Thanks to funding from The Arts Council of Wales we have been working on and completing many new and exciting Community Arts development projects and pieces of work over the past few months. This work is already achieving many of the aims we set out at the start of the initiative, including:
Exploring new approaches:
This project worked with women from Bridgend Women’s Aid and culminated in a live performance of Sarah’s Story at the end of June 2009 at Bridgend Recreation Centre. The women were quite clear about who they believed should be invited to see the performance so we targeted the audience accordingly. The performance was followed by a discussion of the issues with the audience and the women who had taken part. This event led to various invites to show Sarah’s Story including a performance at a Bridgend County Borough Council Meeting. We hope that that Sarah’s Story will bring the issues surrounding domestic abuse into arena at local government.
“My daughter said that since I have been doing this she has seen glimpses of the old me.” (project participant)
Caswell Clinic Drama Group
Between January and March 2009 two drama practitioners from Valley and Vale Community Arts ran a drama project at Caswell Clinic, a medium-secure psychiatric hospital in Bridgend, South Wales. We worked with a mixed group, 6 men and 3 women who experienced a range of mental illness including personality disorder, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.
Reaching New Groups:
Whitchurch Hospital Drama Group
This project was following on from the success of our Caswell Clinic Project and was run along similar lines, reaching a new mental health group in Cardiff and developing new partners for our work.
Tondu Residential Home
This new project used drama and reminiscences with older people, including digital stories; a new development for us, working creatively with older people in sheltered accommodation, and it was so popular that we are hoping to develop more creative projects for older people.
PRU (Pupil Referral Unit) Film
‘Firestarter’ – In conjunction with Reel 2 Reel we worked with the Bridgend Pupil Referral Unit on this short film looking at the consequences of fire setting.
Developing new work spontaneously:
Our multi-arts festival in Betws in August was based in a circus tent with performances and workshops in all art forms, including a festival procession. Much of the work was a culmination of a 2 week Summer School for the children and young people of Betws, who had the opportunity to take part in a number of different creative arts workshops.
We planned this project with the local community and it was a real grassroots Community Arts project, working with lots of the community across all ages and spending a day of creativity inside out Big Top. We had been hoping to show the local community what we could offer them creatively and to give them a day of Community Arts that everyone could take part in. We offered dance, Indian drumming, visual arts, crafts and festival arts workshops, films, drama and circus skills workshops and performances all day long and there was a really magical feeling of people coming together through Community Arts. In addition many new people from the village have started to join our projects as a result of this festival day because they have a better understanding of what we do and they feel more confident to join in.