Wall Talks


A Site Specific Piece reflecting the shared history of a city and its people.

Wall Talks was a unique cultural event commissioned by the City of Liverpool for the Capital of Culture 2008

The development of WALL TALKS began back in 2004. Jen had been working in Luxembourg experimenting with theatre in non-theatre spaces and secured a grant from the Arts Council of England to research and develop a new site specific piece.
This led to more research and development in 2005 and 2006 supported by Liverpool Culture Company. Jen discovered the Heritage Market site in 2006. It seemed to be the perfect venue for the creation of a project that would tell the story of the City of Liverpool.

Jen Heyes:
“There are two things that we want to explore in Wall Talks – sense of place and sense of identity. Sense of place arises out of hundreds of years of people’s spirits infusing into a building or space. Subsequent generations draw on this spirit. Sense of identity is broader – it involves a sense of cultural identity as well as a sense of family and individuality. We call this our roots”

To create a unique work such as Wall Talks our stimulus was to :

CAPTURE: factual and anecdotal research, then take all the times, dates, people, places and their lives stand back, look at it all and see what speaks what stories stands out.

INCLUDE: history and influences of the different nationalities and communities who have passed through the city and made it their home.

Try to understand the diversity of peoples who make a city what it is

Yearning for the city to speak and in a way it has not quite done before.

Andrew Sherlock, May 2007:
All the stories in Wall Talks are based on authentic events and all the characters, some actual historical figures but most pieced together from research and imagination, could conceivably have passed through these dock walls. Their lifetimes coincided with the life of the Stanley Dock built and opened in the 1840s and still in use today. But this is not a museum piece, with us diligently replaying conjectured events from within the building. At times our characters and stories explode out of the dock and into the lives and places they came from, telling us who they are and how they came to be here. The dock however remains our beacon, both a receiver and transmitter in its remembrance of things past; as it takes us too many places and always returns us back home. But the dock for all its stone-chilled atmosphere is a building and though its walls may speak, it is the voices of people that capture our imagination.

Publicity 2008:
Liverpool’s Walls are about to talk – Are you Listening?

Hugely tipped to be Liverpool’s 800th birthday artistic highlight of the year comes Wall Talks; a production like no other, set in a location like no other.
Commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company and produced and directed by Liverpool-based Jen Heyes and her company Cut to the Chase Productions (Talking Heads, The Vagina Monologues and Therese Raquin) comes Wall Talks, a production which will put the audience in the very centre of the action.
This major cultural event created by Jen Heyes and writer Andrew Sherlock (The Girls who came to stay – Granada TV), which will be set in Liverpool’s Tobacco Warehouses at the Stanley Dock market; chosen for the location’s unique industrial history, aims to explore ‘the Liverpool self’; how our identities have morphed over time.
Jen Heyes:
“The play is set over the last 800 years and is in no way simply structured by history. However, what the production does do is give the audience an understanding of identity with a particular reference to Liverpool. How have our cultures, our ethnic and class backgrounds evolved over time and most importantly how can we use this heritage to understand our roots and our own self of being?”
“Wall Talks is a site specific production which explores our own perception of identity and so it is integral that the audience interact not only with the action taking place but with the environment where it happens. The audience’s experiences and presence alone are key forces in creating the power which will drive the production forward. This really is a performance which highlights the cultural forces that make this city what it is today, and what better year to showcase this than Liverpool’s 800th birthday”

Breathtakingly Beautiful * * * * * METRO
“ Wall Talks is a very unique project which forms an essential part of the heritage year celebrations and has been commissioned as part of the 200th year anniversary of the abolition of the British Slave trade” Fiona Gasper LCC


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