The Severn Box
Interactive performance and workshops
Commissioned by Shropshire County Council to explore and celebrate the river severn with a range of hard to reach community groups: a day centre for elders, a resource centre for adults with learning difficulties, an education centre for young people excluded from mainstream education and a hospital occupational therapy unit for short term psychiatric inpatients.
This year-long project used creative sessions and performances in challenging and contrasting contexts. It facilitated participants' creative expression of their river Severn stories and celebrated this diverse material. A touring participatory performance illustrated stories from Shropshire County Archive, bringing the archive material to groups in their own environments in a new and dynamic way. A flexible and intimate performance adapted to the different client groups space, timetables, needs and concentration levels.
'Seeing artist performers 'in the flesh' performing in our venue provided a first hand set of stimuli for my pupils. They held the young peoples attention, they had no idea what would happen next! I think this is because they were warm yet totally commanded the space.'
Feedback from teacher at an education centre
A series of creative workshops with the groups then allowed participants to explore and share their own responses to the river and create a personal flag to symbolise their story, giving voice and new skills to the groups.
'The girls had the skill to draw out hidden stories and feelings and to promote productive conversation between service users.'
Feedback from staff member of day-care centre
A second touring performance returned with the participants' stories alongside those already in the archive allowing the groups stories to be shared further. The project was closed by capturing the essence of events in a publication, allowing the project achievements and stories to be taken even further into the Shropshire community.