We’re delighted to be part of Orchard Portraits, a remarkable dance project with Surrey Hills Arts as part of Surrey Dance 21.

Our historic orchard will be the setting for this intergenerational piece, with senior performers and local schoolchildren, exploring movement among the ancient trees. The piece is created by choreographer and film-maker Rosemary Lee in collaboration with film-maker Roswitha Chesher.

twisted trees in orchard in spring

The project will become a multi-screen video installation, on display at West Horsley Place, and then touring elsewhere in Surrey.

Ali Clarke, Programme Manager, Surrey Hills Arts, explained what's special about the project and its location: 

'West Horsley Place is such an evocative, intriguing, magical place and the inspiration for ‘Orchard Portraits.’ This project has connected children and seniors to their local Surrey Hills landscape in a mindful, sensory way. We hope this is the first of many Surrey Hills Arts projects in this special location.’  

Choreographer Rosemary Lee talked about the appeal of our orchard for this piece and how it prompted her imagination:

'The orchard has such a still, timeless quality, I love it's quiet wildness. I was drawn particularly to the human sized trees, so old now and past their best fruiting days but living through each season, and home to beautiful lichens and mosses. I imagined senior performers in contemplative partnership with these trees and equally imagined a throng of school children exploring the orchard with youthful energy.' 

The development of the project included movement workshops in the orchard last autumn, and now as spring begins, we’re looking forward to seeing our beautiful orchard in use to inspire and enable creativity.