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‘Right of Way’: theatre exploring the South West Coastal Path

  • by JW

“Walking into a green landscape is like walking into nature’s medicine cabinet.” [Beth Bowden, writer and performer]


It was exactly a year ago when the 630-mile walk along the South West Coast Path reached its 50th milestone. And at the time, there were some wonderful personal journeys marking the 50th anniversary.

It is a truly inspiring stretch of pathway – also attracting Sidmouth runners earlier in the year and offering one of the best running trails in the UK.

However, most of us would prefer to walk it – perhaps inspired by such fabulous writers as Raynor Winn on the South West Coast Path:

Raynor wrote her first book, The Salt Path about her journey walking the 630-mile South West Coast Path. The book tells the story of Raynor and her husband Moth, who was diagnosed with a terminal illness, becoming homeless after a bad investment and deciding to walk the Path. The Salt Path is a Sunday Times bestseller and is hugely popular amongst all lovers of the Path, inspiring so many to follow in her footsteps. We’d also like to share a foreword that Raynor wrote for our Complete Guide to the South West Coast Path (the bible for any Coast Path walker!).

And here Raynor Winn reads an extract from The Salt Path on the SWCP website.

Today, David Marsden writes a review of a performance piece at the Exeter Phoenix – which he calls a ‘rich treasury’ inspired by the South West Coastal Path:

Beth Bowden’s Right of Way adds to this rich treasury. Her piece, as with the other works, offers a deeply personal perspective of human connection with landscape… This is a deeply personal piece and as writer/performer/director, Bowden has put her heart and soul into it. Her writing, often lyrical and poetic, draws you in and what is personal for her becomes a valuable and valid shared experience.

Exploring our connection with salt and water as well as with landscape is central to this piece and we are often presented with memorable and beautiful images on the arresting set. Towards the end of this one hour piece, Bowden says: “Walking into a green landscape is like walking into nature’s medicine cabinet.” Yes. We have joined her on a journey from anger to joyful connection and the idea of walking as therapy rings loud and true.

With more on the Right of Way at the Exeter Phoenix

Using lyrical movement and projections of the Coast Path, RIGHT OF WAY explores our intimate connection with the coastline, bodies of water and our heritage. Written whilst walking the South West Coast Path, it is an autobiographical and embodied reflection on disability, chronic illness and being a Young Carer.

And finally, here’s some very inspiring background to the project: RIGHT OF WAY: South West Tour