

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