Unique art project to open on Holkham Beach

A three-mile stretch of North Norfolk beach has been transformed into a huge project created by a world renowwed art director which opens on Monday.

For the next two weeks a private area of Holkham Beach will welcome visitors to see Walking, which is a series of sculptural and music installations including the imposing courtyard and a 10-metre high cone.

American Robert Wilson is the man behind the project, which has been commisioned by the Norfolk & Norwich Festival and is part of the London 2012 Festival.

He has worked with Dutch visual artist Theun Mosk and theatre maker Boukje Schweigman. He arrived in Holkham to sign off the project and was going to attend the Walking launch at Holkham Hall on Sunday evening.

'It's theatre, but not as you know it,' said Mr Wilson.

More than 12 tonnes of steel have been used to construct the first installation – a 20 metre by 20 metre and five metre high enclosure - along with 1,200 bunches of willow, 176 sheets of plywood and 80 tonnes of sand. The cone is made out of a specially designed timber frame which is clad in clay.

Visitors will be asked to hand over mobile phones and other possessions so they can switch off from any distractions.

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The walk starts along a carefully selected path – part of which is not normally accessible to the public - which winds through meadows, woodlands and dunes as well as a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Walking producer Kate Harvey said: 'In an era of 24-hour news channels, when time and attention are dominated by an overload of information from emails, phones and the internet, Walking provides a unique liberation from the stresses and strains of everyday life. For a brief four hour period we invite you to leave your pressures behind, free your senses and experience the world in a new dimension.'

Holkham Estates director David Horton-Fawkes said: 'Holkham is delighted to support this ground-breaking event which will challenge perceptions of the nature and environment and will enhance people's respect for this area outstanding beauty.'

Norfolk & Norwich Festival's artistic director William Galinsky said: 'Participants will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to completely switch off from their everyday lives and view this stunning landscape from a totally different perspective.'

A second London 2012 Festival project from the Norfolk & Norwich Festival Out of the Water by Helen Paris and Caroline Wright and featuring music by Jocelyn Pook will take place at Holkham from August 25–27.

*Tickets for Walking cost �15 (concessions �5). Website: www.nnfestival.org.uk or phone 01603 766400 or from the Norwich Theatre Royal.