Rather than simply ‘sharing’, the details here represent extensions, dissemination and impact of the Oldham Theatre Project rather than ‘sharing’ the precise work that took place. Because the project was workshop-based with no formal ‘performance’ output, this website, Performing Places, offers the most comprehensive sharing.
Big Digital Project was a light projection show that collaborated with ten boroughs of Greater Manchester to create short videos and images about their local towns. In a piece entitled This is Oldham, The town saw community groups including the continued Place group having their say about the place they live in and what it means to them. The videos were shared publicly at Gallery Oldham before they were showcased in a Finale event alongside the nine other boroughs of Greater Manchester. These projections were displayed on the side of Manchester Town Hall on Saturday 29th March 2014.
The video above is the original recording of three of the Place group which was subsequently projected.
For Refugee Week in Oldham, 2014, Keith Snape (originally involved with the Place project as tutor on an English speaking course) invited in the theatre company Ice and Fire as part of Oldham’s commitment to performance activities raising awareness of refugee-related issues.
One of the Oldham Neighbourhoods, St Mary’s Ward, has approached OTW to recreate and build on the Place project with migrant families through their housing associations, 2014/2015.
Respect Our Community Awards, part of First Choice Housing in Oldham, supported the Place project at OTW financially. In their annual showcase celebrating the projects supported by ROCA, members of the Place group, Sally Mackey and OTW staff created a stand and talked about the project to visitors.
Our Town was a social media soap opera created and run by Oldham Theatre Workshop (OTW). Using professional writers to lead youth writing teams, storylines were created in and around the fictional town of Millwood (loosely based on Oldham). It was run through Twitter with tweets scheduled to go out during each week and the ability to add tweets in response to live events, as necessary. Challenging Place ‘bought’ a parallel storyline that developed issues around displacement and new migrants to the town. Instead of the Place workshops at OTW, the artistic echo was the art work that refugee Ellend made in the streets. The real and the fictional crossed when one of the Millwood characters ‘found’ a clay figure at Dovestones, which one of the ‘real’ Place group had left as part of some installation work during the final week of the project, August, 2013.
The online social media soap opera, tackles the storyline of displacement through the character Ellend. Although the character is silent, the audience learn about him and his situation through other characters and happenings in the town. The storyline unfolds as various pieces of graffiti are spotted in the town centre with pictures and words such as ‘labelled’ and ‘displaced’ appearing alongside the abstract artwork. The storyline continues when Millwood teenager, Abi, befriends Ellend and questions his life before Millwood; residents have their own opinions on the expression of Ellend’s artwork. The situation of the refugee isn’t ‘resolved’ of course but issues are highlighted.
For more information about Our Town, see www.ourtownoldham.co.uk