> the halfway house / behind the scenes
> the old central st.martins / research
The Halfway House was a site-specific, immersive theatre piece that was devised and staged in the old Central Saint Martins campus on Southampton Row, Holborn. The Koppel Project is an arts charity that occupies vacant buildings on a meanwhile basis, providing cheap studio space for creative practitioners. They kindly invited Persona Collective – a group of creatives headed up by Rocio Ayllon, a theatre director to develop and stage a theatre show at their Koppel Project Campus, which was conceived as an experimental, cross-disciplinary education and arts facility in the former Saint Martins. It has been vacant for many years and is eventually due to be redeveloped as a high-end hotel.
The piece was site-specific, we spent a lot of time in the building, exploring inside and out, sketching, photographing and filming it at different times of the day and night. It’s a huge, labyrinthine place and, during our first couple of months there, it was almost completely empty. At times it felt really magical and, at others, very spooky.
Research into the history of the building, its urban context, and past uses and users heavily influence the role-plays and narratives. As such, the story is really tailored to and emerges from the building and its history. COVID-19 inevitably drove much of the conceptual, physical and logistical aspects of this particular performance too.