Spirit of the Place: From this weekend pop on your headphones, submerge yourself in this snackable audio play as you walk down Union Street, Ryde

Listen at home, or while you’re in Ryde, as the short play unfolds along the length of Union Street. It’s full of great visuals, theatre, memories from Ryde residents and a soundtrack by Plastic Mermaids

Spirit of the Place - Scene 1 Vicky and Will in S. Fowler & Co by Rachel Shore

Anyone who likes to be entertained, the music of Plastic Mermaids or even a passing interest in Isle of Wight and Ryde history will love this project.

Let us unfold it for you.

Spirit of the Place
Spirit of the Place is a new work made up of ten scenes weaving together real and fictional voices, that chart the lives of the a young couple as they navigate life’s milestones.

You can listen to each scene as you arrive at the corresponding Union Street location or sit back and listen at home, letting your imagination take over.

The birth of the idea
Like many other events planned for across the Isle of Wight this year, as soon as the Covid-19 lockdown struck, Ryde Arts had to flex their creative thinking skills to ensure that this year’s Arts Council-funded commission was still able to live on.

Spirit of the Place – originally a promenade piece of theatre taking place at locations along Union Street, Ryde with live music etc – was planned for August 2020.

How the idea evolved and adapted
When it became clear that social distancing measures would mean this type of theatre would no longer be viable, the team put their heads together and worked on adapting the idea.

They settled on an audio play, layered with interviews, a fictional story of Vicky and Will, as well as some newly-commissioned music by Isle of Wight band, Plastic Mermaids.

Click on the images to see larger versions

Spirit of the Place map by Rachel Shore

What is Spirit of the Place?
Spirit of the Place is the successful outcome of a highly collaborative research-led project, that involved several Ryde organisations and artists all working across a range of creative disciplines.

The result is a fantastic ten-scene audio play, combining music, interview recordings and scripted dialogue, all directed by Islander, Joe Plumb.

Be taken on a journey
Each of the ten scenes takes place at locations along the length of Union Street and the play culminates at Western Gardens.

Spirit of the Place Podcasts - Scene 2 Vicky and Will in Blacksheep Bar by Rachel Shore

People are encouraged to download each of the ten scenes and then walk the route of the performance, starting at S. Fowler and Co at the top of Union Street and making your way down to the seafront.

Spirit of the Place Podcasts - Scene 3 Vicky and Will in Ada by Rachel Shore

The story of Vicky and Will are weaved through the ten short scenes, interspersed with recollections of Ryde captured by members of Network Ryde (the youth project) working with Sassy Productions (who provided free training in the recording of interviews).

The musical score linking the narrative together was provided by Plastic Mermaids.

Spirit of the Place Podcasts - Scene 4 People at the Victoria Arcade by Rachel Shore

The fabulous visuals for Spirit of the Place were created by designer, Rachel Shore. She joined the project to undertake the visual arts commission and created a series of scale models to represent each scene of the performance, as well as a pop-up map that shows the walking route and scene locations for each of the audio recordings.

Spirit of the Place Podcasts - Scene 5 Vicky and daughter in Lost Lover by Rachel Shore


Spirit of the Place was commissioned by Ryde Arts and funded by Arts Council England with support from Ryde Town Council.

Find out more
To find out more about Ryde Arts visit their Website.

Spirit of the Place Podcasts - Scene 8 Having Pride in Ryde by Rachel Shore

From there you’ll also be able to listen all the Spirit of the Place audio recordings and map, before heading out to listen in situ.


Our thanks to Ryde Arts for sponsoring this feature. They and other businesses taking paid promotion enables you to continue reading OnTheWight for free

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Friday, 28th August, 2020 4:33pm

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Filed under: Isle of Wight Art, Music, Ryde, Isle of Wight, Sponsored Feature, The Arts, Theatre

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