The Inn Crowd Project Welcomes Its First BSL-Interpreted Show

As well as our rural touring live performance scheme, we run a number of other projects focused at supporting different communities across East Anglia to have access to fantastic live performances. One of these is the Inn Crowd project – which helps rural pub landlords put on live spoken-word style shows in the comfort of their pub, helping them to bring in more customers, offer something different for their regulars, and reinforce the pub as a vibrant, central part of rural community life.

We’ve been heading up this project in East Anglia for the last few years (it is also run in Kent and Sussex by Applause Rural Touring), with support from Pub Is The Hub, the National Centre for Writing, and funding from Arts Council England. We’ve had some amazing writers, poets and performers on the project, and have commissioned new work to be created specifically for pubs audiences through our Writers in Residence programme.

One such commission was a new show by acclaimed stand-up poet Luke Wright. Luke has previously toured through Inn Crowd with a show called Down the Pub with Luke Wright, a selection of his poems specially chosen for pub audiences, which was a huge hit last season. He received our ‘Writers in Residence’ funding back in 2018, staying at various rural pubs across East Anglia gathering stories and inspiration to influence a new show. Since then, he has been touring the country with his new 5-star show Poet LaureateThe Guardian has described the poems in this show as “rumbling with rage, passion and humour. They are also peppered with brilliantly smart observations”, noting that audiences “will leave his show brimming with energy, heart pounding and brain whirring.” He has another performance this weekend, and whilst we look forward to all our Inn Crowd shows, this will be a show with a difference…

Luke’s performance of Poet Laureate at The Banham Barrel pub this Sunday 14th April at 8pm will be the first ever Inn Crowd show to be accompanied by BSL interpretation. The Banham Barrel, run by father-daughter duo Brian and Niamh McAllister, is a new pub on our Inn Crowd circuit, and we’re delighted to welcome them on board. This will be their very first show with us but they are no stranger to offering live entertainment to their customers, hosting lots of music events in the ‘Back Room’, an amazing space they describe as their ‘not-so-secret’ gig venue. They have previously shown a fantastic commitment to opening up their space to the D/deaf community, holding sign-language cafes and other events, and it was their idea to bring in BSL communication for their first Inn Crowd show. As Creative Arts East’s main mission not just through the Inn Crowd project but as a charity in general is to open up the arts to audiences who might face barriers to accessibility, it was a no-brainer for us to make this happen and fund them to bring in an interpreter.

The approach The Banham Barrel are taking to reach out to people in the D/deaf community has come in part from the landlord’s daughter Niamh’s own experiences with hearing problems, which started last year. After realising she was relying heavily on lip-reading, she took a hearing test and was told she needed to wear a hearing aid at the age of 20. This then spurred The Barrel on to hold BSL sign language lessons for the village community. You can find out more about Niamh and the Banham Barrel’s outreach work with the deaf community here in this recent EDP article and BBC Look East coverage.

Luke Wright’s Poet Laureate is on at The Banham Barrel on Sunday 14th April, at 8pm. The show is completely free – no booking required. For more information on the show, check out our website here.

P.s. Our Communications & Content Officer Zoe went along to The Banham Barrel yesterday, to chat to Landlord Brian and his daughter Niamh, as well as reporter Shaun Peel of BBC Look East. We’re hoping to see a little piece about the show on this weekend’s news – so keep your eyes peeled! 

 

Five Minutes With… Our New Finance Manager!

What’s new with the CAE team? Well, we’ve had some staffing changes over the last couple of months! Our previous Finance Manager Sheila had been with us for four years, but moved on to pastures new at the end of November, and so for the last few months we’ve been welcoming a new recruit into the fold – Jo!

Jo has taken over the position of Finance Manager, and her wealth of experience is sure to be a great asset to Creative Arts East. We’ve been getting to know her over the last few months, and hope she’ll enjoy being part of our little CAE family.

Our Communications and Content Assistant Zoe grabbed five minutes with her to learn more…

Can you tell us a bit about your role before you joined the team?

I have had a varied career, working in Banking, Mortgages, the NHS, Social Services and the Education sector. I have also been self-employed. Always in Finance but never in the Arts before. I am enjoying that and working part time.

Do you have an interest in the arts personally? If so, what kind of things do you like?

I am a prolific reader, I like the theatre, ballet, music (classical and modern) and film. I am looking forward to enjoying these things a great deal more now that I have more time on my hands.

What was your dream job as a child and why?

I wanted to do everything at one time or another. I think I settled on being a hairdressing doctor  – so I could make people better while giving them a perm!!

If you could switch jobs with someone in the team, based on your impressions so far, who would it be?

Mmmm. That’s difficult because I love Finance so much. Probably Karen/Elly or Lea as they get out and about so much although it keeps them all far too busy.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role, and in working for Creative Arts East?

Bringing my experience to help the charity achieve value for money and maximising income. But I am also looking forward to working with this team of dedicated people who work so hard to bring art to the area.

Well, there you have it! We hope you’ve enjoyed discovering more about our newest team member, Finance Manager Jo!

If you fancy working with us here at Creative Arts East, helping to bring fantastic arts experiences to rural and culturally under-served communities in the East, why not check out our latest job opportunity? The new post of Touring Development Officer has opened up – check it out here!

Village Halls Week: A Rural Touring Legacy Story

From 22nd to 28th January, we’re celebrating Village Halls Week! This is an initiative run by ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England) to acknowledge village halls and other community buildings which exist at the heart of England’s rural communities. The whole of the NRTF (National Rural Touring Forum, of which we are a member) have been getting involved.

For us here at Creative Arts East, village halls are particularly important as they make up such a large part of our rural touring network and community cinema scheme. We work with over 100 different voluntary promoting groups each year, many of whom sit on village hall committees and host fantastic arts and cultural events in village halls and community centres. These events are such a vital part of the community, and facilitating rural access to some truly wonderful film screenings and live performances is something we’re incredibly passionate about.

Earlier this month, we were contacted by one of our lovely voluntary promoters, Jane Leitch from Freckenham Village Hall. She sent us an article written by her 16 year old nephew Rowan, all about his experience watching Farnham Maltings’ show Brilliance in Freckenham last November. We absolutely loved reading it, and the whole family was happy for it to be shared. We think it really emphasises the impact of rural touring, and how the legacy of going to a local village hall to see a fantastic professional theatre show really is a family affair.

My name is Rowan Black I’ve been attending performances at Freckenham village hall for more than a decade now. And from a young age have been spell bound by the unique art of the theatre especially the impact of performances in such an intimate performance space. This interest has blossomed into a passion for drama and I am now studying A level drama.

Brilliance was nothing short of brilliant. With well thought out minimalistic staging brought alive by seeing it in its intended setting (a village hall).The live music which was played in transitions through out the performance was incredibly effective in creating and heightening the emotions presented with in the performance and being able to see the musicians made myself as an audience member feel like I was part of the story.  Other notable techniques used was the outstanding setting of the seen involved a sack of soil and some toy buildings which though simplistic was extremely efficient at engagingly setting the story. The use of lighting was also very useful for presenting the day and night cycle. The highly charged final scenes had a the audience on the edge of their seats

In short an outstanding performance and I loved every second of it.

(Rowan Black, aged 16)

 

Freckenham Village Hall has been a member of our scheme since 2001, and over this time Jane has programmed a wide variety of performances for her local community, both through CAE and independently. Her nephew Rowan has been going to these events from a young age, and some of his first experiences of live theatre have been Creative Arts East-support rural touring shows. Jane works so hard to give back to her community, and Rowan’s review of Brilliance is a testament to her incredible efforts, as well as to the power of great theatre.

If this has inspired you to support your local village hall or community hub, check out our website to see what’s happening near you!

CAE Secures First Corporate Partnership with Avantigas

As you know, Creative Arts East turns 25 this August, and for the last few months our team have been in full anniversary-fundraising-campaign mode! For the countdown to our 25th birthday, we’ve launched a ‘£25k for 25 Years’ fundraising appeal, with the aim to raise £25,000 through public donations and corporate giving. Every penny raised by August 2019 will help us continue to bring the very best arts and cultural activities to rural and/or under-engaged communities in Norfolk, Suffolk and the wider East, in order to increase the health, vitality, skills and aspirations of the rural residents within them.

Every year, we are less able to rely on investment from public funding bodies, and local authorities are squeezed tighter and tighter all the time. We are committed to making sure that the rural communities we serve have equal access to life-changing, high-quality arts experiences, and we have been campaigning hard to raise awareness of our work and encourage charitable donations that will ensure we can continue to thrive, not just survive, for another 25 years and more.

At the East of England finals of the Rural Business Awards back in October 2018, we formed a connection with one of the event sponsors, LPG supplier AvantiGas, who presented us with our award for ‘Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project of the Year’. After discussions with their fantastic and clued-in marketing team, we are delighted to announce that AvantiGas have become our first ever Corporate Partner!

The LPG provider, who supply off-grid homes and businesses, has a strong presence in the East of England and shares our community ethos – aiming to give back to the communities in which they operate. They have described Creative Arts East as “the perfect fit” for their sponsorship support and we were blown away by the commitment their team showed to our cause.

Phoebe Munday, Marketing Executive at AvantiGas, said, “We’re committed to investing in our community areas and working with organisations that make a big difference to the people that live there. Rural living can be lonely for some people so we’re looking forward to investing in an initiative that brings people together.”

Speaking about the partnership, Natalie Jode, Executive Director at Creative Arts East, commented, “We are delighted to announce AvantiGas as our first Corporate Partner and welcome them into the Creative Arts East family. Their energy and enthusiasm for our work really shone through and we’re excited to get this partnership started so we can learn from one another over the next year and beyond.”

The partnership comes at the end of another successful year for AvantiGas. Having continued to grow its LPG business – particularly within the domestic sector – it has also seen its cylinder and mains gas offerings flourish in the competitive market. For us here at Creative Arts East, Corporate Investment is a new venture for us but a vital one to ensure that the charity can continue to make a difference, and we’re excited to see this relationship grow over the next year. We’ll be shouting more about our partnership as it develops, so look out for this!

What A Year! Our Highlights of 2018

2018 was a huge year for us here at CAE. We’ve been shouting much louder about the significant and transformative impact the arts can have on rural communities, particularly in terms of health, wellbeing and aspirations, and have been committed as always to demonstrating this throughout all of our work. This culminated in us being crowned ‘Rural Social Enterprise, Charity or Community Project of the Year’ at the East of England Regional Finals of the Rural Business Awards, and we’ll be heading to the National Finals in February 2019 to compete against the winners of the other regions. The team have so many other highlights of 2018, and we’ve picked out a few of them to share below!

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Our Day Out Celebration Events: One of our favourite parts of running the Spirit of 2012-funded Our Day Out project (participatory music and dance workshops for isolated older people in Norfolk), is when we bring all the groups together to meet up, sing and dance as one. In 2018 we had two fantastic events with our 6 groups: The Big Sing in March with musicians Mary and Kim, and the Sharing Day at Cley Wildlife Centre in October with Glass House Dance and Les Chappell. It’s such a joy to see our participants share in creativity and see just how much they get out of attending the sessions.

Films With Friends: We teamed up with South Norfolk Council and East of England Co-op to deliver the Films With Friends Project – an initiative aimed at making village cinema more accessible for people living with dementia and to raise awareness about the condition. Seven of our South Norfolk cinema groups took part – they received Dementia Friends sessions at their screenings; a ‘how to’ guide and training from academic specialists; and bespoke marketing to increase awareness amongst the wider community that these groups are taking steps to become more dementia friendly.

Take On Me:2Y9A4830KK25 This was definitely one of the most exciting projects we got involved with last year! We teamed up with award-winning theatre company Dante or Die as they toured their 80s themed show ‘Take On Me’ to leisure centres across the country. We helped them bring it to Alive Oasis in Hunstanton, West Norfolk, and worked with an amazing Local Coordinator Debbie and an outstanding community cast to make the show happen. Our favourite outcome was the life-changing impact the experience had on the community cast, with many telling us how taking part had improved their confidence enormously.

Writers’ Residencies and Commissions with Inn Crowd: Last year, we’ve worked with the National Centre for Writing to commission two writers’ residencies in rural Norfolk pubs, as part of the Inn Crowd project. Inn Crowd supports rural pubs to host live spoken-word inspired performances and to engage different audiences that perhaps wouldn’t normally attend arts events, and reinforces the pub as an important community hub. Acclaimed spoken-word artists Byron Vincent and Luke Wright both spent time in different rural communities in Norfolk in 2018, observing rural life and how the pub functions as part of this. Their observations have formed part of new work, which will be touring pubs in 2019.

SantaOur First Fundraiser: In December, we held our first ever fundraising quiz! We’re aiming to raise £25,000 during our anniversary year to ensure we can continue to make a difference to rural communities for another 25 years, and our Christmas Quiz was the first big event we’ve done to help us reach this target. It was a fantastic night, with friends, family, staff and board members joining in on the fun. Keep an eye on our social media and newsletter for the total amount raised!

 

So that’s some of our highlights of 2018… what are yours? Were you involved with or did you attend any Creative Arts East-supported projects last year? What were your favourites?

We’re looking forward to an exciting 2019 ahead, so do keep up to date with all of our news, content and upcoming events via our blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and monthly e-newsletter.

Photo Credits: Anita Staff and Trish Thompson

Our Cinema Groups Commemorate Remembrance Day with Special Film Screenings

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice in 1918, which signalled the end of World War One. With a week to go before Remembrance Day 2018, Sunday 11th November, we wanted to highlight some of our CAE Screen groups that are showing specially selected films around the theme of war and conflict. Join our cinema promoters in remembering those who lost their lives in wartime, by attending one of the following screenings this November:

World War One

Journey’s End: Led by young officer Stanhope, whose mental health is rapidly disintegrating, a group of British soldiers await their fate in an Aisne dugout during the end of World War One. Given 4 stars in The Guardian earlier this year, this film brought out specifically to make the centenary brings “horror, humour and humanity to the trenches”, and injects “new passion” in to one of the 20th Century’s “oldest, grimmest tales of futility and slaughter”.

Showing at: Reedham Village Hall on 7th November, Welborne Village Hall on 9th November, Barton Bendish Village Hall on 10th November, Postwick Village Hall on 10th November, Banham Church on 10th November, Hethersett Village Hall on 11th November, North Creake Village Hall on 13th November, Alburgh Village Hall on 16th November, and Marlingford Village Hall on 17th November.

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands – The Great War At Sea: This 1927 British documentary film is a dramatic reconstruction of the naval warfare around the Battle of Coronel and Battle of the Falkland Islands, two 1914 battles faced by the Royal Navy during the First World War. The BFI restored the film in 2014 for the centenary of the events, and added a new score.

Showing at: Gorleston Library on 8th November.

Oh! What A Lovely War: Richard Attenborough directs a stellar ensemble cast in this musical satire of The Great War, featuring Maggie Smith, Lawrence Olivier and Vanessa Redgrave. Causing some controversy at the time due to its black humour and criticism of the commanding forces behind the conflict, this film uses popular songs of the time to portray the most famous moments of World War One, and is regarded as one of the best anti-war films of all time.

Showing at: Downham Market Town Hall on 9th November.

World War Two

Spitfire: Charles Dance narrates this soaring and dramatic documentary of the fighter plane and pilots that helped win the Battle of Britain in World War Two. Breath-taking aerial footage and digitally remastered 1940s archive footage makes this a not to be missed cinematic documentary that celebrates a true story of courage, determination and triumph.

Showing at: Amy Robsart Village Hall, Syderstone, on 10th November.

Darkest Hour: This Churchill biopic starring Gary Oldman as Britain’s Second World War leader picked up a bounty of nominations and honours during this year’s awards season, including the Academy Award and BAFTA for Oldman’s turn as the iconic figure. Darkest Hour offers unrestricted access to both Churchill himself and the inner workings of the British government during World War Two, in particular Operation Dynamo, which went on to evacuate 300,000 allied troops from Dunkirk.

Showing at: Three Holes Village Hall on Sunday 4th November.

For more info on what else is coming up, visit our website.

It’s Easy Being Green! CAE’S Top Tips for Environmental Sustainability

Earlier this month, we were contacted by Julie’s Bicycle, a leading charity that supports creative organisations to focus on improving their environmental sustainability, to deliver a talk to their staff and members of Arts Council England on the achievements that we’ve made over the last few years. Julie’s Bicycle was established in 2006, and they partner with Arts Council England to deliver their Environmental Programme to ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs), of which we are one.

Apparently, we are one of their ‘exemplary’ organisations in terms of the strides we had made in reducing our environmental impact from 2015 to 201. Initially, we were surprised about this – even though we have a huge reach across Norfolk and the wider Eastern region in terms of the events and communities we support, we perhaps underestimated the impact our small team could have!

Our Office Manager Julie (of no relation to Julie’s Bicycle, but a happy coincidence!) is the one that takes care of our environmental reporting and has taken up the mantle to make sure we are adhering to ACE’s NPO reporting criteria and hitting our targets. Because of her hard work, being environmentally friendly has become of huge importance to us at CAE, so we thought we’d pass on some of the top tips that we’ve learnt, which might help other organisations be more environmentally friendly. Some of these are bigger changes, but most are completely free and take almost no time at all!

• Change your lighting to energy-efficient bulbs. When our office was refurbished, we changed to energy-efficient overhead tubing, and also did a big audit of unnecessary electrical appliances in the office. This led to a 20% decrease in electricity consumption.

Set yourself a bin bag target! We’ve managed to reduce our black bin bag waste to less than 1 bag a week between our staff of 10, and this has helped us increase recycling by 24%.

Are your radiators as efficient as they can be? To help feel the full impact when we do have the heating on, we’ve bled our radiators and moved cabinets to clear the space around them. This has helped us achieve a 10% decrease in gas consumption.

Encourage your staff to use public transport more! Think – that meeting in the next major town/city along, could you take the train instead of driving? We have reduced our car mileage and increased our train travel by around 35% by encouraging staff to use the train as much as possible for external meetings. We’re really pleased with this achievement, particularly as our promoters are based in rural, often remote locations.

Reuse, reduce, recycle! We use old coffee grinds as compost, recycle packaging that comes in to the office, and try to use electronic communications instead of paper where we can.

Eco-friendly can mean ethical too. We send old electrical equipment to a free service which recycles and refurbishes it to donate to companies, charities, and families without the budget to buy new equipment, and have also switched to ethical and animal cruelty-free hygiene and cleaning products.

As well as all of this, the ethos of our rural touring programmes is by nature environmentally friendly. By delivering arts events in the heart of rural communities, our promoters are also endorsing environmental sustainability because their audiences are not as reliant on car travel to cities and towns further away to access to these experiences. They can walk often as little as yards down the road to witness some truly great live performances, cinema screenings, and creative workshops, and this is something we’re really proud of.

A Warm Welcome to Our New Team Member!

We’ve got some exciting news! Last week, we welcomed a new team member to the organisation – the wonderful Abbie Line! Abbie has come on board in the new role of Touring Scheme Administrator, and will be helping scheme managers Alice and Karen with both CAE Screen, our community cinema scheme, and Live!, our rural touring live performance scheme.

The whole team here at Creative Arts East are thrilled to have Abbie join us, so it’s time for you to find out a bit more about her!

Firstly, welcome to the team, Abbie! Could you tell us a bit about what you were doing before you started working at Creative Arts East?

Thank you, I’m very excited to be part of the team! I studied in Nottingham where I developed an interest in the museum and heritage sector, and more recently in the arts on a wider scale. While I lived in Nottingham I worked as a Freelance Heritage Assistant, and got involved with lots of great projects in local museums. I also started a networking group called East of England Emerging Museum Professionals when I moved over to Norwich which I really enjoy.

What’s your role here at CAE, and what will it involve?

My role is the Touring Scheme Administrator, which means that I will mainly be supporting the exciting community cinema and live performance schemes Screen, LIVE! and Inn Crowd. I will also have the opportunity to get involved with lots of great events, and build relationships with the wonderful promoters and artists who work with CAE.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role with us?

I am really looking forward to getting to know more about the rural communities in and around Norfolk and Suffolk who work with CAE, and those who get involved with lots of the various projects and schemes. It’s great to see how the events being put on are so beneficial to so many people, and I can’t wait to get involved with helping to make it all happen.

If you had to plan a fun day out for the CAE team, where would you take us and why?

I’m a really foody person, so I would plan a trip to somewhere like Cadbury World or find a baking workshop. Judging by the fact that some of the CAE team bring in things they have made I think that would go down well!

And lastly, tell us a fun or perhaps unexpected fact/hobby about yourself!

I have quite a few hobbies really but I love all things creative. I enjoy experimenting with different art forms so I do a lot of painting, sewing and printmaking at home. I also love history (having studied it at uni) and have a slight obsession with the Tudors!

Thanks Abbie! We hope you enjoyed meeting our newest team member, stay tuned for more blog posts coming up over the next few months!

Take a Peek into the CAE Office!

The sun has been shining all over the Eastern region this week, and here at Creative Arts East we’ve been busy prepping for a busy summer ahead! Lost In Translation Circus will be performing in King’s Lynn this August to celebrate 250 Years of Circus; Glass House Dance and musician Les Chappell will be working with the ‘Our Day Out’ participants to create a movement and sound piece inspired by the Norfolk landscape; and we’ll be holding our first Screen Promoters Day since we relaunched and rebranded our community cinema scheme!

We’ll be talking more about all these exciting projects and events soon, but for now, we’d like to give you a glimpse into what goes on during a normal day at the CAE office!

Our Community Touring Manager Karen and Community Touring Assistant Becky were in Worcester this week for the National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) Conference – New Directions 2018. The NRTF is an organisation that works with rural touring schemes to help them develop their work in delivering high-quality arts experiences to rural communities, and the annual conference is a great opportunity for other touring schemes to network with one another, and see some brilliant excerpts of new work that they may want to programme in future. We can’t wait to hear from Karen and Becky about how it all went!

Back in our Wymondham office, the rest of us have been getting on with the day-to-day activities that comprise our roles. Our Marketing Design Officer Sophie has been working on a huge 5-metre long banner to promote Lost In Translation’s circus performances in King’s Lynn this August; Project Assistant Lea has been out and about visiting community groups in Dereham to promote our creative workshops for older people; and our Communications and Content Assistant Zoe has been busy tweeting away as usual, and developing a corporate sponsorship strategy! Businesses who want to support a local charity – come on down!

Since we relaunched our cinema scheme as CAE Screen, our Community Cinema Manager Alice has been preparing a new film menu to be launched at the Screen Promoters Day on 11th July, which will include an exciting selection of suggested film titles for our promoting groups. We don’t shout enough about all the hard work our brilliant Office Manager Julie and Finance Manager Sheila do to keep all things admin, logistics, office management and finance ticking over – this week they’ve been reviewing the Risk Register and working on a new internal appraisal process. Oh, and starting to plan our Christmas celebration for December – that’s how organised they are!

Part of our Executive Director Natalie’s role is to safeguard the future of Creative Arts East through funding and development, and it’s these areas she’s been squirreled away in her office working on lately, fuelled by coffee and cake! We’re also one team member down this week, with our Deputy Director Elly currently enjoying the delights of the South of France (although with the weather we’re having this week, we’re hoping to compare tans!).

We do hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek into the goings-on inside the CAE team – and do stay tuned for more blogs this Summer about all of the fantastic arts events we’re delivering in rural communities near you!

Keep Dancing! Norfolk’s Older Generation Learn to Belly Dance

Hopefully you’ve had chance to read our last blog post, which was all about our Big Sing event in March, celebrating the ‘Our Day Out’ participatory singing and dance workshops. Every three months, we work with different professional artists to deliver brilliant participatory arts sessions, specifically designed to engage Norfolk’s older generation in creativity and culture. The Big Sing event in March marked the end of our groups’ time with local singers Mary and Kim, but did signal the beginning of perhaps the most ambitious activity our groups have tried yet – belly dancing!

Our participants have taken part in their fair share of dance styles before, including tea dances and contemporary ballet with renowned company Rambert, but since April, our groups in Attleborough, Dereham and Thetford have been trying out a completely new style with the brilliant Henrietta from Zahara Belly Dance. Music and dance activities have been proven to have a huge impact on the wellbeing of older people, especially those living with dementia, which is why our sessions focus on engaging our participants in these activities. It’s fantastic that by working with Henrietta, Creative Arts East are able to offer our participants the chance to try something different.

 Henrietta said about the sessions:

I am really enjoying delivering a series of belly dance sessions for ‘Our Day Out’ in Dereham, Thetford and Attleborough. Everyone joins in as we shimmy and jingle wearing the brightly coloured hip scarves. There is lots of laughter and joy as we dance together. It is such a rewarding experience for me, bringing my passion for the dance to a new group of people and seeing them respond to the music and moves. Belly dance has the ability to transport people to a different place where we can feel the music and just dance together. I am so pleased to be involved in the project.”

Not only are the belly dancing sessions an excellent way for Norfolk’s older generation to remain active and mobile, and in the words of one of our budding belly dancer Sylvia from Attleborough, they’re also “a good laugh”! They can be tailored for any ability, undertaken seated or standing, and are fully inclusive to those with dementia and other long-term health conditions. The sessions take place twice a month in Attleborough, Dereham and Thetford, and we are also running music-making workshops twice a month with our Watton, North Walsham, and Wells-next-the-Sea groups. For full dates and details, visit our website here, or contact lea@creativeartseast.co.uk. We’re always looking for volunteers to help out and more participants to take part, so do get in touch!

The ‘Our Day Out’ project is funded by Spirit of 2012 Trust, with additional funding supplied by Breckland Council and North Norfolk District Council. For more information about Henrietta’s fantastic belly dancing sessions, visit her website here.