WordPlay’s Wondrous Changes

Mark Helyar

Two large-scale community projects in Burnham & Highbridge and Wellington have brought Word/Play to a powerful end. Or, rather, we should say ‘pause’. Due to the huge success of every phase of Word/Play, we already have several ideas in the pipeline for a new theatre and wellbeing initiative in Somerset starting in 2015.

What Change?

What Change? encouraged people in Burnham & Highbridge to think about what small, but significant, change they could create to make their towns the best place to be. Throughout the summer, over 70 residents responded to the £10 Challenge in an incredible range of ways, including writing poems on the beach; yarnbombing to transform a beach shelter into an amazing site-specific artwork; and creating beautiful dance pieces that explored the relationship between the two towns.

There was even an inspiring ‘Pick up you Pooch’s Poo’ campaign spearheaded by the Youth Council.

Towards the end of the project we encouraged people to ‘Keep the Change’ in their community and to reflect on the differences they’ve achieved. This became apparent through the way people had learnt new skills, explored their creativity, increased their confidence and made new friends.

Have a look at the What Change? pages to find out more about what happened this summer.

The Wondrous Tales of Whiteball Tunnel

Meanwhile, over in Wellington, we teamed up with Actiontrack and Forkbeard Fantasy to create a community play like none other. The Wondrous Tales of Whiteball Tunnel ran as a nine month project before culminating in an ambitious production, featuring a cast of over 50 people, which played to sell out audiences over five shows.

We gathered many uplifting stories from people who took part in the project including the following words: “Working with a professional team opens new doors and learning. I feel a part of this community: a sense of belonging.”

At the celebration party, everyone expressed their feelings about being involved in the project in a final poem, Wondrous Whiteball.

The Thing Is…

We were also delighted to produce a new version of The Thing Is… this autumn. Supported by Yarlington Housing Group, the project enabled more people in South Somerset to boost their creativity and wellbeing through the spoken word.

Keep an eye on this site as we update it with more films, images, poetry and stories from what’s happened over the last two years.