“It was like time-travelling and being totally in the moment at the same time. You encapsulated our 38 year-old love story in 11 evocative lines.”
“You have a gift. You made me cry over the beauty and tenderness of the poem you wrote for me to give my friend, and she cried when she received it tonight. Love”
“Sometimes street performers are in-your-face and a bit scary. Not Charlotte. I loved watching people just be drawn to you.”
Charlotte Raven is a roving character based on early 19th century female traveling writers. Decked in an olive-green hoop skirt, poke bonnet and wielding a fountain pen, Charlotte writes letters and poems for festival crowds. Her desk (attached as a backpack) is exquisite with inlaid leather, tiny drawers and an inkwell.
Standing out in a festival crowd, Charlotte might write you a love-letter to your lady, or the sorry note you’ve been meaning to send, she might write you a short poem of your very own or just give you a try of her wax seal.
Charlotte Raven is a unique blend of performance and writing. Ailsa has been training and performing circus and clown for the last ten years. This complimentary combination of art forms is particular to Charlotte and the role she can play in a public festival context. There is nothing quite like her being performed on the Australian Festival Circuit.
In the current digital age there is a new worth being placed on the aesthetic of the paper-era. Charlotte keys into this with an exquisite period aesthetic that takes the time to value the detail that was. She is like a quality BBC period drama, but right here on the street. Charlotte is delightful and accessible whilst being embedded in the literary canon.
Bound in the performance piece is an understated tribute to women who wrote: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Miles Franklin and Melbourne’s own Georgiana McCrae. Many of the items on Charlotte’s desk belonged to Ailsa’s great-grandmothers, thus making the tribute to women one that ties intimately with her personal family history.
Charlotte Raven is an evocative, delicate and head-turning addition to roving performance art in Australia.
RMIT link Arts and Culture supports this project