Turning Tides: First in the Fight – upcoming performance at Victoria Baths

Turning Tides Flyer

We’re busy gearing up for ‘Turning Tides: First in the Fight’ – an innovative promenade performance devised by young women and inspired by true stories of women’s fight for the vote, over 100 years ago…

This performance is the latest phase in the ‘Her Hidden Histories’ project, which we have been running in partnership with small heritage venues across Manchester since the beginning of last year. Earlier phases saw young women from Wythenshawe devise and perform ‘In the Driving Seat’ at the Museum of Transport (June 2017), telling stories of the first women to work in the transport industry and young women from Gorton devise and perform ‘Top of the Bill’ at the Greater Manchester Police Museum (July 2017), looking at pioneering women in policing. Now both groups – from Newall Green High School and Cedar Mount Academy – are coming together to pool their knowledge, skills and ideas and turn their focus to the battle for women’s suffrage.

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In this phase of the project, the groups have visited and taken inspiration from the collections at the People’s History Museum, the Pankhurst Centre and the Working Class Movement Library. They have taken part in music workshops, being supported to write their own rousing and anthemic songs by singer-songwriter and long time enJOY arts collaborator Claire Mooney. They have also taken part in dance sessions where Ruth Jones and Trixi Bold have helped them to choreograph some wonderful movement sequences.

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The performances of ‘Turning Tides: First in the Fight’ will take place on Thursday 31st May at 7pm and Friday 1st June at 3pm and 7pm at Victoria Baths. Tickets are free but, as this is a promenade performance exploring the whole of this incredible historic building, audience numbers are limited so booking is essential.

‘Her Hidden Histories’ is funded by grants from Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and the Granada Foundation.

For more information please get in touch!

info@enjoy-arts.org.uk         @enJOY_arts

 

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Her Hidden Histories visit the People’s History Museum

Our Her Hidden Histories groups had a fantastic time visiting the People’s History Museum on Monday afternoon. Young women from Cedar Mount Academy and Newall Green High School came together for the first time in this phase of the project to gather inspiration for their upcoming performances at Victoria Baths in May. The performances will explore the role of everyday working women in the struggle for the vote and the groups came away buzzing with ideas!

Now we’re gearing up for more visits and creative workshops in the Easter Holidays: we’ll be heading to the Pankhurst Centre and the Working Class Movement Library as well as trying our hand at some music and dance. We can’t wait!

In the Driving Seat – young women set to perform at Museum of Transport

Less than 3 weeks to go until our ‘In the Driving Seat’ performances by young women at the Museum of Transport! We can’t wait to share what the group has been creating and the good news is you have two opportunities to join in the fun! Please call or email us for FREE tickets (details on the flyer below) and be speedy as spaces are limited!

In the Driving Seat Flyer

In the Driving Seat Flyer Reverse

These performances are part of our ‘Her Hidden Histories’ project, working to creatively engage young women and other new audiences with small heritage venues across Manchester. More news soon on our next performance at the Greater Manchester Police Museum!

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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Travelling back in time at the Museum of Transport

We had a great day at the Museum of Transport on Saturday as part of our Her Hidden Histories young women’s project. It was our Wythenshawe group’s first visit to the museum, where they will be creating a performance about women in the transport industry in June. The group loved dressing up, exploring the buses and rummaging around the old office rooms – getting a real insight into some stories of the past. They left buzzing with creative ideas which we’ll be working on in our sessions over the next few weeks, so watch this space!

Her Hidden Histories

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We’re delighted to announce our new young women’s project: Her Hidden Histories!

Over the next 2 years, we’ll be working with young women from Wythenshawe and Ardwick to uncover and celebrate stories of everyday Manchester women, creating 3 brand new site-specific performances at small heritage venues across the city.

In the first phase of the project, spring/summer 2017, we’ll be teaming up with the Museum of Transport Greater Manchester (Wythenshawe group) and the Greater Manchester Police Museum (Ardwick group), creating site-specific performances at both venues. Incorporating music, drama & dance, these performances will be inspired by hidden histories of women in the typically male-dominated industries of policing and transport in the early 20th Century. Each group will then work towards a Takeover Day at their venue in autumn 2017 where they will become creative tour guides, devising methods to engage other young people and the general public with each place, based on what inspires and excites them.

The second phase of the project in 2018 will bring the two groups together to create a larger scale performance at Victoria Baths. This will build upon elements of each previous piece and coincide with the centenary of the first women being granted the vote in summer 2018. Throughout the project, the young women will preside over the development of an interactive online resource in collaboration with Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN) & MadLab. The project will conclude with the launch of the digital archive in December 2018.

We’re incredibly grateful to Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and The Granada Foundation for supporting this project – and we can’t wait to get started!

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!