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  • Miles Hedley

EVELYN’S ROOTS by Teatro Vivo

Teatro Vivo specialise in promenade performances, bringing their art into the streets and buildings of south-east London with style, originality and joie de vivre. I still recall with great pleasure walking with them through Deptford as part of The Hunters Grimm, watching The Residents at The Five Bells pub in New Cross and carolling along to their Christmas wassail at the Creekside Discovery Centre.

More recently the company returned to the backstreets of Deptford with the brilliant Evelyn’s Roots, an outdoor show based on true and imagined stories spanning more than 400 years of local history and based on interviews with hundreds of residents collected over eight years.

Their Deptford-linked subjects included the 16th century diarist and horticulturalist John Evelyn, the former slave and abolitionist hero Oluadah Equiano, the pioneering photographer Thankfull Sturdee and the early 20th century slaughterhouse workers nicknamed – with horrid accuracy – the Gut Girls.

If you weren’t able to join the strolling players or you want to relive the experience, Teatro Vivo has produced a free podcast that allows you either to walk the performance route yourself or simply enjoy it at home.

The nine-episode podcast, based on the original work of director Sophie Austin and writers Bernadette Russell and Gareth Brierley, runs for 90 minutes and is available with a map of the route on the Teatro Vivo website at

Cast: Joseph Cullen (Plane) Kas Darley (Oak) Charlie Folorunsho (Equiano) Natasha Magigi (Beech) Louise Mai Newberry (Rowan) Bernadette Russell (narrator) Mark Stevenson (Yew). Community chorus: Mia Kitty Barbe, Caroline Kalu, Paul Kalu, Liz New, Susie New, Nichola Tuohy, Jackie Withnall, Anthea Wormington, led by Emma Waterford. Guest interviewees: Jonny Wicken, Stevie Hayes, The Tapman and Mr Brutal, Luciana Duailibe, Joyce Jacca, Moira Kerrane, Janet Lewis, Trina Lynsky. Incidental music written and performed by Mark Stevenson except Trumpet Fanfare, written and performed by May Stevenson.

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