In 2009 our first project 'Benches' was inspired by conversations with strangers on public benches around Stoke-on-Trent. This led to an unshakeable commitment to centre our projects around the lived experiences of the people we live alongside. As our work developed, we sought ways of deepening participation in our projects, which has led to our practice of co-creation.
We create shows collaboratively with people telling their own stories, shaping their individual narratives into a unique collective performance. This process is supported by a team of professional artists who are also highly skilled facilitators.
1:1 Conversations – We have many 1:1 conversations to open dialogues around the topics we're exploring. We take a rigorous ethical approach, ensuring everyone we engage with has an opportunity to stay involved and understands how the information they share may contribute.
Group sessions/sharing events – We organise community events to share experiences, interests and stories. Bringing people together who may not otherwise meet. Feeding our bodies and minds is important, so there is usually food involved!
Workshops – As part of our projects we often hold creative workshops, as tasters of what to expect in our performance work and to engage more people in the performing arts in our city. These are usually in dance, singing or poetry/spoken-word.
Research and development – We take self-selected groups of people through to join us in exploring a new site and how we might create a performance together. We discuss ideas, sing, dance, write and eat together!
Rehearsal and performance – Finally we rehearse with our combined community and professional cast to realise a unique performance based on the journeys of all involved. We perform in non arts venues around Stoke-on-Trent, often reanimating unused spaces.
Evaluation - We are committed to thoroughly evidencing and evaluating our work as well as sharing the learning from our projects. You can view a copy of our recent evaluations by artist-researcher Nicola Winstanley, below. (printed copies available on request).