Many Hands

Battersea Park, London
Midsummer’s Eve, 2002

I was commissioned by LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) to make a work for Midsummer’s Eve anywhere in London. I had met and spent time with the Buddhist monk in Battersea Park who had been involved in negotiating and building the Peace Pagoda. Every morning he performed a drumming ceremony to greet the dawn. I asked him if he would enact this ceremony as a final moment for the end of midsummer night.

Many Hands took place from sunset to sunrise. I invited the audience to each make a light-work using a short phrase of their choice written in luminescent material. These were then hung around the lake. Just before dawn, several singers including Phil Minton, Mary Genis and Lawrence Upton with drummers Paul Burwell and Ansuman Biswas performed an improvised work based on these phrases concluding with the Buddhist monk greeting the dawn.