Garden of Imagination.
This installation can be as simple as placing the performer, with no set requirements, or we can ramp it up to embrace whatever structure your imagination, location and budget inspires.
Lady of the Garden. Yvonne Coughlan. Triskel Arts Center. Pic. Alex Cepile.
Inset Lady of the Garden Yvonne Coughlan. Pic. John Allen Images.
Felt artist Dinny Wheeler. Pic. Ana Flynn.
You can choose to ticket the garden, or to allow donations to the garden, or to make the garden freely available for anyone who chooses to enter. We will work with you for the best adaptation to your festival big or small.
The Garden of imagination was created in Glasgow by Yvonne Coughlan. The Original durational performance entitled 'Imaginary Garden' took place 12-4pm, 24 Jan 2008 in George Square.
At dinner the evening before the performance, her colleagues were not convinced that it would find any engagement. Yvonne asked the waiter what she would do, if whilst walking through the main square the next day she encountered someone, who invited her to visit an imaginary garden. The waiter replied, 'no way' that sounds like a crazy person, 'I'd run.' On contemplation however the waiter returned and asked if that person in the square would be Yvonne, when this was confirmed, the waiter changed her answer to, 'OK, then, I think I'd give it a go.'
At noon the next day, Yvonne began the performance by sitting on the bench in the main square, where a memorial plaque had been the original point of inspiration; "Charlie 'Midnight' O'Sullivan a poet and philosopher to his friend." With her red umbrella, red gloves and a large red wooden dice, she had a signal to her audience that something was different here, as she sat with Charlie's spirit in her thoughts. Her self limitation was that the audience would not be approached, but rather she would wait for them to choose to enter the Garden of Imagination for themselves, by speaking to her first they would create the magic that allowed the performance to begin for them...
Surprisingly they did, people of all ages approached, engaged, and were then invited to enter the imaginary garden. The first participant was to write poetry with her, and the final two provided ballroom dancing in the public square, later writing to Yvonne, that this experience had made their trip to Glasgow.
Where the audience could not decide, which of the garden's offerings they wished to engage with, they were invited to throw the dice, and the correlating number indicated a choice on the list. There were 4 hours of poetry, song, stories, meditation, chats, a robbery, a fairy-tale, a true love story, and that final dance, and all visits were marked by the participant writing in Yvonne's record book, with one copy for them, as a memento, and a second carbon copy for Yvonne's documentation of this event; so began the voyage of The Garden of Imagination.
These stories are now part of the performance, which also makes new stories with every new audience. The audience may choose to be as connected as they wish. Yvonne's people skills mean that this engagement is invited, gently encouraged, but never forced.
The original premise in the square was one of waiting for her garden to grow. She had set the seeds, but the flowers had to grow all by themselves. Only those who chose to speak to her, would be invited into the 'Imaginary Garden.' While the installation has been given it's space in festival situations, and is now programmed, the sense of allowing the garden to grow is alive and well, and each season has some perennials, but so many new species that are appreciated by this creative gardener.
The original stories take us from Glasgow to Ireland, from 2008 George Square to World War 2 France, and back again to present day...
Kinsale Arts Festival 2013. Town Park.
You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
28A. diyCORK Festival of Culture 2012; Garden Of Imagination.
Garden of Imagination Picture Gallery. Very Healthy Food. 2012.
The Garden of Imagination. A facilitated creative space. Part of diyCORK Festival of Culture. Very healthy Food, 72 Douglas Street, Cork. 7-10pm Sat. 19th May and 4-7pm Sunday 20th May, 2012.
The facilitated performance space offered a human jukebox with Yvonne Coughlan and Liz Butt, and an invitation to produce poetry, dance, song, art, theatre, storytelling, meditation, as well as providing a safe haven, and some very healthy food. The audience could choose to sit and listen, eat delicious food, or share their talents.
Installations of the Garden were:
Tell me a story? Tea and storytelling with Masha Falaleeva. A simple idea, without big ambitions, just people holding warm cups and telling stories.
Make AND Do. Facilitated by Elaine Murphy-wish line, recipe book, drawing, progressive knitting, garden poetry, bookbinding, bring a square for quilting, bag making. Angel card readings.
Addtional offerings were the Live Blog. Musicians dropping in to play. Very Healthy Food feeding people, and a BYOB policy for the adults on Saturday evening.
Then Facepainting and Balloon making on Sunday for the family.
Producer/ Performer Yvonne Coughlan.
12. Garden of Imagination. Engage Arts Festival, Bandon. 2-4pm & 5-7pm,
25 Sept. 2010.
25 Sept. 2010.
For Engage, The Garden of Imagination remained full with varying groups and ages passing through its environs of a candle-lit indoor space. The Garden of Imagination audience are always invited to perform, and facilitated to be as creative as they would like. On this occasion one group worked with Yvonne to devise a theatrical play, which they performed for the next audience group. Many sang a song, and a lot of drawings were created by the youngest participants. As always, the audience decide the level of their participation, and are welcome to express as much of themselves as they wish, or to simply sit back, relax, and take it all in.
11. Garden of Imagination. 21 June 2010.
For Ballinspittle Solstice Festival, 6pm-2am, 21 June 2010, The Garden of Imagination was entitled 'Lady Garden.'
Yvonne Coughlan offered the human jukebox list, which led to a night of singing in Ballinspittle village, with a mixture of all ages.
Particular highlights for Yvonne this year, were a group of young sports enthusiasts, who had originally expressed their distaste for the arts, in no uncertain terms, but whom were won over, and requested many surprisingly traditional songs from the Jukebox list. By the end of the evening they had gone through the list of offerings in poetry, dance, music, story telling, and even volunteered to try the guided meditation by the end of their experience.
Another group of teens, joined the garden, then ran off to get their musical friends, and returned to serenade Yvonne until this was the last installation open in the festival. Anything can happen in the Garden of Imagination.
3. Imaginary Garden 2008
Imaginary Garden. Durational Performance Piece. The audience is invited to join the artist in the imaginary garden to write poetry, sing, dance, hear a story, tell a story, close their eyes and listen to the garden come alive in their imagination.
Culmination of Marilyn Arsem Performance workshop, Tramway. Main Square, Glasgow, Scotland. 12-4pm, 24 Jan 2008.
Cathal O'Donovan, Yvonne Coughlan, Paulo Barone. Pic. Allex Cepile.
You could find that lady anywhere, and she will sing, play and tell stories that will entertain, engage, and encourage you to be the imaginative, creative inspiringly beautiful human that you are.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.