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Hear a Pin Drop Here, Battersea Arts Centre

Holly Rumble

Pros: An interesting topic is used to explore the sights and sounds of London living. 

Cons: Only a small cog in the wheel of a much larger project.

Our Verdict: A lovely project that has taken a very simple idea and ran with it. While not strictly falling under the obvious definition of theatre, Holly Rumble’s piece is well considered!

Holly Rumble walked every street within a 500-meter radius of the Battersea Arts Centre. Every 50 yards or

Courtesy of Battersea Arts Centre

so she would stop, shut her eyes and drop a pin to see if she could Hear a Pin Drop Here. Her aim? To see if the common saying “so quiet you could hear a pin drop” was a sensible measure of noise. This wasn’t the first place she’d performed this experiment, she’d used the same parameters both in Edinburgh, during the festival, and 40 miles south of Tokyo, Yokohama.

Holly is a very unassuming young woman with clearly much passion in her project. She has an open mind and genuinely wants to find results. She has learnt many things, not just about dropping pins which, let’s be honest, isn’t going to give anyone any life skills (although I think perhaps she has become the master at spotting them on the floor) but she has learnt an awful lot about what makes Battersea the area it is. She understands more than anyone the urban land and soundscape of this south London area.

Now you might consider walking for 45 minutes around a hilly (more hilly than you’d expect) mainly residential area of south London to not be your cup of tea, especially doing it with strangers, but Holly takes a clear leadership, interspersing the walking with just enough stops at interesting places and activities that gets you to actually consider the world around you. A phrase one of my old lecturers used when talking about exploring London comes to mind, “Don’t be tourists, be inquisitive Londoners” and that was precisely what we were.

While I really enjoyed my time wandering around Battersea and Clapham, Hear a Pin Drop Here doesn’t actually teach you a great deal of new information, rather it collects it all together, information on a wide range of topics such as pin type, weather, surfaces, and Holly points it out to you in a fun and enthusiastic manner.

And while I enjoyed my evening meeting a number of nice and interesting people along the way, there wasn’t quite enough to get my teeth into. However. I feel it is very important to continue to watch and support this project as it grows!

As an interactive piece, Hear a Pin Drop Here is a fun and different show, a performance fallen far from the tree of the proscenium arch that one automatically thinks of as being “theatre”. This makes it exciting for any audience with an open mind because it is still relevant to our interests as people seeking the best, most progressive performance art out there.

No wonder it was taken on by the Battersea Arts Centre, that innovative and exciting home base for explorative arts.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

Sadly, Hear a pin drop here was a week long project at the Battersea Arts Centre and came to an end on Friday 7th June 2013, but do visit Holly’s website www.hearapindrophere.com to see more about the project and her work.

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