Our work is rooted in the community we serve.
All our projects have been inspired by the people and the city of Stoke-on-Trent.
On our next production DIRTY LAUNDRY we are working with a community company for the first time. This group of intrepid folk are helping us to create a living installation evoking Stoke-on-Trent in the 1950s, through which the audience will pass on the way to the performance space at Spode Works.
It’s a new thing for us, and we’re finding out how to do it by simply doing it.
One of our lovely company members, Thérèse Dimelow, is writing a blog for us that you can see on our blog page. A below are some photos from our rehearsal sessions.
Rehearsal session two, the team do some jiving, many thanks to Kieran from K Dee K Dance Works
Rehearsal session one
As part of our research for our next play, DIRTY LAUNDRY, we held three community events to talk to local people about their memories of Stoke-on-Trent in the 50s and 60s.
We had three terrific meetings (with tea and cake, of course) at Gladstone Pottery Museum, The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, and Middleport Pottery.
Thanks to everyone who came along to share their memories, and all who got in touch with us online and sent letters and emails with their memories and experiences.
This work was very important to get the detail and context of the play as accurate as possible.
Creative writing workshops for Staffordshire Live Age Festival 2016. WRITING IN THE DUST focused on stories of industrial illness and pollution in Stoke and North Staffordshire.
In keeping with our commitment to work in heritage buildings and non-theatre spaces, these workshops took place at the historic Bethesda Chapel in Hanley.
The themes of this workshop are part of ongoing research for our next project, DIRTY LAUNDRY.
POT BANK MEMORIES
This ongoing community consultation exercise is feeding the research for our prospective site-specific production The Middleport Murders.
In May and June 2015 we ran a series of meetings at Middleport Pottery, where local people who worked in the potteries as far back as the 1950s came to talk to us about their memories of the industrial processes and the culture of the working pot bank.
Deborah also went out into the community to meet with individuals and groups that couldn’t get to us, and also interviewed canal workers, born on the boats in the 1930s.
This work continues, as the project develops and we still want to hear from anyone with long memories of the potteries prior to mass mechanisation.
Subject to funding being achieved for the site-specific production of The Middleport Murders, we will be looking for a Community Acting Company to participate in the performances.
MINERS’ STRIKE – 30 YEARS ON
This Heritage Lottery funded commission came from the North Staffordshire Miners’ Wives Action Group and Women Against Pit Closures.
In the writing of the play – Digging In – Deborah interviewed local people who were children of mining families, and created the piece directly from their first hand experiences. Although centred around a fictional family, everything that happens in the play really happened and much of the script was verbatim.
The primary objective of the commission was to educate children about the social history of their community, and to inform them about events 30 years ago. Digging In was performed in schools situated in former mining communities across the North Staffordshire coalfield, and carried an accompanying education and resource pack for teachers.
The play received one public gala performance at a packed Mitchell Arts Centre in June 2015 and was a huge success.