Lockdown project brought together Warwickshire communities and artists - The Leamington Observer

Lockdown project brought together Warwickshire communities and artists

Leamington Editorial 29th Dec, 2020   0

A LOCKDOWN project which saw Warwickshire communities and artists come together has been so successful it has expanded across the region.

‘Live & Local: LivingRoom’ was launched this summer in response to the pandemic when the UK was in lockdown.

It connected community groups with artists and theatre companies, bands, poets and storytellers to create new artwork or performance which was then shared with the wider community.

Kenilworth Arts Festival paired with award-winning theatre maker Maria Ferguson as a remote writer in residence to write and share poetry with the local community. Maria offered video tutorials to participants, held creative writing workshops, interviewed people living alone, and used the ideas to write poems about what Kenilworth means to the people who call it home.

Maria said: “I’ve had a great time writing lots of poems about the local area and the community. I’ve enjoyed forging relationships with many isolated and vulnerable people.”

Artist and former Teletubby Nikky Smedley created a ‘LivingRoom Virtual Museum’ with Newbold Pacey and Ashorne WI. She said: “It was an absolute privilege to be invited ‘virtually’ into these women’s living rooms and have them share intimate aspects of their lives and personalities with me, via the conduit of an object that they love.”

Other collaborations included Warwickshire Young Carers paired with puppet theatre company Garlic Theatre; Harbury Village Library paired with the Word Association CIC to produce a bespoke book of prose and poetry called ‘Community Spirit – Harbury in Lockdown’; Moreton Morrell Community Trust paired with literary infused folk band The Mechanicals to write and record songs featuring the voices of villagers, with poems written about their village and Friends of Foundry Wood paired with Ensonglopedia Theatre Company to create original music exploring the group’s response to the lockdown and how this impacted their relationship with nature.

Live and Local spokeswoman Dionne Sambrook said: “The creative works produced by the pairings have been utterly uplifting and inspiring. Some of the projects have explored the community’s response to the pandemic and have created a fascinating social record of a global event. Other projects have provided some escapism from the crisis. In many cases, the process has led to new relationships, new opportunities for learning and a lasting legacy for the communities involved.

“The project also provided work for artists at a particularly challenging time when live performances were cancelled. Many of the artists were challenged to find new ways of working and developing a strong but often remote relationship with a group.”

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