WESTON ARTS + HEALTH WEEKENDER CELEBRATES NHS 75th ANNIVERSARY
14th September 2023
Friday 29 September to Sunday 1 October 2023 at various venues in Weston-super-Mare
To mark this year’s 75th anniversary of the NHS, the annual Weston Arts + Health Festival returns to the town for a weekend of celebratory events.
Co-produced by Super Culture and The Arts & Culture Programme, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW), the diverse programme of events is themed around 75 years of extraordinary stories in a special Happy Birthday homage to the NHS.
Emily Malins, Arts Programme Manager at UHBW, said: “UHBW Arts & Culture are thrilled to be co-presenting this year’s Weston Arts + Health Festival.
“Through performance, audio and visual art, special stories will be shared from the staff and patients of UHBW, including Weston General Hospital, that are testimony to the NHS’s unique capacity to generate extraordinary moments every day, even through challenging times.”
Taking place at favourite locations and outdoor spaces in the town and at Weston General Hospital, there is something for everyone to enjoy – from swimming, rowing, singing, theatre, poetry, yoga, creative workshops and community artwork to a series of exhilarating coastal walks in partnership with Natural England to mark the launch of the new North Somerset stretch of the King Charles III Coastal Path.
Events are bookable in advance or drop-in. Visit https://superculture.org.uk/whats-on/ for full programme details and follow @superculturewsm for the latest updates.
Weston Arts + Health Weekender 2023 is supported by funding from Arts Council England and Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity.
Fiona Matthews, creative director at Super Culture, said:
“Once again much of the Arts + Health Weekender wider programme takes place outdoors in Weston’s inspiring landscape. Whether you’re swimming, singing, walking, crafting or simply sitting back and enjoying, join us across the weekend in a joyful, creative celebration of our precious National Health Service in this milestone 75th year.”
Friday 29 September: The festival launches with a celebratory birthday artwork in The Sovereign which will be co-created across the weekend by the community with textile artist and healthcare researcher Dr Rebecka Fleetwood-Smith. People are invited to add their voices to the artwork that is inspired by stories expressed in birthday cards created by staff and patients at UHBW to celebrate the 75th anniversary. Taking place in Unit 27 of The Sovereign throughout the weekend from 10.30am – 4pm.
There is also a range of free, drop-in activities for staff at Weston General Hospital, including craft sessions, poetry and music in Rafters café. Street artist Stewy will also be creating a specially commissioned mural of Aneurin (Nye) Bevan to be unveiled during the weekend and displayed in the hospital grounds.
On Saturday 30 September, a multi-arts programme and community celebration of song, music, poetry and performance will be shining out from Super Wonder Shrine on the high street between 10.30am and 4pm, with the premiere performance of the new Birthday commission ‘Listen In: NHS at 75; by the UHBW NHS Foundation Trust Choir.
Or join a specially curated walk along the newly launched coastal path, featuring activities including ornithology, art, foraging, poetry and music set in the surrounds of stunning landscape. The various walks are free, bookable in advance and will take place at designated times throughout the day from 9am – 5pm. The great outdoors will also feature in a free, drop-in Park Yoga session from 10.30am – 11.30am in the tranquil setting of Ellenborough Park. This programme of activity is kindly funded by Natural England.
At Weston Museum from 10am – 4pm, join Create Together artists for courtyard workshops crafting natural materials such as clay, sea glass and driftwood and meet volunteer walking group leaders to tell you more about sociable walking and wellness opportunities on your doorstep. This is a free, drop-in event.
On Sunday 1 October, local NHS stories feature within a new audio commission and bespoke soundscape created for SW!M 75. SW!M 75 is a live synchro inspired performance, co-produced with Diverse City and supported by National Grid’s Community Matters Fund. Taking place at 2pm in and out of Weston’s Marine Lake, the showcase will include Weston’s newly established Super Synchro group, alongside NHS workers and members of the public, with D’deaf, disabled and non-disabled performers welcomed equally. Open rehearsals are running on Mondays throughout September for all to join.
Also at Marine Lake from 12pm – 5pm (booking details to be announced), you can take to a rowing boat and lap up a new story commission for Luke Jerram’s installation ‘Crossings’, produced by Radio 4 producer Julian May to pay tribute to the interlinking journeys of Windrush and NHS, both reaching a milestone 75 this year. This story will be premiered on the first day of Black History Month.
Round off the weekend by settling back for a theatre performance by Super Culture’s ‘Open Door’ adult drama collective, taking place at 5pm at Weston’s Front Room Fringe Theatre. ‘The Cabaret of Opportunity’ celebrates the 75th anniversary in an uplifting new show that comes from the heart of Weston’s South Ward.