Interview with artist Craig Coulthard, the mind behind Forest Pitch, an event that will be part of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad. Conducted by Eric Beard.
Succinct Briefing About Forest Pitch: A full size football pitch hidden deep within a commercial forest in the Scottish Borders. Trees that have been felled to make space for the pitch are being used to create goalposts, a shelter and other infrastructure on site, and the pitch is being made using recycled top soil from a local football ground. The heart of Forest Pitch is a day of sporting and cultural events that encapsulates the spirit of the modern Olympic movement. On the 21st of July, two amateur football matches (one between male teams and one between female teams) will be played on the pitch, complemented by a range of performances by local groups.
Spectators will be members of local communities and schools, the players’ families, and people involved in producing the event. A significant number of tickets will be made available to the general public. After the matches, the shelter will remain, the site will grow naturally, with some native planting introduced, and it will be publicly accessible for up to 60 years.
Now, on to the interview with Mr. Craig Coulthard…
Eric Beard: First of all, I have to ask where on earth did this idea come from?
Craig Coulthard: I guess like a lot of ideas, Forest Pitch was gradually revealed to me as different things I was interested in, and had experienced came together at the right time. The main roots of the idea spring from my childhood experience of playing football for a local team in what was then West Germany, deep in the middle of a wood, with a small changing room and a chapel nearby. Later, I played football at Cathkin Park in Glasgow, which was once Third Lanark’s ground. Now, as when I played there, the ground has large tall trees growing straight from the terracing. When I was 15 playing there, it was quite dream like and disconcerting. Later still, I had been travelling by plane from London to Edinburgh, and flew over the Borders. I was looking down at all the forestry, with its small tracks seemingly leading nowhere, and I was struck by how exciting it would be to come across a football pitch there, either walking to it, or seeing it from the sky.