The Ballet: origins

Summer 2018: Research at il Palmerino

From Federica’s dream to our reality…

The chance arrival of Greek actor and director Angeliki Papoulia to Via del Palmerino was a moment of serendipity. Her immediate connection to Palmerino’s spirit of the place, and admiration of Vernon Lee’s ardently intelligent mind, meant that she wanted to collaborate with Federica (and Vernon) in some way. The idea of The Ballet was sown by Federica, and Angeliki’s creative role took root.

Once the idea was firmly planted, and fed by the possibility of coinciding with an international Vernon Lee conference, Federica began to bring together a group of individuals who would help her to realise the project. It was important for Federica and Angeliki to understand the context of Lee’s work, and how it had been received by scholars and academics. Professor Patricia Pulham (Art and the Transitional Object in Vernon Lee’s Tales) of the University of Surrey was enlisted in an advisory capacity, and author and historian Patrick Wright (Iron Curtain) was fundamental for understanding Lee’s pacifism and her response to the First World War. Postgraduate researcher Sally Blackburn-Daniels advised on Lee’s engagement with forms of dance, and Stefano Vincieri (Associazione Culturale il Palmerino) presented a collection of images connected to the work. Professor Richard Cave (Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway) narrated The Ballet, which was recorded by sound-scape designer and engineer Mauro Casappa.

Angeliki Papoulia and Sally Blackburn-Daniels

Once The Ballet had been heard, and researched, Federica and Angeliki began to work on the first (of many) adaptation drafts, at il Palmerino, Athens, and Berlin.

Now we needed to find a cast, to make our project a reality.

– Sally Blackburn-Daniels

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