MEET BORN FREE STAR FUNDRAISER MARK LEE DAVIES
After co-hosting a series of workshops with Born Free, creative artist Mark Lee Davies – Founder of Haus of Conservation – is holding a public performance in aid our charity.
Mark Lee Davies, from Surrey-based Creative Arts Collective Haus of Conservation, has been holding events to raise funds for our charity since 2017. He recently co-hosted a series of school workshops entitled ‘Dreams of the Wild’ with Born Free, using creative arts to highlight the challenges faced by wild animals and covering topics as diverse as eco anxiety and the wild pet trade. Crafted to inform as well as enthral, you can watch the Dreams of the Wild show at Dorking Halls, UK on Friday 14th July.
Mark, we’re so grateful for all you do for Born Free. Why did you first want to support our charity?
Late 2016 I saw a documentary on TV, where Born Free goes back to the home of Elsa the lion and Meru National Park. Just listening to Virginia (McKenna DBE) speak and her hopes for the future of wildlife was really inspiring. I was at a point in my life where I didn’t just want to create for entertainment value, I wanted to give back, educate and make difference. I hadn’t even seen the film ‘Born Free’, so I bought a copy, watched it, cried like a baby and the rest is history…
Mark you’ve chosen a big topic to tackle! How can the medium of dance and movement help tell this complex story?
Dance, movement, different choreographic styles and theatrical performance is a great way to get people to connect with the complex issues of conservation and actually any subject – I’ve covered all sorts of things in the past.
“I believe through embodiment, education and understanding that our wellbeing is linked to the natural world and is vital if we are going to create long term change.”
When coupled with the right music or even silence it makes people ‘feel’ things. I’ve always strived for this when doing shows, so rather than it becoming something you watch it is something you become. Hopefully each person leaves with something unique to everyone.
Why did you want to offer these workshops pro-bono for our charity?
Dreams of the Wild is much bigger project than just the show, there has been a whole series of workshops around the show which has got lots of children up, moving, acting, meditating and learning with the Born Free’s Education team. I believe through embodiment, education and understanding that our wellbeing is linked to the natural world and is vital if we are going to create long term change. These workshops have focussed on being wild and free and keeping wildlife in the wild, placing the individual at the heart of each workshop. Born Free has always been about the individual, one animal at a time.
Is there a particular Born Free project close to your heart?
I am particularly enjoying the educational projects where you help local communities live alongside the wildlife Born Free is conserving. This is so important if wildlife is to have any chance. Your current Selfish Selfies campaign is really relevant and I’m hoping people will support your campaign and hopefully help change legislation around animal abuse online.
A favourite wild animal?
I love big cats but to be honest I don’t really have a favourite, for me I see all animals as equal.
What’s next on the horizon?
Next is the development of our new show and wellbeing programs for 2024, getting into more schools, more audiences and getting the message out there about ‘wellbeing for all life’ and our educational themes. We have an exciting project with one of our partners the Roof of Africa School which is in Tanzania and the development of a Haus of Conservation Wellbeing Centre, for the school and local community which will focus on nature connectedness and conservation. I’m really hoping our work with Born Free will also continue and that we can reach bigger audiences together.
How can people support you?
You could buy a ticket to the show or follow Haus of Conservation on social media, but most importantly support the work of Born Free, talk about wildlife positively, think about your daily choices and how that effects the natural world and wildlife.