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a life in architecture - jonathan dove

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As a 10 year old in the late 1960s, composer Jonathan Dove moved into the house which his architect parents, Myles and Deirdre Dove, had designed and built.

'To a child it was the most fantastic adventure, not only to watch this wonderful house take shape but also to live there, 'he says. The house, in Blackheath, south London, was inventive but also great fun. As well as practical innovations, such as a wastedisposal unit and laundry chute, there was a spiral staircase and minstrel's gallery. 'It was like having your own theatre. We could do shows, fly paper planes from it, eavesdrop on the grown-ups.'

The theatrical became a recurring theme for Dove, who has composed extensively for theatre and stage and is now artistic director of the Spitalfields Festival, which runs each summer with Hawskmoor's Christ Church its main venue (see picture).'Christ Church is so haunting, 'he says.'It's a very theatrical space - it takes on the atmosphere of whatever is being performed. It's so rich in possible meanings, it's like looking into a fire and seeing shapes.'

Dove has fallen in love with Wilton's Music Hall, near Aldgate, also a venue for the festival. 'It's small and intimate, but quite raw.

There's only about 300 seats, so the audience is close to the stage.

This gives a fantastic rapport. It reminds me of the Almeida Theatre which, with its ruined back wall, also fires the imagination.'

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