Over this three-year programme, the voice of our community was brought into the heart of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, enabling us to tell important stories and work with high-calibre artists as the experts in a creative process, working alongside community participants. At the heart of this work was a core model of engagement, participation, and creation. Through this work, we have deepened the relationship between our community, theatre-makers and what is on our stage through artist-led commissions, a community engagement festival, workshops, and longer-term engagement.
We have delivered a full programme of workshops, designed to empower participants and to build the status of their voices within Theatre royal, their community and nationally via digital output. Participants have become co-creators alongside professional and high-calibre artists, with their stories reflected via performance, digital technologies and arts content. Participants have engaged via workshops using skills development, creation and performance modules to become artists in their own right, to explore their responses to work, generate their own new work, and to build on their creative skills and confidence. Beyond Walls has enabled Theatre Royal to create a robust, sustainable model of working and to extend significantly the pool of artists we work with.
During the life of this project, we introduced new strands as the project developed, such as Walking Stories and the further development of Big Skies work, in order to deepen the work and respond to the challenges of the pandemic. By introducing a research and development period in to the work of the Refuge strange, we were able to further support local artists.
Specialist organisations we parter with include:
- Women’s Aid
- The Hub (Mildenhall)
- Bury Drop-In
- Primadonna Festival
- Age UK
- Benjamin Foundation (Thetford)
- West Suffolk College
- The Mix (Stowmarket)
- Conservatoire EAST