6 min read
Illuminate a new holiday Theatre Arts Project by Blackpool Grand Theatre launched this week. It has been co-designed by Blackpool young people from the ‘Just Uz’ group who is one of the representative groups run by Social Services. We are proud to be working in partnership with the Blackpool Council Social Services engagement team who along with the Ragdoll Foundation, Arts Council England, and Future U have funded this new two-year project.
This week Blackpool Grand will be welcoming back into the building over 60 young people who will work on our main stage, in theStudio, and outside in Matcham Court. They will be taking part in a range of workshops including dance, lantern making, and graffiti arts as they design a new attraction for Blackpool! They will work with artists Dave Healy, Shane Johnstone, and Sarah Jane Lockwood as well as with a designer from Blackpool’s Lightworks, the home of the famous Illuminations.
Since the Grand closed its doors in March 2020 we have continued to work with young people, schools, and community groups. This has been delivered through our online platforms and we have created new digital creative challenges and worked with young people to make new work that gave them a voice throughout this challenging time.
One of our aims is to forge powerful partnerships and build long-lasting relationships so that we can offer opportunities for children and young people to enjoy, participate and learn through theatre. For us, putting their creative voices front and centre, as well as jointly creating platforms for sharing that work is key to our approach and how we develop projects. Over the past three years, we have been talking and working with Blackpool children and young people and with the support of the engagement team at Blackpool’s Social Services, the new “Illuminate “ holiday program was set up.
The children and young people wanted something they could call their own, where they could select the artists, where they could tell their stories how they wanted to and where they could learn new skills that would help them in other areas of their lives.
They want to shine a light on their stories and experiences of living in Blackpool before, during, and after lockdown and to tell those stories using light, sound, and music. So, we are delighted to be working in partnership with Lightworks who will be coming down to the theatre this week to listen to their ideas and to start a creative journey with them, the Grand, and a range of artists. The next ‘Illiuminate’ holiday program with be in October half term and we will run another one in Easter and Summer 2022.
The Grand has a rich and varied program and the first show that the young people will come and see is Around the World in 80s Days.
‘The building is waking up and this week will be welcoming back Blackpool young people and it will come alive with voices, ideas, and imagination. We are grateful to our partners and funders who have shown so much commitment to this work.’ Celine Wyatt Head of Creative Learning & Blackpool Grand Theatre
‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with Blackpool Grand Theatre, collaborating with artists and for our young people to be co-producing a new creative opportunity for our children during the holidays.’ Kirsty Fisher, Social Services, Blackpool Council
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