Her Hidden Histories – Centenary Celebration

As today marks 100 years since the first UK women were granted the right to vote, it’s about time for an update on our Her Hidden Histories project!

Last summer saw two groups of young women, from Wythenshawe and Gorton, create some fantastic performances at both the Museum of Transport and the Greater Manchester Police Museum. ‘In the Driving Seat’ told stories of the first women to work on trams and buses, largely owing to the absence of men during the First World War. ‘Top of the Bill’ explored experiences of the first women in policing during a similar period, many of whom had also been on the other side of the law as suffragettes. Both performances enjoyed a rousing inter-generational musical finale, thanks to our fantastic Herizons group!

This year, we are bringing both groups of young women together to create another ambitious performance at the stunning Victoria Baths. ‘Turning Tides: First in the Fight’ will weave together the stories uncovered in the previous two performances and celebrate the role of everyday women in the struggle for suffrage. Exact times are yet to be confirmed but there will be 3 chances to catch this exciting new piece, with an evening performance on Thursday 31st May and both a matinee and evening performance on Friday 1st June.

Watch this space for more details!

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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!

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!

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!

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!

Tales of Manchester Life Celebration Event and Short Film

We had a fantastic time returning to Elizabeth Gaskell’s House to celebrate the achievements of the young women involved in our Tales of Manchester Life project last night!

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All of the young women earned their Bronze Arts Award as part of the project and were given individual medals and certificate packs. We were also pleased to be able to present each young woman with a framed professional photo of themselves taking part in the project as a special keepsake. The young women and their guests – including proud parents, teachers and youthworkers – took their seats for the film premiere of their ‘Gaskell, Interrupted’ performance before enjoying a lovely celebratory buffet. We’d like to say another huge well done to all the participants and a big thank you to everyone who worked so hard on the project!

Here are a few photos of the night:IMG_0530 IMG_0516 IMG_0514 IMG_0511

IMG_0531We couldn’t leave you without a taster, so check out a short Behind the Scenes film about the project here:

And, if is this has left you wanting to know more, we’re running a special training and networking event inspired by the project for youthwork and heritage professionals on Thursday 16th July. The event will take place back at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House (our new home from home!) and you can get tickets here.