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A Grand Creative Collaboration for James Wilton Dance

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Award-winning dance company James Wilton Dance returned to Blackpool Grand Theatre this week with the thrilling new contemporary piece LORE which was accompanied by stunning sculptural pieces from students of Blackpool School Of Arts.

Twenty students from the Art and Design course from within Blackpool & The Fylde College worked closely with Blackpool Grand Theatre’s Creative Learning Team and members of James Wilton Dance over recent weeks to create a series of new pieces that captured the fascinating folklore imagery of LORE. These pieces were then showcased throughout the theatre’s auditorium and foyer during LORE’S performance on Thursday 8 February.

LORE invited a captivated audience to take a folklore-inspired journey into a pagan world of gods, demons and humans, all embodied through otherworldly athleticism, incredible physicality and emotional depth. The specially composed soundtrack by Michal Wojtas drew influences from Viking, Celtic and Slavic folk music to recreate listening to the tales our ancestors told while sat in a clearing in the woods, and hearing the ancient stories that bind humanity together.

Curriculum Manager Further Education at Blackpool School of Arts, Andrew Walker, said of the innovative LORE project:

“This has provided our students with a unique opportunity to collaborate with artists and clients, culminating in their works being showcased at the Grand. It’s a profoundly special experience, igniting their passion for creativity and professional collaboration.”

Feedback from the lucky Level 3 Art and Design students students included: ‘an eye-opening experience, teaching me the true essence of teamwork and the art of bringing ideas to life’Kaine S; ‘not only honed my making skills but also gave me invaluable insight into meeting client briefs, a crucial aspect of the real-world design industry’Bronwen T; ‘empowered me to think creatively and collaboratively, refining my skills for future projects’ – Amy M, and ‘an enriching journey, where I learned the importance of teamwork, attention to detail, and delivering on a client’s vision’Maddie R

Other talented local creatives also supported this powerful dance performance, with local fiction and folklore writer Zowie Swan hosting a workshop at The Grand earlier in the month that explored the history of storytelling, myths and themes of LORE; while Fylde-based folk duo Scolds Bridle performed both a curtain raiser and closing set of hauntingly beautiful songs to complement the themes and imagery of the piece.

Blackpool Grand Theatre Community Programmes Producer, Ruth Collinge, headed up the artistic project and said:

“LORE has been a fascinating collaboration between local artists and makers exploring storytelling in its different traditional forms – dance, performance, song, music, art and sharing stories through oral and written means. Year 2 Design students at Blackpool School of Arts created stunning installations to decorate the foyer and theatre space as a live brief as part of their course. Scolds Bridle also curated a beautiful evocative set to support the performance by James Wilton Companym while local author Zowie Swan hosted a fascinating session looking at the myths, legends and history of the Fylde Coast. We are incredibly grateful to the talented makers and artists for supporting this project and look forward to collaborating with them in the future.”

Head of Creative Development & Learning at Blackpool Grand Theatre, Celine Wyatt, added:

“It’s always an absolute pleasure working in partnership with Blackpool School of Arts. The work that the students made to dress our theatre for the performance of James Wilton’s LORE was magnificent. We have a long history of giving students work based ‘live’ briefs to build their confidence in working for organisations and the wider cultural sector.”

Choreographer James Wilton leads one of Europe’s most in demand dance companies and has created works for Scottish Dance Theatre, Konzert Theater Bern, Theater Münster, Opera Graz, Ballet Hagen, Staddtstheater Braunschweig and dance company Giessen and choreographed a work for 50 professional dancers for performances at Millennium and Wembley Stadiums (reaching over 110,000 people in the process). James Wilton Dance has also won awards at the Bern, Hannover and MASDANZA International Choreography competitions and the Sadler’s Wells Global Dance Contest.

Don’t miss your chance to see more exciting new creative works coming up at The Grand in 2024 including the exhilarating new dance piece Nobody – A Dance-Circus Adventure from Motionhouse on Tuesday 19 March.

Visit www.BlackpoolGrand.co.uk for full listings, bookings and further information or call the Grand Theatre Box Office on 01253 290190

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