Delving deeper into the Museum of Transport

We had another great day at the Museum of Transport yesterday, exploring the archives and uncovering some fascinating stories with our Wythenshawe group of young women. The group are working towards a performance at the museum as part of our Her Hidden Histories project and so we took this opportunity to dig a little deeper and start taking creative inspiration from the museum’s collection. We were joined on the visit by the wonderful Heather Roberts, our Archive Consultant on the project, who helped the young women get to grips with some great journals, records and photographs from a bygone age. The group particularly enjoyed rooting through all the ‘old stuff’ and clambering into the driving seats of various different vehicles! They’ve got loads more ideas for their upcoming performance now so we’ll be sharing more details of that very soon…

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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!

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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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Political Pride Performance with young people at LGBT Youth North West

On Saturday 29th August young people from LGBT Youth North West took part in a performance on the theme of ‘Political Pride‘ which they shared with other young people and members of the public. This performance was part of a programme of events designed to provide an alternative space over the Manchester Pride weekend, with an emphasis on bringing Pride back to its political roots.

We worked with young people in creative sessions to share their feelings and opinions on this topic and to devise the final performance. The resulting piece included poetry, song, abstract movement and political awareness raising, in addition to boundless energy and lots of laughter!

You can check out the original song which young people wrote and performed here:

A big well done to everyone involved – we always enjoy working with LGBT Youth North West and look forward to our next project together.

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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Creative heritage projects with young people – Training and Networking Event

We are hosting, along with our friends at Tandem Theatre, a special training and networking event at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on Thursday 16th July.
We will be sharing our learning from our recent young women’s creative heritage project and exploring both the value and challenges of this kind of work. This event is aimed at youth work and heritage/museum professionals who are interested in engaging young people with heritage in a creative way. The training element will be interactive, with opportunities to develop your own project ideas and make new contacts for partnership working. There are two sessions for this event (10am-2pm or 1pm-5pm) with a networking lunch provided for all attendees in the changeover between sessions. Tickets are only £15 including a lovely lunch.
Please see our eventbrite page for more details and to book your place.