The Arbor is film maker Clio Barnard’s remarkable adaptation of The Arbor, a play by Andrea Dunbar who, at the age of 15, wrote a script based on life in the working class Bradford estate where she lived. The film is a fusion of narrative and documentary cinema and tells the powerful true story of Andrea Dunbar and her daughter Lorraine, who was just 10 years old when her mother died in 1990. Through interviews and first-hand accounts, The Arbor offers an innovative, compelling and troubling portrait of a family trying to come to terms with abuse, death, addiction and poverty.
In April 2018, Household, in in collaboration with Artangel, Belfast Film Festival, and supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, presented The Arbor as a series of synchronised screenings in community and domestic spaces across Belfast, and invited Clio Barnard, director of The Arbor, to join artists Mariah Garnett and Ed Webb-Ingall at Girdwood Community Centre for presentations and a discussion about different approaches to working with communities and representing people and place on film. To coincide with our public programme, Belfast Film Festival programmed parallel series of screenings to accompany The Arbor.
In response to The Arbor screenings, Household has released a series of interviews with artists, theatre-makers, photographers and facilitators that further explore the representation of people and place in the context of Belfast.
Interview with Mervyn Smyth, photographer and Community Engagement Manager at Belfast Exposed: Household Interviews Mervyn Smyth (PDF)
Interview with Paula McFetridge, artistic director of Kabosh Theatre Company: Household Interviews Paula McFetridge (PDF)
Interview with artist Michael Hanna: Household Interviews Michael Hanna (PDF)
Household would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Artangel, and Belfast Film Festival in delivering this programme of events.
The Arbor is part of The Artangel Collection, an initiative to bring outstanding film and video works, commissioned and produced by Artangel, to galleries and museums across the UK. The Artangel Collection has been developed in partnership with Tate, is generously supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Foyle Foundation and uses public funding from Arts Council England.
We want to thank Edel O’Reilly and Miguel Martin for transcribing the interviews.
Image credit: No. 46. Young Lorraine (Parvani Lingiah) dancing on the roof of her father’s car. Still from The Arbor, 2010. © Arbor Films Ltd.