I created an installation in collaboration with Imogen Cloet for a theatre production of Operation Pied Piper by November Club. My installation consisted of a number of a stitched paper forest and a set of paper cut dolls weaving inside and out of the trees set onto a dinner table lit from below. The installation responded to a group of young evacuee girls from Elswick who lived at Wallington Hall during WW2. They would walk into the forest holding hands to pick apples to make into pies. The girls at the front would shake the trees with the girls at the back picking up the apples from the forest floor.
Operation Pied Piper was the code name for the wartime government’s evacuation project, to take children to the safety of the countryside after the outbreak of war. In preparing the show, November Club recorded the memories of women who, as girls, were evacuated from Newcastle’s Elswick Road School to Wallington. For some, it was an idyllic time roaming the hall and grounds and glimpsing an unfamiliar life, while others dubbed it ‘the concentration camp at Cambo’. One of the elements the audiences found most moving was the installation in the attics of the evacuees’ photographs and recorded reminiscences.