Gaskell: The Musical! – back by popular demand!

After a sell-out run during the Manchester Histories Festival 2016, Gaskell: The Musical! returns to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House for one night only…

Women from Ardwick and the surrounding areas have worked together to devise songs and sketches inspired by the life, work and times of Elizabeth Gaskell. Now we want to share them with you in this musical promenade performance!

When:

Thursday 22nd September 6:30pm

Where:

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

84 Plymouth Grove

M13 9LW

How to book:

Click HERE to book tickets via the Elizabeth Gaskell’s House website.

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Behind the Scenes of Gaskell: The Musical!

Check out this lovely ‘behind the scenes’ film of Gaskell: The Musical, put together for us by the wonderful Maria Ruban:

We had such a great time working on this project and we’re now busy working out how we might be able to reprise the performance in the future – watch this space!

 

Gaskell: The Musical! – sell out performances!

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Massive congratulations to the cast of ‘Gaskell: The Musical!’ who performed 3 sell-out shows at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th June!

Over the past 10 weeks, we have been working with women who live locally to the house to devise this innovative new mini-musical – inspired by the life, work and times of the Victorian writer. The group took particular inspiration from the Mrs Gaskell’s social conscience and the diverse range of people whose stories would have echoed throughout the rooms of her house: from famous contemporaries who visited regularly, to the working people in whom Elizabeth took an active interest and whose plight she immortalised in her novels.

In a series of lively creative workshops, we explored all these ideas and more through a mixture of songwriting and drama activities. We were thrilled to partner up again with wonderful singer-songwriter Claire Mooney throughout the process. Many of the group had never performed before and some of them have been working towards an employability qualification as part of this community project. We were delighted to present these special promenade performances as the culmination of the project and part of Manchester Histories Festival 2016.

The camaraderie of the performers and their determination to perform their uplifting finale outside, despite the inclement weather, was truly awe-inspiring. Here are just some of the rave reviews left by audience members in their post-show feedback:

‘A brilliant way to see the house, bring the community together and find out more about local history!’

‘Amazing! Loved everything about it!’

‘Such an eye-opening event.’

‘Very inspiring, very interactive – felt like I wanted to join in!’

‘Brilliant performances from ordinary non-actors – some definite hits in the music too!’

‘Inspirational – more women’s projects please!’

We’re incredibly grateful to all the staff, volunteers and trustees at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House for their support in making this project possible and to Manchester Histories Festival for including the performances in their 2016 programme. We’d also like to thank Arts Council England, One Manchester and Places for People for funding the project.

Photographs courtesy of Sangita Mistry.

Gaskell: The Musical! Upcoming Performances

Just four weeks to go until the curtain lifts on Gaskell: The Musical! – an innovative mini-musical created by women from Ardwick and the surrounding area. Promenade performances will take place at the incredibly atmospheric and inspiring Elizabeth Gaskell’s House as part of Manchester Histories Festival 2016! We can’t wait to share what the women have been creating and the good news is you have not one, not two, but THREE opportunities to see it! Please call or email us for tickets (details on the flyer below) and be speedy as spaces are limited!

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Our award winning young women’s heritage project!

We’re absolutely delighted to announce that Tales of Manchester Life, the young women’s creative heritage project we delivered last year, won a Manchester Community Histories Award on Friday!

It was fantastic to bring the young women who took part to a great event at the Town Hall, organised by Manchester Histories. Here, we got to find out about all sorts of wonderful projects and the incredible people who run them, including Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, PANDA, RECLAIM and WOWzone.  Jorge, Tammin & Tyra from our project spoke confidently in front of a large audience and all the young women were thrilled to be presented their award by the lovely former Coronation Street actor Julie Hesmondhalgh!

We are so proud of all the young women involved and very grateful to Manchester Histories for this honour. We’d also like to thank our project partners, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Tandem Theatre, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Salford Youth Service and the project’s funders, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Community First.

We’re looking forward to developing more creative heritage projects with these young women and others in future – watch this space!

New women’s performance project at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

We can’t believe it’s March already! And, in the week of International Women’s Day, we’re excited to announce our new women’s performance project which will be kicking off with taster sessions next week!

Investing in Voices – Gaskell the Musical is a project where women local to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House can come together and get creative. We’ll be taking inspiration from the house to devise and perform a new musical which will be part of the Manchester Histories Festival in June. Absolutely no experience is necessary and, with a bit of music, drama and a chance to play, there’s sure to be something for everyone!

Just by taking part, women will also have the opportunity to earn a Level 1 BTEC qualification in Employability, which will be great for anyone looking to get back into the world of work or volunteering.

The project begins with two taster sessions on Tuesday 15th March (1-3pm) and Wednesday 16th March (3-5pm). These taster sessions will be in the Community Room at Cornbrook House (please see the flyer for address details) but regular weekly sessions after that will be at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. All women are welcome, there’ll be plenty of tea and biscuits – and we’re sure to have a lot of fun!

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We’re delighted to be working again with wonderful musician Claire Mooney on this project and to have secured support and funding from Arts Council England, One Manchester and Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.

Please call the number on the flyer if you’d like any more information or watch this space for updates!

Merry Christmas from enJOY arts!

The festive season is upon us!  As we hang up our costumes, put away our props, roll up our flipchart and stash our sharpies for the Christmas break, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look back on how much we have enJOYed 2015…

Our major project this year was ‘Tales of Manchester Life’, a young women’s creative heritage project which we began delivery on in January and have only just finished evaluating! This project saw young women from Wythenshawe and Salford work together to create a promenade performance based on the life and times of Elizabeth Gaskell. The young women went on a number of trips and visits in the spring and took part in a series of drama, music and creative writing workshops, taking what they had learnt as inspiration. The final performances of ‘Gaskell, Interrupted’ took place at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House at the end of May and were very well received.

In July, we had great fun delivering a ‘Young People’s Creative Heritage Projects – Training & Networking Event’ based on our experience of delivering ‘Tales of Manchester Life’. It was great to meet a variety of culture, heritage and youth work professionals from across the region to discuss the challenges and benefits of this kind of work and to generate some exciting partnerships for the future.

We were able to extend the project into the autumn, giving the young women the opportunity to ‘take over’ Elizabeth Gaskell’s House for a day in November. They devised their own creative tour of the House and developed a number of activities for members of the public to take part in. This day was part of a national event for Kids in Museums Takeover Day and was a great success. We’re very grateful for the funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England which made the entirety of the ‘Tales of Manchester Life’ project possible. We also very much enjoyed working in partnership with both Tandem Theatre and Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on this project.

Alongside this year-long project, we were also lucky to work with some other incredible organisations on creative projects in 2015. As part of our schools programme, we delivered a series of workshops for World Book Day in March, including an action-packed day at Abraham Moss High School.

In May, we were honoured to be awarded the ‘Ally of the Year’ award by our friends at The Proud Trust (formerly LGBT Youth North West) and we returned to work with them on a performance project over the summer. Young people devised a performance on the theme of ‘Political Pride’ as part of an alternative programme of events over the Pride Weekend in August. This performance included dance, physical theatre and an original song written by the young people, with which the audience joined in enthusiastically!

In the autumn, we worked with a small group of young people at Just Drop In, a fantastic counselling and support service for young people in Macclesfield, helping them to develop their confidence and achieve the Bronze Arts Award.

Perhaps the most exciting development for enJOY arts as an organisation this year has been moving into our very own office space at the beautiful Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in October. This move was the result of striking up a great working relationship through the ‘Tales of Manchester Life’ project and we are looking forward to collaborating on more creative community projects in 2016 and beyond!

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