Projects with Community Groups

 

Projects with young people, older people & other community groups

Wolf + Water work across the human life span, from early years to the elderly and everything in between. When working with groups, we are particularly interested in exploring notions of “community” – how different groups of people can co-exist and learn from each other, and how, in the big picture, we can develop sustainable and supportive societies.

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Again, there is a lot of overlap with other sections in this website. A lot of our work around “conflict management” has been about planning how communities can rebuild civil structures and peaceful society following war. A lot of our work with people with Learning Difficulties has been about how they can be included and accepted within their wider communities


Young People

Wolf + Water work with young people across a wide range of statutory and non-statutory settings, including schools, youth clubs, community organisations (everything from Young Farmers to the Princes Trust), the mental health and youth justice systems.

From working with teenagers in inner city Belfast to create performances to express to the rest of their community their hopes & fears for the future, to working in small Devon villages who want to do something more creative with their play scheme, Wolf & Water can work with a whole variety of age groups on a whole variety of issues.
Wolf + Water use a range of arts skills to enable what are often seen as “difficult” or “at risk” young people to unlock their own expressive & creative potential in a positive & pro-social way, in order both to have a good time, but also to learn new personal & interpersonal skills, & to develop a critical awareness towards their own communities & the wider world, & both their rights & responsibilities in relation to that.


Older People

With older people, again, Wolf + Water have worked on a huge range of projects, including creative reminiscence work, gentle dance and movement projects, creating books and radio plays and visual arts projects. This has included working with groups with sensory disabilities and those with dementia, Parkinsons disease and other limiting conditions.

We believe that older people have a huge amount of experience and wisdom that is often overlooked, and our work aims to celebrate and share this fact. Many of our projects have involved mixed groups – for example bringing together older people and school or youth club groups.


The Wider Community

On a wider community level, Wolf + Water have worked with groups of people who are homeless or vulnerably housed, women’s groups, and even artists! We have run visioning and active planning processes for local councils and performed commissioned pieces for Regional Development Agencies.


Past Projects Include

Fire and Water an arts wave devon project in Torrington 

We worked with Dance in Devon and a range of community groups, venues and organisations in Great Torrington to design a new arts project called Fire and Water. The project ran from September 2015 to March 2016. Projects included dance, music, art and film.

Tarka Pottery

img_7188Worked with children from the North Devon Home School group at the Tarka Potter Studios. The children made a clay oil burners, incorporating the themes of fire and water using coil and pinch pots techniques.

They learnt how to decorate their finished pieces using a variety of techniques including using coloured decorating slips in red, yellow & orange and a scraffito technique to draw flames around the base and up the sides, dripping coloured slips or glazes to give the impression of water running down.  Cutting out fish, underwater animals, sun or flame shapes to allowed the light out in the base of the burner; using glass beads to create a water effect in the bowl as part of the glazing; using shells, seaweed and coral to impress texture.

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‘Meet Me At The Plough’

img_9336As part of ‘Fire & Water’ we supported the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington launch their “Meet Me At The Plough’ project providing a weekly afternoon creative skills sharing drop in sessions for older people.

Sessions included decoupage, wire craft, painting, sketching and more under the expert guidance of workshop leader Sophie Evans.

The ‘no experience necessary’ sessions provided an opportunity to share skills and talents with others or just have a go at learning something new in a relaxing environment with great company. This project has continued to meet beyond the life of ‘Fire and Water’

“What a wonderfully relaxing and creative environment in which to learn new skills and make friends”

The work from these projects was placed in an exhibition at the Plough Arts Centre as part of the arts wave devon celebration event.

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Saints & Springs – Wells & Wishes

wells1Was an integrated multi arts project between Great Torrington School and people with learning disabilities.

Wolf + Water delivered a week of exciting drama, movement & music sessions bringing together year 11 pupils from Great Torrington School and local adults with learning difficulties who spent the week diving into the theme of springs, wells & sacred shrines in Torrington & North Devon and worked together to create a strange magic world where anything might happen,

Answering such questions as “what are they about then?” “can wishes really come true?” & “how did St Nectan manage to run all around North Devon for that length of time even though his head cut off?”.

The enchanting performance was performed at the Plough Arts Centre as part of the grand finale of arts wave Torrington ‘Fire and Water’.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nectan_of_Hartland

Bluecoat Primary School Bollywood dance

bluecoatdance01Year 2 students at the Bluecoat Primary learned the art of Bollywood dance under the expert guidance of dance teacher Karina Gracia.

Bollywood is a fusion of Eastern and Western dance and evolved from the Indian film business. It’s highly addictive for the mind, body and the soul. It’s colourful, it’s vibrant, it’s beautiful and it’s infectious

Two groups from the school worked throughout the autumn term to create unique performances exploring the significance of fire and water in Indian culture.

The children performed as part of the Fire and Water Celebration event at the Torrington ‘Christmas lights switch on’ 2015.

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“In The Face Of” – Devon, UK – 2011

Was a touring performance made in conjunction with Exeter Shilhay Community that supports people who are or have been homeless. Taking inspiration from Andy Warhol’s “screen test” films, we asked people to sit in front of a film a camera and “just be themselves”. We developed this idea getting people to create their own original sound tracks of stories and sounds to accompany the films. The resulting performance toured in venues across Devon.

 

 


“Little Boy / Little Girl” – The Hiroshima Tempest – Oslo, Norway – 2011

Over 2010 – 11 Wolf + Water started a community theatre group in Oslo in order to develop and devise a version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” based on the bombing of Hiroshima. The only rule to being part of the group was that no one was to have had any previous theatre experience. A year on, and with a cast comprising of (amongst others) a German wind turbine specialist, a Belgian oil rig worker, a German computer specialist, an English war photographer and a Norwegian experimental music composer, we did three sell out performances as part of the “Teatertreff” theatre festival and at Grusomhetens Theatre in Oslo…

Intensely sad, intensely beautiful
Sad serious and funny – a nuclear version of Shakespeare
A play that your mind will re-visit for sometime after you’ve seen it

 


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Exeter, UK – 2009

A community play with the residents of the St Davids area of Exeter in Devon, which adapted this classic story to look at issues in their community.


WestEnders Radio Series

“WestEnders” was a highly successful project with young people from the Westend Pupil Referal Unit for young people who for what ever reason, had been excluded from main stream education.

Working with them over a period of 2 months we worked with them to create a series of comedy sketches that were recorded and distributed on CD and online as downloadable podcasts on iTunes. Offbeat classics such as “Six Year Old Dad” and “The Posh Gangsters” gained such a cult following that the series was taken up and beamed around the world by the Phonic FM community radio station – billed as “the funniest thing this side of Cullompton”.


The Rime of The Ancient Mariner (on bicycle) – South West UK – 2007

Shot in a frantic week in September 2007, ‘The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (on bicycle)’ is a travelogue that cycles in the footsteps of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge on his famous journey from Somerset to Bristol, working with a variety of community groups along the way, using his famous poem “The Ancient Mariner” as our starting point for all sorts of creative adventures.

We worked with primary schools, schools and day centres for people with
learning difficulties, several community groups, two homes for elderly people and a pub.

The resulting film knits together The Mariner’s tale with drama, reminiscence, writing & animation, to make a psychedelic yet perfect mix between entertainment, community outreach and human interest, and was premiered as part of the Samuel Taylor Coleridge Festival at the Brewhouse Arts Centre.

Copies of this lovely little film, which is a great example of the wide variety of ways we can work with a wide variety of groups, are available on request.

 

Exeter Forum Theatre

Exeter Forum Theatre was weekly theatre group of people who were homeless or vulnerably housed in Exeter that ran from 2002 – 2010 and undertook a wide range of work that aimed both to support the self esteem and skills development of its members through drama and performance skills, while at the same time creating a wider public awareness of homelessness issues through touring and training.

Some of the projects this group ran include:

The Homelessness Prevention Schools Tour

The EFT Youth Homelessness Prevention Schools Tour was a partnership project with the Meaningful Occupation Project (MOP). We toured an original devised production and workshop around 9 venues, reaching more than 500 young people, with a cast of homeless, ex-homeless and vulnerably housed actors.

The production was aimed at young people of year 10 and upwards and raised issues of substance and alcohol misuse, family breakdown, poor relationships and bullying. It also highlighted the dangers and perils of life on the streets or in a squat. Research was carried out prior to the production and the current main causes of youth homelessness were incorporated into the plot.

The project was successful in developing the personal skills of the cast through an ambitious and demanding project which required a high level of team work, communication and presentation skills as well as asking the group to work under the pressure of having a job to do. But they rose to the challenge, often despite difficult personal circumstances, and as a result fed back to us that they found the experience worthwhile and beneficial. Many of the cast members have gone on to talk about doing similar projects, going back to college or feeling inspired to make things happen in their lives.

In the evaluation EFT participants said that what they had gained from the project included:
• “Doing something that has meaning and purpose”
• “Encouragement in believing in the abilities I have to offer.”
• “Overcoming barriers and improving my self-esteem and confidence.”
• “It helped build my social skills when working with other people.”
This project was funded by the Devon Community Foundation and Exeter City Council.

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Girl Power? Women’s Arts Project – Exeter Devon 2007

This was a two year Exeter based women’s arts project involving  women drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and involving activities such as visual arts, music & drama.

The project culminated with two breathtaking and awe-inspiring performances in the main auditorium at the Exeter Phoenix. It focused around the discovery of an old case by a member of staff at a care home, who can’t resist the temptation to look inside. What they find is a story, a story told in pictures of the sometimes ordinary, sometimes extraordinary life of a Connie, and her experiences of being a woman through different periods of the 20th century.
The performance explored assumptions about the lives of older women, questions about how women have been both manipulated and manipulators and the idea of “Girl Power” As the contents of the case were revealed the audience witnessed snapshots of Connie’s amazing life and how it reflected attitudes towards the role of women and the rise of feminism.

I appreciate just how positive Wolf + Water have been, how encouraging and accepting they are and how they have enabled me to feel so much better about myself – and just be myself
Basically it was brilliant and I would like to do it all over again!
I wanted to thank Wolf + Water for such a brilliant experience and for helping so many people who haven’t really experienced this kind of thing to be involved.

“Romeo and Juliet” – Burnt House Lane Primary School, Priory School Secondary School, Exeter – 2003

This was a 6 month project in conjunction with DAISI (Devon Arts in Schools Initiative) to work with these two schools on issues of conflict. We used the story of “Romeo & Juliet” to explore issues pertinent to the lives of the young people we were working with – being in gangs, violence, and the treatment of girls and women – ending in a number of public performances.


“Stop Look Listen” – A “Live” Consultancy with Young People in Care – North Devon, UK 1996

“Stop Look Listen” was a residential weekend commissioned by Devon Social services, NCH Action for Children, & the Children’s Society to work with young care leavers from across the county. The premise for the weekend was around how difficult it is for any young person to grow up & prepare to leave home – the prospect of dealing with money & employment, peers & relationships, the whole range of basic skills needed in order to feed, look after oneself, & keep a roof over ones head. And for a young person coming out of care, who may have had a turbulent background that is likely to have poorly equipped them to survive practically, emotionally & socially in the world, the problems are compounded.

Often with little experience of “stability” & with often an inherent mistrust of the “adult system”, many young care leavers experience problems in communication & interpersonal skills that leaves them feeling angry & unsupported. “Stop, Look, Listen” explored with participants their experiences of both being in the care system & leaving it, & explored the problems that they had faced & how the “system” might have helped them, & moreover, how they might have been better prepared to help themselves.

Their findings were presented as a huge live action board game, which the regional managers of Social services, the Children’s Society & NCH Action For Children, bravely agreed to play in a series a real time roleplays through which they had to negotiate themselves around & deal with situations implicit in leaving the care system.

I enjoyed the excellent way in which…the young people involved participated. It was certainly a very good way of conveying key messages & feelings
The amount of work we have done has taken me personally by storm. I expected to be totally bored, but I’m absolutely into it…I feel like an MP or something
With regards to Wolf + Water…when arrived on the Friday evening I had no idea how they would put it together. During the course of the weekend as things became clearer, I have to say that I was very impressed. The presentation was nothing short of brilliant

 


“The Devil Comes to Shebbear” – A community show in a week – North Devon, UK 1993.

A week long residency with young people & their wider community from a remote North Devon village that explored what was special about Shebbear (a bit of a tall order!) & what the young people would miss if it disappeared (a taller order still…!). Using the only local myth that there seemed to be, that a large stone in the churchyard was in fact holding down the Devil, the week explored with the young people what would happen if the Devil re-emerged & tried to destroy the village. The resulting show attracted a huge audience from across the area who were lead on a dramatic tour of the village as the desperate attempt to recapture the Devil took place…


“Our Estate” & “Beyond the Bunker” – Model Farm & Flying Horse Estates, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, 1991 – 1992

A series of two week residencies over two years with a group of particularly difficult young people, already demonised by their communities on two extremely deprived estates. Working with the local arts centre, women’s group & youth service with paramilitary permission, Wolf + Water’s first devised production with the young people explored their relationship to their adult community – schools, residents, RUC, paramilitaries – & looked at the kind of changes that they wanted to see on their estate in the short term.

The final production was then performed to representatives of all the agencies mentioned earlier. A year later Wolf + Water returned to create with the same young people “Beyond the Bunker”, looking at the long term wishes of the young people – taking as it’s premise that Northern Ireland had been destroyed in a nuclear holocaust, & that they were the only survivors who now had to recreate society from scratch.

The final multimedia performance involving theatre, dance, photography, music & projected images was an incredibly moving experience. Moreover, by working with the “agencies on the ground” Wolf + Water were able to provide sufficient support & training for the drama project to become an ongoing piece of community life.


Conference Performances

“Equity, Diversity and Interdependence” Community Relations Council Conference, Belfast 2001

Two performances at either end of this one day conference for a wide range of community workers across the Province looking at the complex issues behind these three words that are currently the key value indicators behind community projects supported by the Community Relations Council.

I just wanted to express how grateful I am for the excellent piece of work you & your team created for us at our recent conference