Reprising Gaskell: The Musical!

We’ve had a fantastic week teaming up again with enJOY favourite Claire Mooney to reprise ‘Gaskell: The Musical!’ for both private and public audiences at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. The show was devised and performed by a warm and lively group of local women and originally premiered at Manchester Histories Festival back in June. The sell-out success of the initial run led to various requests for a reprise  – which we were delighted to be able to arrange with support from Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, One Manchester and Places for People.

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Production week began on Monday, bringing our wonderful performers back together to brush up on the songs and then pretty much hit the ground running with full technical and dress rehearsals. The enthusiasm and camaraderie of the cast, most of whom had never met each other before the original project, sprang quickly back to life as if they’d never been apart.

Tuesday was another busy day with 2 performances for staff, tenants and friends of One Manchester and Places for People. It was great to have another opportunity to share the piece with even more local people and the feedback from these audiences was incredibly positive:

‘It was lovely to see women that I know excelling at something I didn’t even know they were involved in. LOVED IT!!!’

‘Fantastic – actors did an excellent job – makes me feel empowered as a woman.’

‘A superb introduction to the house, which I never knew was on my doorstep! Just the right mix of prose and music, wonderfully performed.’

On Wednesday, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House had commissioned a private performance as a treat for their hard-working volunteers, most of whom know both the House and Mrs Gaskell very well. It was lovely to be able to give back to this fantastic team whose support around the House has been invaluable throughout the rehearsal process. The cast were particularly pleased to have an enthusiastic endorsement from this audience:

‘Totally outstanding. Very talented women, clearly enjoying performing together. Incredibly professionally put together. Elizabeth Gaskell would be proud!’

‘Well done! Absolutely brilliant, brought the house to life and captured the spirit of Mrs Gaskell and her family.’

‘It got right to the essence of Elizabeth Gaskell… EXACTLY what the house should be doing. A triumph!’

Thursday saw our final show of the week to a public audience, which we were delighted to find had sold out again! This audience was a real mix of people including members of the Gaskell Society, people from the local neighbourhood, students and more. It was wonderful to end the week on a high with even more incredible audience comments:

‘Great idea. Brought me to the house for the first time. Learnt some things and loved the rap!’

‘Brilliant performance. Lovely it’s local people – more please!’

‘A wonderful production. So alive, so filled with energy. Bringing history and world changing needs into music and drama.’

‘Excellent performances. Please do something else ladies – don’t go back to the day job!’

It’s safe to say our talented cast of women have definitely got the performing bug now and we’re busy plotting what our next project with this group might be… so watch this space!

 

 

 

 

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!

Taking Over Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Sunday 22nd November was an exciting day in Elizabeth Gaskell’s House as a group of young women took over the House as volunteers and tour guides!

Members of the group had been working together following the success of their ‘Tales of Manchester Life’ performance at the House back in May. This time they learned about the roles of the people who work at the House and used their heritage knowledge and creative skills to devise some fun activities for visitors to take part in. They even got back into full Victorian costume and took members of the public on their own unique and interactive tour!

The young women did a fantastic job sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm, interacting with visitors and thinking on their feet. Elizabeth Gaskell’s House was abuzz with excitement and laughter all day and there was some lovely feedback from members of the public:

‘Ladies, I so enjoyed your enthusiasm – it really made my visit special and I came all the way from Canada!’

‘Thanks for a very interesting Sunday afternoon. Well done, your research and acting was very good. Hooray for all the girls!’

‘You made my day! Do more like this!’

This event was organised as part of National Takeover Day, specifically as part of Kids in Museums Takeover Day, and made possible by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We are incredibly proud of all the young women who took part and we’re looking forward to working with them and others on more exciting projects in the new year… watch this space!

Takeover Day Sunday 22nd November

Following the success of our performance, ‘Tales of Manchester Life’ at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, we’ve been working on an exciting event for National Takeover Day specifically as part of Kids in Museums Takeover Day.

We’ve been working with the young women who were involved in our performance back in May, to devise and plan a creative takeover of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester. The young women have been attending weekly sessions, finding out more about the house and the roles of volunteers. These sessions are working towards Sunday 22nd November, where the plan is for the group to takeover the house as young volunteers!

They won’t just be normal volunteers though… Using their heritage knowledge of the house and their creative skills, the group have devised their own creative activities for the general public to learn more about the house, both as audience members and by taking part in exciting activities. There will also be an opportunity to see footage from the performance project the group took part in earlier in the year.

We don’t want to give too much away so if you’re interested in finding out more please get in touch or just come along on the day. The House is open as normal with the group’s activities running 11:00am – 3:00pm, normal admission prices will apply and more information about this can be found on their website.

For a sneak preview of what the girls have been doing, here’s a little look at some of our sessions so far….

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Making Creative Connections at our Training & Networking Event

We had a fantastic time delivering a training & networking event with our friends at Tandem Theatre last week. We were pleased to be back at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, sharing our learning from the Tales of Manchester Life project with professionals from the youth, arts and heritage sectors. It was great to be in a room filled with such creativity, positivity and a real spirit of teamwork as people made new connections and formed new ideas for future projects. We discussed the challenges and benefits of forming partnerships to deliver creative heritage projects with young people as well as getting stuck into some fun creative activities! Thanks again to everyone that attended and we look forward to hopefully working with you all in the future…

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