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!

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!

Merry Christmas from enJOY arts!

Tis the season to be jolly & joyous! And so, time for another festive round up of the year from enJOY HQ…

The year began with young people from our projects in Monsall and Wythenshawe making fantastic progress and completing their Arts Awards. In Wythenshawe, those working towards their Silver Arts Award hosted a very successful event for the junior youth group where they presented their own interactive drama piece on the theme of decision-making.

In March, our newly established Herizons Creative Women’s Group (comprised of Gaskell: The Musical! alumni, plus some fab new faces) were honoured to open the Manchester City Council International Women’s Day Event at the Town Hall, with a rousing rendition of ‘Let the Women Rise’. Also in the spring, we began working on our flagship young women’s creative heritage project, Her Hidden Historiesby running training workshops for volunteers at the Museum of Transport and Greater Manchester Police Museum. We worked with young women from Wythenshawe and Gorton to create special performances at each of these venues in June and July, inspired by true stories of the first women to work in both transport and policing. The performances, aptly named In the Driving Seat and Top of the Bill were both very well-received and featured a musical cameo by Herizons in their finales.

The Herizons group were fresh from their own performance of Strong Manchester Women – a series of inspirational songs and sketches regaling the audience with tales of local women, from Peterloo’s Mary Fildes to Moss Side’s Louise Da Cocodia, and performed at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in May.

We’ve continued to work in partnership with Elizabeth Gaskell’s House on education and outreach projects throughout the year and we supported young people from Cedar Mount Academy to create their own short film, going Through the Keyhole and delving into the goings on of the House when the Gaskell family lived here.

In September, Herizons performed at National Trust’s Lyme Hall, as part of the Live at Lyme festival of new performance works at this incredible historic venue. Their piece, Legends of Lyme, explored the untold stories of women from Lyme’s Regency Era -complete with harpsichord accompaniment by the wonderful Claire Mooney! Also in September we had a fantastic event to celebrate the hard work of the young women on our Her Hidden Histories project, bringing both groups together for the first time before they all work together on a big performance at Victoria Baths next year. The evening was full of fun and laughter as the young women watched films of each other’s performances, before posing for selfies together in a way that only teenage girls can.

The rest of the autumn was spent working towards Takeover Days at each of the Her Hidden Histories venues. Our Gorton group did a fantastic job taking over the Greater Manchester Police Museum as creative tour guides in November and the Wythenshawe group will be delivering theirs at the Museum of Transport in January.

 

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Lots of exciting things are afoot for 2018, with planned performances to celebrate the centenary of the first women getting the right to vote, 70 years of the NHS and the friendship of Elizabeth Gaskell & Charlotte Bronte to name a few – watch this space as our plans develop!

In the meantime, we’d like to say a massive thank you to our funders and partners this year, without whom none of our work would be possible: Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Claire Mooney, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Newall Green High School, Manchester Young Lives, Cedar Mount Academy, the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester Police Museum, Victoria Baths, TLM Centre, Waterside, Creative Industries Trafford, Trust New Art, National Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Granada Foundation, One Manchester, Comic Relief Communities Fund, Places for People and our wonderful advisory board.

Wishing you all a JOYful festive season and we’ll see you in 2018!

 

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Top of the Bill – young women set to perform at Greater Manchester Police Museum

Time certainly flies when you’re having fun – it’s now less than 2 weeks until young women from Cedar Mount Academy perform their special site-specific piece at the Greater Manchester Police Museum! 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!Top of the Bill FlyerTop of the Bill Flyer Reverse

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!

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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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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!

Merry Christmas from enJOY arts!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… and so ends another busy year for enJOY arts. 2016 certainly hasn’t been without its challenges for many, making creative community projects more relevant than ever and we’re determined to look forward to 2017 with hope and positivity. Looking back over this year, however, we’ve also found plenty to enJOY (scroll down to see our photo slideshow)!

In our first year as resident artists at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, we’ve delivered a number of exciting projects in partnership with them; from creative storytelling with older people as part of Dementia Awareness Week in May, to family activities inspired by Beatrix Potter during the summer holidays. We’ve also been working with the House to develop their education programme, delivering interactive drama workshops to both school and university groups. For Heritage Open Days in September, we enjoyed working with members of the local community to develop an exhibition of Living Memories of the House and neighbourhood.

By far our biggest partnership project this year was ‘Gaskell: The Musical!’, working with local women to devise and perform an original musical which premiered as part of Manchester Histories Festival in June. We had tremendous fun working with such a warm and lively group, many of whom had never performed before and really grew in confidence throughout the project. The initial performances were such as smash hit (selling out 3 shows) that we were asked to reprise the run in September, which we were delighted to be able to do. Harnessing the enthusiasm of the talented cast, and with the support of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and One Manchester, we’ve now been able to secure more funding to run a regular creative women’s group which we can’t wait to start in the New Year.

We’ve continued to develop other projects with women and girls throughout 2016. For International Women’s Day, we worked with young women from Wythenshawe and Salford to create a textiles exhibition celebrating women from Manchester’s history. This was displayed at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and there were squeals of delight from some members of the group when they first saw their own handiwork on show in such a beautiful historic venue! Some of the young women who worked on this display had also taken part in our ‘Tales of Manchester Life’ project in 2015 and we were thrilled when this project was recognised with a Community Histories Award in March. The girls loved attending a fancy event at Manchester Town Hall to receive this award and we were even more pleased to officially become a multi-award-winning organisation!

Since the summer, we’ve continued to run drama workshops with young women in Wythenshawe, some of whom are now working towards their Silver Arts Award. This project will culminate in an interactive performance and drama workshop led by the young women for their local junior youth group early next year. We’ve also had a great time delivering drama workshops with young women’s groups for our friends, The Proud Trust, at their LesBiCon and summer camp events.

Over the summer, we were very pleased to be able to return to MASH – a fantastic organisation for women which we first worked with as students back in 2011 – to deliver a series of drama workshops in their weekly drop-in. The women here really enjoyed the opportunity to play creatively with props and costumes and devised all sorts of imaginative scenes, from a botched bank robbery to a zombie apocalypse!

Aside from solely female-focused projects, we’ve continued to work with hard to reach young people across Greater Manchester and Salford, delivering the Bronze Arts Award with groups from Eccles to Monsall. It was lovely to be shortlisted by Manchester Young Lives as their Partner Organisation of the Year and we hope to develop more projects with them in 2017.

We’d like to thank all our partners, funders and friends for their valuable support and enthusiasm this year: Arts Council England, One Manchester, Places for People, John Grant Davies Trust, Comic Relief Local Communities Fund, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Wythy Tree Youth Bank, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House (projects funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England), Claire Mooney, The Proud Trust, TLM Centre, MASH, Tandem Theatre, Art with Heart, Manchester Young Lives, Direct Access, Manchester Histories, Arc, Greater Manchester Police Museum, Museum of Transport Greater Manchester, Digital Women’s Archive North and Victoria Baths.

We’re very much looking forward to 2017, not least because we’ll then be able to announce our plans for an exciting new young women’s project we have in the pipeline…

But for now, may your days be merry and bright – and we hope your festive season is an enJOYable one!

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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!

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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