Tobacco Factory Theatres are currently hosting a series of three shows as part of the artist in residency scheme Platform. I went to see Rosa Eaton’s ‘Southville Unexplained Club’, a one woman presentation on the conversations she has had in South Bristol about ‘things you can’t explain’. Rosa has a powerpoint presentation which she delivers showing parts of people she has photographed while chatting to them about ‘things they can’t explain’. Rosa covers stories about unidentified flying objects, strange sightings of women dressed in victorian costume hanging out in bedrooms. She tells striking local stories such as why South Bristol taxi drivers won’t drive to Dundry late at night and how it’s fairly common knowledge that there’s the ghost of a miner that sits on a chair at in the cellar under Dean Lane swimming pool.
The performance generates a feeling of community, as Rosa recounts her experience she talks about the local people in South Bristol (mainly Bedminster) being generous, supportive and friendly. It was touching that Rosa’s intention for making the presentation was to honour her eight year old younger self.
‘When I was growing up in Hotwells, as an eight-year-old I woke up in the middle of the night, looked out of my door from my bed – and saw the ghost of a young teenager in antiquated nightwear, holding a candle stick.’
Rosa told us that as an adult she had become more and more detached from her child self and almost disbelieved that she had seen a ghost. The journey she has taken to reconnect with herself as a child is endearing. Rosa shares the different ways that people can dismiss strange happenings, ‘It was the cold.’ ‘A trick of the light.’ ‘An embellished story.’ ‘My eyes play tricks on me.’ However after sharing video footage of actual ghosts and stories from the local area the audience were left feeling that strange happenings are unexplained they are still very real and very strange.
Tobacco Factory Theatres’ artist residency scheme Platform showcases three very contrasting shows this month, read more about that here.
Review by Anita MacCallum