The Museum of Walking group has created a dynamic new open-air Clerkenwell theatrical experience – The Walking Cure by Andreas Brandt
The Walking Cure is billed as “an immersive geolocated audio experience. Part crime reenactment. Part metaphysical game. Wholly unreliable guided walk for two people.”
Sounds intriguing – what does it mean? Andrew Stuck, one of its creators, explains: “It’s an immersive mystery story staged as a walk through the streets of Clerkenwell. You’re guided through the route by a voice responding to the GPS signal on your phone.” The walk has to be done in pairs. Why? “This is where the reenactment part comes in,” says Stuck.
“One of you follows the last-known movements of Alex Mann, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances, without leaving any trace. The other walker follows the route taken by one of the key eyewitnesses.”
Stuck’s co-creator, filmmaker and artist NG Bristow explains further: “You and your partner catch sight of each other at various points. We can’t say too much without revealing spoilers, but it’s as if the streets of Clerkenwell and its inhabitants become the stage set and cast of supporting characters for a play that you’re starring in. Or co-starring, since there are two of you.”
The walk, which takes 30 minutes, starts at The London Metropolitan Archives near Bowling Green Lane, and finishes up at Clerkenwell Green. “It’s a tightly packed labyrinth with intriguing sight-lines, best experienced about an hour before sunset,” says Bristow, with evident enthusiasm for his chosen ‘stage set’ of streets.
Walking creative and psychogeographer Andrew Stuck says that Clerkenwell was chosen as the location for the piece for its sense of intrigue ”Location location location is the mantra of estate agents but in terms of Clerkenwell it’s also the case for movies and now immersive stories,” he says.
“The pattern of the streets and alleyways, what is overlooked and what is hidden, were key in why we chose Clerkenwell for the setting of The Walking Cure. It should appeal to drama lovers as well as typical walkers. “Different aspects seem to attract different types of people,” says Bristow. “Fans of immersive theatre relish the prospect of chancing upon bits of incidental action. People who play scavenger hunts like using the city streets as a giant game board. We’ve had architects responding to the opportunity to see a familiar part of London from an unfamiliar angle. And of course, the story is essentially a yarn, so it should appeal to people who enjoy a twisty mystery.”
NG Bristow has also recently published A Week To Walk A Fortnight, a 40-page illustrated book of stories set between The British Library and Smithfield Market – a large number of which occur in Clerkenwell. Hatton Garden, Leather Lane and Clerkenwell Road hardware store Clerkenwell Screws all feature and each of the stories explores the theme of a journey on foot.
There are charmed pub crawls and three-legged dog walks, a daughter stalking her own father, a trainee spy learning surveillance, a magical ritual to open a portal to another dimension, and a man taking his late father’s winklepickers for an eventful stroll.
Alongside their print form in the book, the stories have been recorded and geolocated (there’s that word again!) allowing you to hear them in the locations where they are set. For those of you who don’t fancy walking the route (which I’d definitely recommend as the best way to experience them) it is also possible to hear them in ‘armchair mode’ on your computer.
The walk is available to download via this link: wlc.zone/twc
‘A Week To Walk A Fortnight’ is illustrated by Alban Low and published by Sampson Low and is available through the Museum of Walking: tinyurl.com/jjdaxrj2