The Society of British Theatre Designers

The Value of Design

Louise Ann Wilson

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Biography

Dr. Louise Ann Wilson is an artist, scenographer and researcher who creates site-specific walking-performances in rural landscapes that give-voice to ‘missing’ or marginal life-events – with transformative and therapeutic outcomes. Her work has addressed terminal illness, bereavement, in/fertility and involuntary childlessness, the effects of aging and the impact of change.

Each project is trans-disciplinary and developed in close collaboration with artists from a range of creative disciplines, people with lay and local knowledge of the chosen landscape, scientists and experts in the field of the life-event in question and those experiencing it. These have included: geologists, botanists and shepherds; neurologists, embryologists and palliative care nurses; women experiencing involuntary childlessness, care-home residents and fishermen.

This methodology is underpinned by six ‘scenographic’ principles that are inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth and her female contemporaries approach to walking and landscape and theoretical concepts relating to the feminine ‘material’ sublime and therapeutic landscapes.

Current projects: "Women’s Walks to Remember: ‘With Memory I was there’", which celebrates the walking-lives of Lake District women and collects significant walks that can no longer be walked and "Dorothy’s Room", an immersive installation inspired by Dorothy’s Rydal Journals in which she was bed-bound relying on memory to transport herself into the Cumbrian landscape she had once walked. Both projects are at The Wordsworth Trust Museum, Grasmere until 20 December 2018.

Recent projects:

"Mulliontide" (2016 and publication), a coastal walk on The Lizard in Cornwall evolved in collaboration with local residents that acknowledged deep feelings for place and recognised the challenges of change, both personal and topographical;

"Warnscale: A Land Mark Walk Reflecting on in/Fertility and Childlessness" (2015 and publication), a self-guided walking performance specific to the Warnscale Fells south of Buttermere in Cumbria aimed at women who are biologically childless-by-circumstance and mediated through a published walking-guide/artist book;

"The Gathering / Yr Helfa"  (2014)  (with National Theatre Wales), a site-specific walking-performance that revealed the seasonal reproductive cycles of the ewes of Hafod y Llan, an upland sheep farm in Snowdonia, Wales; 

"Fissure" (2011) a three-day walking performance in the Yorkshire Dales, created in response to the death of Louise’s sister from a brain tumour.

In 2017 Louise was awarded a Ph.D. in Theatre Studies from Lancaster Institute of the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University. 

www.louiseannwilson.com