25th June 2019
Theatre Orchard has been running arts projects in North Somerset for the past 13 years, bringing inspiring, professional live performance to indoor and outdoor settings and delivering creative opportunities so that everyone can enjoy participating in the arts.ccr
We love North Somerset with its amazing array of unique spaces and are passionate about showcasing the arts on a variety of stages, small or large, enclosed or without walls. Our ambitious, multi-faceted programme, embracing professional performance and community engagement in equal measure, responds to North Somerset’s socio, economic and geographical identity and aims to bring transformative experiences that enrich people’s lives, boost pride of place, minimise environmental impact and support economic growth.
We are a small, core team of professional practitioners that work collaboratively to deliver the wide ranging and high profile programme, supported by a dedicated team of
volunteers and our very own Theatre Orchard Youth Board, which provides a platform for young people’s voices to be heard.
We are equally committed to supporting locally based artists, with initiatives such as Theatre Shop’s annual mentoring scheme ‘Shoplifting’ in association with Living Spit, and artist development work with groups including graduate theatre companies from University Centre Weston.
Theatre Orchard’s work is underpinned by a belief that culture plays a powerful part in well-being and should be a vital part of everyone’s life experience.
Whether it’s ballet on the pier, circus on the streets, pint-sized performance in a pub, children’s shows in care homes, or theatre in a disused lido and converted shop, Theatre Orchard enables diverse stories to be told in inspirational settings, connecting with people and places. In November 2018, we were privileged to produce Pages of the Sea in Weston, the national, flagship initiative directed by Danny Boyle to mark the 100 year Armistice, which saw thousands of people coming together on the beach in a poignant and unforgettable gathering of remembrance.
Since becoming an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation in 2018, we have been able to expand our work to provide a regular outreach Engagement programme in Weston’s South Ward for both adults and young people, linked to a new social prescribing role that will assess the impact of creativity on individuals, communities and the health sector. We are also excited to be working in partnership with Big Worle in a brand, new community campaign to celebrate the area and showcase its stories.
Our free outdoor arts work in public spaces has also grown, with the ‘Weekend of Wonders’ Festival in Weston’s Italian Gardens becoming a fixture of the town’s calendar. This July, the extravaganza, re-named ‘Whirligig!’, will see another, stellar line-up of acts, from international performers to local artists, supported by the Without Walls national network of Outdoor Festivals, which Theatre Orchard has had the accolade of recently joining.
Fiona Matthews, creative director at Theatre Orchard said: “We are committed to creating exceptional experiences that make North Somerset a great place to be, illuminating people and places through live arts. From free outdoor Festivals, professional performance programmes and flagship national initiatives such as Pages of the Sea to bread and butter creativity with local communities, we seek to connect everyone to the joy of live arts and the wellbeing that it fosters.”
Theatre Orchard partners with many individuals, organisations, schools and businesses on its journey to transform North Somerset into a region that is an increasingly dynamic, playful and stimulating place to live, work and visit. Together, we look forward to continuing to take, giant creative leaps along the way.