Ten Years On
On the occasion of artist and arts promoter Richard Demarco’s 90th birthday, the Demarco European Art Foundation asked for submissions expressing how Richard and the Demarco archive had inspired friends and followers. Moving Pictures co-founder Lucy Nordberg met Richard 10 years ago at the Festival Fringe, which led to a production of her play King Arthur in the grounds of the castle where the archive was then based. She wrote the following piece. Happy Birthday Richard!
I first met Richard Demarco during his masterclass at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. With Edinburgh-based company Siege Perilous, directed by Andy Corelli, I had written and co-produced a large-scale play, King Arthur, which uses myth to comment on the present. The Edinburgh Fringe had seemed the obvious place to try out ambitious new ideas, and Arthur has connections with Lothian. But despite the production being successful, the Fringe itself seemed to be quite complex to fathom out, removed somehow from its original purpose, and it wasn’t until I heard Richard speak that I encountered what I’d been expecting as the meaning behind the Fringe.
Richard’s was a masterclass on production in the widest sense: emphasising the importance of creating art that is of lasting worth, and through its actual production connecting with the history of the location to enrich it. After seeing King Arthur, Richard asked Siege Perilous to produce the play again as a promenade performance in 2010 as part of the celebrations surrounding his 80th birthday. The location was Craigcrook Castle, where the Demarco Collection and Archive was then based. This was an opportunity to investigate the possibilities of location, and the company I since co-founded, Moving Pictures Theatre, continues to explore these ideas.
I believe that artists respond to Richard because they recognise that he lives in the true present, where art enters the world and the world is transformed into art. He is generous with his knowledge and seeks to forge connections between people in order to make things happen. As he says, art isn’t about money. Before the money, before the process of applying for funds, before marketing, all those necessary activities that follow inspiration, it is encouragement that is important. It is somehow fitting that Richard’s birthday should fall now, as we start to emerge from an uncertain and troubling time. We must be reminded of these creative wellsprings, that the language of art can unite, that the future rests in carrying out our ideas.
Lucy Nordberg, July 2020
Find out more about the Demarco archive and see all the birthday celebration submissions at https://www.demarcoarchive.com/