Fierce Festival 2019 / Birmingham, UK / 15 – 20 October

Living Books Wanted! for Fierce Festival 2012

Would you like to participate in a Birmingham Repertory Theatre
& Fierce Festival 2012 co-production?

Image from the film Farenheit 451 dir. François Truffaut 1966

We are looking for people to take part in a unique performance project that will involve the step-by-step memorisation of an entire book. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a memory expert and no performance experience is necessary, but you will need a passion for stories and an interest in developing performing skills. We’re looking for a broad range of ‘living books’ who can tell stories to the people of our city and region (i.e. non-English languages welcome, including BSL). The process will be lead by Fierce Festival artist Mette Edvardsen, who has written a letter to give you a flavour of the project. (see below)

You and your availability

In order to participate you must be available for the preparatory sessions and festival itself. These sessions will take place in central Birmingham. The performances during the festival will take place at the Central Library. We wouldn’t expect you to be able to attend every rehearsal but you must be available during the period of the festival – all dates are below. We’re looking for people who live in the West Midlands; other than this, your enthusiasm and commitment is enough. To be considered for this unique performance project we’d like the following bits of info from you…

• Please write no more than 150 words on why you think you’d be a good living book
• Tell us about your 3 favourite books and why you love them
• Detail your full name, email address, telephone number and date of birth

Phase 1 – Intro and selecting your book
Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 November 2011 11am – 5pm.

Phase 2 – Learn by Heart
Saturday 25 February – Friday 2 March 2012 (times tbc)

Phase 3 – Final group rehearsal
Tuesday 27 – Thursday 29 March 2012

Festival Performances
Friday 30 March – Saturday 7 April 2012 (full schedule available)

Deadline & contact info: If you are interested in participating, please email your info to with the subject line Time Has Fallen Asleep by Mon 16th Jan or, if you would like further information, please call 0121 245 2000.

We will make a selection of people to invite for next phase in late January.If you know of other people or groups who you think this could be of interest to, feel free to forward them this note or send us their contact information so that we can get in touch with them directly.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Fierce Festival & The REP

Fierce Festival is annual international festival of live art which includes theatre, music, parties and interventions in public space across the city. We work with established institutions and unusual spaces to create memorable events that encourage Birmingham to be seen in a new light.

The raison d’etre of Birmingham Repertory Theatre is to create theatre that stimulates, provokes and amuses through entertainment. We aim to give individuals the chance to explore ideas and emotions and share reactions with others both through the collective experience of being an audience at a live event and through discussion and debate afterwards. To enable the widest possible range of people to enjoy that experience we aim to constantly push the boundaries of what a “play”


I would like to inform you about the project “Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine” that will perform as part of Fierce Festival 2012 in co-production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre. The project investigates memory and learning by heart as a practice, and the way we pass on stories to one another. We are searching for people to extend our library of ‘living books’ and hope that this letter inspires your interest.

For “Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine” a group of people memorise a book of their choice. Together they form a library collection of living books. The books are passing their time in a library, sitting in chairs, walking around, talking together, looking out of the window, reading in paper-books from the shelves, waiting to be visited. The visitors choose a book they would like to read, and are then taken by the book -to a place or setting in the library, or for a walk outside for example, whilst the book delivers its content (with, possibly, valid interpretations).

The idea for this library of living books comes from the science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451. It is a future vision of a society where books are forbidden because they are considered dangerous, one where happiness must be obtained through an absence of knowledge and individual thought. As books are forbidden in this society, an underground community of people learn books by heart in order to preserve them for the future.

Books are read to remember and written to forget.
To memorise a book, or more poetically ‘to learn a book by heart’, is in a way a rewriting of that book. In the process of memorising, the reader for a moment steps into the place of the writer, or rather he/ she is becoming the book. Maybe the ability to learn a whole book by heart is relative to what book you choose, the time you invest, and perhaps your skills. But, however much or well you learn something by heart you have to keep practicing it otherwise you will forget it again. Perhaps by the time you reach the end you will have forgotten the beginning. Learning a book by heart is an ongoing activity. There is nothing final or material to achieve, the practice of learning a book by heart is a continuous process of remembering and forgetting.

There are no specific skills required. Each participant will choose the book he/ she would like to learn by heart and engages in the practice of memorising it. We will be a group of 6 or 7 living books all working with the practice of learning by heart. Our practice will be focused on memorising and reciting parts of the books. During Fierce Festival this practice will be ongoing, where, the living books will be available for library visitors to come and ‘read’ over a period of 7 days.

You can discover more about my practice here:

I hope you think this project might be for you and look forward to meeting you soon.

Best regards,

Mette Edvardsen