Fairy portal camp at the Dell

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Fairy portal camp at the Dell

By Sara Marie Westh

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A hearty recommendation for anyone near Stratford upon Avon: in the Dell behind the Swan theatre of the RSC, creative group Slung Low has set up a camp. The white peaks of their tipis are visible from Waterside and Southern Lane, and on a slightly grey day earlier this week, overcome by curiosity, I decided to investigate.

It proved the best, and singularly most uplifting, decision of the week.

As the designer behind the event, David Farley, explained, the purpose of the camp is to gather people around a pivotal idea: opening the fairy portal of Stratford upon Avon and restoring balance to the world. The Dell apparently constitutes a natural centre-point, connects to the aesthetics of lay-lines, and allows the camp to be encompassed by the embrace of trees. A camp fire in the middle of the setup adds something ancient and basic to the overall feel of the thing. There is something deeply heartening about a space that lets you talk to complete strangers without even a hint of awkwardness.

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In practical terms, the camp encourages communication across demographic groups by offering a uniquely welcoming and open environment, and encouraging all to take part in the ongoing arts and crafts projects, being run by uncommonly nice people, and treating all comers to vegan meals at lunch and dinner and silent raves in the evenings.

As a special nod to Shakespeare, a small herb garden with the edible plants and herbs mentioned in the canon contributes seasoning to the meals.

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Completely mind-boggling in this day and age: it is all completely free.

Unfortunately, the camp will only last until this Saturday, when the main event – the opening of the portal – will take place. For the full programme, consult the RSC website.

Whether or not you believe in fairies, the camp is an immensely welcoming place, and I for one am definitely coming back.

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Author:Sara Westh

Sara is a fourth year PhD student at the Shakespeare Institute, researching authorial intent in editing Shakespeare by way of philosophy of mind. She has been associate editor for Blogging and Reviewing Shakespeare for a year now, and is thoroughly enjoying herself. She also works for the Shakespeare Institute, the Shakespeare Institute Library, and Shakespeare Survey.

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