In the masterclass workshops we ran last week, hosted so generously by Theatre Delicatessen, the first 3 days were teaching toolkits and then the last 2 days were making a piece at speed to share with an audience. What we created was The Curious History of Mr Fleet.
You’d be met by one of us who’d ask you about your day and then introduce the piece. They would tell you about how in our reconnaissance in the local area of Farringdon, we’d heard countless stories of a cafe once run by a certain Mr Fleet. It was the kind of old school cafe where you didn’t get to choose, but you always got what you (didn’t know you) wanted. People remembered their grandparents talking about it, but no one was quite sure where it was. Jimmy who runs the juice wagon on Exmouth Market swears blind that he once went in at 10.30 and when he came out it was 10.15. Mr Fleet was always whistling a song – was it the theme to Star Wars or the Belgian national anthem? – and there was a framed picture of Gene Kelly above the counter.
You’d then be asked to text hello to a number and the magic phone platform rang you back with a map and instructions to find yourselves in particular places to text to find out more about Mr Fleet.
After a little while you were rung to assemble in Spa Fields Park, which had once been the site of the Pantheon, the grandest Tea House in London (for real).
And here you met this scene.
Later, you might discover a little card from Mr Fleet slipped into your pocket.
The Curious History Of Mr Fleet was by Coney, here represented by Alice Cooper, Alejandro De Mesa Palau, Sam Holdsworth, Gavin Inglis, Melissa Holston, Ben Mills, Harriet Moar-Smith, Benedikt Päffgen, Tassos Stevens, Kady Stockman, with thanks to Theatre Delicatessen, and to everyone else who took part in the first three days of the masterclass.