The Visited Orchard
A commission for the Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust 2019
Discover hidden nooks and crannies on the site of Anne Hathaway's cottage by finding individual objects that tell you stories of who has been here before, who visits today and who may visit in the future. Discover stories of WW2 sweethearts, migratory birds, writers of letters and famous visitors. Engage in actions and activities as you make your own journey; write a story, exchange an item, act out a miniature play.
Finish your adventure by writing or drawing your own story on an ornamental apple and hanging it on the special Visitant Tree: a tree that will grow with visitor apples throughout the summer.
*based on visitor figures and substantiated guessing.
Francesca was commissioned to create an artwork that encouraged visitors to spend time in the gardens surrounding Anne Hathaway's cottage in Stratford Upon Avon. The cottage has been a tourist destination for over 200 years, with approximately 18, 583, 232* visitors and counting. With visitors past and present as a starting point Francesca spent time in the Shakespeare archives (visitors log books & cleaning rota's), being a guide in the cottage talking to current visitors, staff and volunteers gathering stories. This led to installation of unusual objects to be found about the ground (a small sheep, overlarge shoes, a a bike) that told stories of visitors past and present (the field fare that visit every year, the faked shakespeare love letters 'found' here, the couple that had their first date here). Visitors were given a guide with clues to find words to complete a sentence that gave them their own wooden apple to tell their own story on in an ever growing installation throughout the summer. This project culminated in a live performance of the stories in a harvesting of the apples at the end of summer.