Can the practice of landscape theatre be utilised in my pursuit of becoming a tour guide?
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Over time the practice of Landscape Theatre has been performed in various types of locations: from parks to city centres, from bridges to canals, from hospitals to castles. This concept therefore breaks the norms of traditional theatre and expands its boundaries by guiding their audiences on adventurous walks through these landscapes and granting them a role in the performance itself. In this dissertation I will explore how I can implement this practice whilst training to become a tour guide at one of Edinburgh’s top tourist attractions, The Real Mary King’s Close. By working at this tourist attraction, I know the site has great potential for a Landscape Theatre piece as since the underground streets and houses are about 400 years of age, they are full of history and stories to share. Currently the tour guides at my workplace give remarkably interesting and informative tours, and each guide has their own interpretation of the tour; some are quite theatrical in their delivery whereas others mainly focus on the historical content and are skilled storytellers. The difference between the original tours and my Landscape Theatre version is that I will feature more interactive content in order to engage with the guests and include them in reliving the history of the site. By implementing Landscape Theatre methods in their tours, I believe that this is a successful way to reanimate the stories of the people who lived and died on the closes and involving the guests with those stories as well as the site itself will not only improve their level of guest interaction but will also create a memorable experience for the guests. Considering that Landscape Theatre should involve the audience as participants and allow them to engage with the landscape itself, I have drawn inspiration from British site-specific theatre companies such as Emergency Exit Arts in order to accomplish this. During training sessions at The Real Mary King’s Close I drew inspiration from the site itself; I found that just from taking in my surroundings and imagining what it was like to live in that space enabled me to maintain my character (Margaret Chesney) as well as enact a detailed account of the landscape as it was hundreds of years ago. The practical element for this study is a filmed documentation of my tour for which I have accumulated a small group of volunteers to attend and complete questionnaires for feedback. The following is a reflective account of my research/training process and the outcome including any feedback I received