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!

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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.

“Great to have Theatre ‘Out in the Sticks’”: The Third Season of INN CROWD has Begun!

Since 2016, we’ve been working in collaboration with fellow rural touring organisation Applause (who do what we do – but in Kent and Sussex), to deliver a unique programme of spoken word-inspired performances, specifically tailored to rural pubs! INN CROWD’s aim is to support pub landlords in offering something a little different to their regular punters and attract new customers too, by enabling them to host high-quality performances in their pubs. This helps cement the pub as a vital part of rural community life, and allows local people the chance to see fantastic professional live art in a familiar and comfortable setting, often without having to travel far at all.

The third season of this brilliant project has just kicked off, with INN CROWD’s first co-production in the form of ‘Holmes & Watson: The Case of the Rhyming Crime’ by Dr Illingworth and Mr Simpson, delighting audiences in 4 rural pubs (The Burston Crown, The Wheatsheaf in West Beckham, The King’s Head in North Lopham and The Dun Cow in Christchurch). As well as this commission, the INN CROWD project will see local pubs host performances by critically acclaimed and award-winning poet Luke Wright (Norfolk and Norwich Festival hit for 2 years running); a one-man play where the famous Lord Byron regales local pubs with his tales of debauchery and romance; and an interactive show called ‘Voted Out’ by local performance poets Mark Grist and Tim Clare, in which audiences can use state-of-the-art technology to interact with the performance, voting real-time on the subject of the poems themselves. Other upcoming events include shows by duo Living Spit, who will deliver their unique brand of musical comedy, and previous INN CROWD hit David Mynne with a one-man version of Great Expectations.

So if you fancy a bit of poetry with your pint, head to our website to see if INN CROWD is coming to a pub near you! If you’re a pub landlord who’s interested, or an artist with a story to tell, more details about the project and how you can get involved are on the INN CROWD website. If you’ve been along to an INN CROWD event and want to share your thoughts and photos, use the hashtag #INNCROWD on Twitter and Facebook!

“Bring entertainment to the pub; that’s what pubs are for. Bring the villages together. Fantastic!”

INN CROWD is a partnership project run by rural touring organisations Creative Arts East in East Anglia and Applause in Kent and Sussex, with artistic support from Writers’ Centre Norwich and expertise from Pub Is The Hub. It will continue until 2019, with majority funding from Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairburn Foundation.

Introducing… James McDermott

We’re kicking off our blog with a brand new feature, Introducing…, where we pick the brains of award-winning Norfolk-based playwright and performer James McDermott, who makes his Creative Arts East debut on Saturday 27th January at Ovington Village Hall, with his critically acclaimed comedy, Rubber Ring.

Rubber Ring is a laugh-out-loud coming-of-age comedy set in Sheringham, and based on McDermott’s own experiences as a working-class Morrissey-obsessed teenager exploring his own sexuality against the backdrop of rural Norfolk. McDermott describes it as “a play with a big heart full of big characters and big laughs”, and his script blends song lyrics, music and autobiographical tales of his teenage years, and promises to be a night out audiences won’t forget…

Sum up your show in 3 words:

‘Funniest! Show! Ever!’

What is your favourite spot in East Anglia?

‘On good days, the clifftop walk from Weybourne to Sheringham. On bad days, Norwich Train Station so I can escape to London.’

If you had one super power, what would it be?

‘The ability to read minds so I could really understand human psychology and then hopefully write better characters. And so I would know who fancies me back and then I wouldn’t waste time pursuing people who don’t.’

What was the first film you saw in the cinema?

‘I want to say it was a Francois Truffaut film but it wasn’t. It was Rugrats In Paris. Very different type of French cinema…’

And finally, give us one reason why people should come and see your show!

‘Because coming out to see a laugh-out-loud coming-of-age comedy about growing up in Norfolk is better than staying in watching repeats of Maigret on ITV Three whilst wolfing down a box of Brandy Snaps.’

 

Rubber Ring will be performed at Ovington Village Hall on Saturday 27th January at 7.30pm. The show is a ‘Pay What You Decide’ performance, giving audiences the opportunity to come, watch, and pay what they think their experience is worth after the show. McDermott will also be holding an informal post-show discussion. Capacity is limited so it is advisable to book in advance. To do so, please call 01953 885848 or click here for more information.

Rubber Ring has been selected as part of our rural touring programme, and will also tour to Sheringham Little Theatre on 5th May and Wymondham Central Hall on 12th May. For more information on upcoming events, please visit our website.