The Creative Hub, The Storey Meeting House Lane Lancaster, LA1 1TH

Black Sea Blog #9 – Pete Brooks

4th February 2015 by Morven Macbeth

Thirty hours to go until we open and we’re feeling reasonably confident. There was a run last night which was much better than the previous one, and really now it’s just a case of ticking off problems. We have minor issues in almost all areas but none are show stoppers, and we are working to eliminate as many as possible before the run(s) this evening.

Within the company we have always half jokingly referred to our quite extended British Council tour of the former soviet republics as the war torn tour, but being here for an extended period has brought home to us in a more personal way just how painful the fallout from the collapse of the Soviet Union has been to a swathe of territory at the edge of the European Union. While we obviously knew the basic outline of Georgia’s troubled recent history it still feels odd to be working in a place that is considered to be the site of Europe’s first 21st century war particularly as we were also approached a couple of years ago about collaborating on a major project in Kiev. My good friend Noel Witts gave a speech at his 70th birthday in which he recommended getting to know Eastern Europe as an education in terms of understanding the privilege of being British, not for cultural or economic reasons but by virtue of the privilege of its geographic position.

I remember a line from Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook where the protagonist Anna complains to her Polish lover that his nightmares are ruining her sleep. To which he replies with words to the effect that she shouldn’t expect anything else if she chooses to sleep with someone whose life is the history of the twentieth century.

I also remember a show Mike Figgis made called Slow Fade which imagined an alternate reality in which Britain was not an island on Europe’s western fringe but a landlocked central European country. I remember that the poster;  a map of Europe in which Britain in red was bordered by Russia, Poland and Germany, sent a shiver down my spine, Certainly viewed from here, on a longitude east of Istanbul and not much west of Baghdad gives a very different perspective of Europe to that we have in the UK.


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