Artists Rowena Pearce and Tim Millar
Composer Helen Ottaway
Sound designer Alastair Goolden

Voices Melanie Pappenheim and Caroline Radcliffe
Violin Anne Wood

Flowing tears quenching the burnt earth as Phaeton’s sisters mourn their brother after his terrible and destructive fall – this is the main inspirational image for Lachrymae (Latin: tears). Phaeton’s sisters are turned to trees and their tears, transformed to amber in the heat of the sun, are carried away by the river to become adornments for Roman brides. Thus something of beauty is created and the sadness transcended. Transformation and the emergence of life from water are common themes in the work of Rowena Pearce and Helen Ottaway. Through this story these themes are drawn together, making tears and laments, blending and merging the visual and aural into a single experience. Lachrymae is an exploration of music and visual art through movement.

“Cortex in verba novissima venit. Inde fluent Lachrymae

(The bark closed over their last words. Then the tears flowed)” [Ovid, Metamorphoses]

“…tree bark, rough and furrowed, crept on upwards over their bodies, throats, faces…….

Through that bark, there oozed lymph like tears……….” [Ted Hughes, Tales from Ovid]

Originally devised as a gallery installation, Lachrymae has now been developed as an outdoor piece.

Current dates

From 18 July 2016 Chapel Coppice, Ashley Chase Estate, near Abbotsbury, Dorset

In collaboration with Satsymph, Artmusic has created a virtual version of Lachrymae which can be experienced via GPS using a smart phone. Part of the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership’s Ridgeway Sounds apps. Satsymph creates GPS-triggered immersive soundworlds. Download App1 here.

Performance History

Oerol, The Netherlands 2016

June 11th-19th, 11 am – 5 pm

Bommengat, Terschelling

Part of the EXPEDITIE programme at the Oerol Festival.

Oerol (Literal translation: Everywhere) is a festival which takes place on a sandbar island in the North of Holland. Every June, the island of Terschelling in the Wadden Sea is transformed for ten days into a unique natural stage for theatre, dance, street theatre, art and music. See the 2016 Oerol programme here.

Inside Out Dorset 2014

September 19th -21st, noon – 6 pm

Chapel Coppice, Ashley Chase Estate, near Abbotsbury, Dorset

part of Ridgeway Responses

commissioned by Activate for Inside Out Dorset Festival.

supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership, West Dorset District Council, Dorset County Council and Arts Council England.

The Shimmy 2013

May 19th

The Avenue of Trees, Wandsworth Park, London SW15

produced by Artsadmin

with live performance by Emma Smith, Jennymay Logan and Vincent Sipprell of the Elysian String Quartet and 12 members of The Festival Chorus.

Frome Festival 2001

June 30th – July7th

Black Swan Arts, Gallery 2

Somerset Art Week 2000

September 16th – 24th

The Gallery, Shave Farm, near Bruton

A sneak visit to Chapel Coppice

What is a Lachrymatory? view a short preview film

A CD is available, see our sales page