5 Minutes with Theatre-maker Emma Higham

Outdoor, Interviews

This May, Sussex-based RAPT Theatre bring a new outdoor audio installation, Pier to Pier to Brighton Festival from Mon 10 May to Sat 6 June. 

Pier to Pier invites you to listen to a soundscape whilst sitting on the bench and looking out to sea. The audio includes contributions from a range of people who live or work along the edge of the South Coast, with Sound Design by Lewis Gibson and Music by Jocelyn Pook.

We have a quick chat with co-director of RAPT Emma Higham on the inspiration behind Pier to Pier.

Where did the idea or inspiration come from to create Pier to Pier

RAPT were keen to work with communities and individuals to explore the notion of living on the edge, our relationship with the sea and finding a point of balance in uncertain times.  

When our exploration started, we began interviewing people who lived along the edge of our coastline, hoping to discover more about coastal living across financial, environmental and political lines. Conversations explored a range of topics including personal loss, migration and ideas around identity.  

It felt very important that the piece was made in collaboration with local people and could then be experienced by as many people as possible. So, in a year where benches have become increasingly important, we decided to create a beacon orange bench for people to sit, look, listen and reflect whilst listening to voices from along their coastline.   

How would you describe Pier to Pier in three words?

Uplifting. Accessible. Joyous. 

Watch the trailer

What do you hope people will take away from the act of sitting, looking and listening?

Our desire is to create something unique, accessible for all and uplifting, as we come out of a challenging and difficult year. We hope that the act of walking, then listening to others’ stories sitting on a bench-usually a spot for people to share conversations - will offer connection at a time when contact is limited.  

What do you love about Brighton Festival? And why are you looking forward to showcasing your project? 

 Brighton Festival offers an unparalleled opportunity to showcase the wonderful communities and artists which make up this stretch of the coast. Additionally, Lemn Sissay’s programme this year, with its focus on care, feels exceptionally timely as we come out of a challenging year for the country and the arts. We are thrilled to be sharing Pier to Pier amidst such a varied and innovative programme.  

Follow the bench

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