Banging the Drum for Creativity and Community
Guest post by Sophie Baker (Muddy Cornwall)
There is so much more to Hall For Cornwall than I realised as an occasional theatregoer. From the youth companies and artists’ support programme to the Community Club, supported by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the theatre is a champion for the performing arts in this exciting, creative region.
Over the past five years the Community Club has enabled 6,000 people, of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, to enjoy the magic of theatre with free tickets, workshops and special ticket prices. And to celebrate the Club’s successes and mark #lovetheatreday, Hall For Cornwall opened its doors for a full day of free workshops, performances and activities this month.
I joined for the day-time workshops, which were all fully booked and had the pleasure of chatting to lots of the Community Club members who were there for the day – from groups supporting people with disabilities, to school drama clubs and home-schooled children and their parents. There were local visitors too, including a group of amazing seniors, who came into town on the bus, attended every workshop and staunchly refused to let me sit and watch from the side-lines.
The day kicked off with a stage-makeup workshop, with everyone, from beardy blokes to schoolgirls, being made up to look like vengeful fairy, Maleficent. Taiko drumming was next, which was as therapeutic and primal a musical experience as I’ve ever had, combining shouts and big rhythmic beats. This was led by the fabulous Jane from Cymaz Music, who credits Kagemusha Taiko for this accessible and powerful drumming style.
Next up was Bollywood Dance and again, a front row of kids was backed up by age and experience (though not in Bollywood dancing). Charlotte from InspirAsian Dance taught some simple routines to familiar bangra tracks as well as some beautiful mudras (Indian hand gestures) used a lot in this style of dance. Finally, and busiest of all, was the ‘introduction to jive’ session – could it be the Strictly effect? Whatever, Muddy’s got some new moves just in time for the festive season!
In the evening around 300 people attended the showcase, that featured performances from professional and community performers and companies who have supported or taken part in Community Club activities over the years. Canvas Theatre, performed an excerpt from their amazing touring show, The Coastguard’s Daughter, along with performances from Shallal Dance Company, Truro Learning Academy, Continuum Dance Company and InspirAsian.
Thanks so much to Hall For Cornwall for getting me out from behind the laptop for the day – I loved it. So great to try something new, in inspiring company young and old.