On 17th January, 48 BA (Hons) Acting students from Arts University Bournemouth ventured out in the cold and went to the Ancient Technology Centre (ATC) in Cranborne, Dorset to explore and experience an ancient way of life, in order to immerse themselves in a completely new piece of theatre that they have created, based on the stories and legends of the Native American Indians.

The Native American Indians stories have been passed down through the generations by word of mouth until they were finally written down between 1890 and 1940, proving an inspiration to the Arts University’s students. Doug Cockle, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Acting and the director of the new play that has been created ‘Coyote was Going There’ commented “I have three books on Native American stories which I have carried around with me for over 10 years – they have crossed the ocean and been through seven house moves, I just couldn’t let them go. When I was exploring ideas for a show to do with the students I found these books on a shelf at home and began looking at them again. The stories are just so rich and wonderful that the idea to use them to create a piece of theatre just made perfect sense.”

The Acting students were each given the task for their first rehearsal, to tell one of the stories in a traditional way. What made this particularly special was the atmosphere of the Ancient Technology Centre’s Earth Roundhouse. With a roaring fire in the centre of the performance space and the sense of ancient history and cultures surrounding them, the students brought the stories to life and discovered for themselves the magic and beauty of these stories and of traditional storytelling.

One Acting student commented “I didn’t realise that the stories where passed down like this until I was at the ATC. I realised that they had no pens, no paper and no way of preserving knowledge except to remember and retell their stories to their children.”

Another student commented “I love that the stories create reasons for things that happen in life…. they have stories for why Aspens shake in the wind and why dogs sniff each others’ rear ends…. it’s great!”

The Ancient Technology Centre is an educational and archaeological site dedicated to preserving, exploring and recreating aspects of the United Kingdom’s historical heritage. Located in Cranborne, Dorset the site now boasts three accurate re-creations of ancient dwellings: An Iron Age round house, an Earthouse (which doubles as a storytelling and music venue) and, their newest addition, a Viking Longhouse. More about the Ancient Technology Centre can be found at www.ancienttechnologycentre.co.uk/

Pascale Barnes, Administrator at the Ancient Technology Centre commented “It was wonderful to hear the chanting and singing that the students did. Their voices made the Earth House sing and really invoked a sense of an ancient world”

The students will be performing ‘Coyote Was Going There’ at the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole from the 17th – 19th February. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lighthousepoole.co.uk or by ringing 0844 406 8666. There is an age guidance of 12 for the show.