Tis the season to be jolly & joyous! And so, time for another festive round up of the year from enJOY HQ…
The year began with young people from our projects in Monsall and Wythenshawe making fantastic progress and completing their Arts Awards. In Wythenshawe, those working towards their Silver Arts Award hosted a very successful event for the junior youth group where they presented their own interactive drama piece on the theme of decision-making.
In March, our newly established Herizons Creative Women’s Group (comprised of Gaskell: The Musical! alumni, plus some fab new faces) were honoured to open the Manchester City Council International Women’s Day Event at the Town Hall, with a rousing rendition of ‘Let the Women Rise’. Also in the spring, we began working on our flagship young women’s creative heritage project, Her Hidden Histories, by running training workshops for volunteers at the Museum of Transport and Greater Manchester Police Museum. We worked with young women from Wythenshawe and Gorton to create special performances at each of these venues in June and July, inspired by true stories of the first women to work in both transport and policing. The performances, aptly named In the Driving Seat and Top of the Bill , were both very well-received and featured a musical cameo by Herizons in their finales.
The Herizons group were fresh from their own performance of Strong Manchester Women – a series of inspirational songs and sketches regaling the audience with tales of local women, from Peterloo’s Mary Fildes to Moss Side’s Louise Da Cocodia, and performed at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in May.
We’ve continued to work in partnership with Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on education and outreach projects throughout the year and we supported young people from Cedar Mount Academy to create their own short film, going Through the Keyhole and delving into the goings on of the House when the Gaskell family lived here.
In September, Herizons performed at National Trust’s Lyme Hall, as part of the Live at Lyme festival of new performance works at this incredible historic venue. Their piece, Legends of Lyme, explored the untold stories of women from Lyme’s Regency Era -complete with harpsichord accompaniment by the wonderful Claire Mooney! Also in September we had a fantastic event to celebrate the hard work of the young women on our Her Hidden Histories project, bringing both groups together for the first time before they all work together on a big performance at Victoria Baths next year. The evening was full of fun and laughter as the young women watched films of each other’s performances, before posing for selfies together in a way that only teenage girls can.
The rest of the autumn was spent working towards Takeover Days at each of the Her Hidden Histories venues. Our Gorton group did a fantastic job taking over the Greater Manchester Police Museum as creative tour guides in November and the Wythenshawe group will be delivering theirs at the Museum of Transport in January.
Lots of exciting things are afoot for 2018, with planned performances to celebrate the centenary of the first women getting the right to vote, 70 years of the NHS and the friendship of Elizabeth Gaskell & Charlotte Bronte to name a few – watch this space as our plans develop!
In the meantime, we’d like to say a massive thank you to our funders and partners this year, without whom none of our work would be possible: Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Claire Mooney, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Newall Green High School, Manchester Young Lives, Cedar Mount Academy, the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester Police Museum, Victoria Baths, TLM Centre, Waterside, Creative Industries Trafford, Trust New Art, National Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Granada Foundation, One Manchester, Comic Relief Communities Fund, Places for People and our wonderful advisory board.
Wishing you all a JOYful festive season and we’ll see you in 2018!