Derby Theatre and partners to celebrate easing of lockdown with community co-creation project, Derby Rises

To celebrate the city’s emergence from quarantine, and easing out of lockdown, Derby Theatre and partners of Derby CAN (Creative Arts Network) are thrilled to announce Derby Rises, a radical combination of newly commissioned artistic pieces of work, community-based workshops and an evening of celebration and entertainment at Derby Theatre on Sunday 27 September.

Derby Rises is a citywide version of The Bakery of Slow Ideas; a community art practice created by Leo Kay from London-based Unfinished Business. Together, Leo and Project Collaborator Anna Smith, make interactive and intimate performance, working with both artists and non-artists in the UK and throughout Europe.

For Derby Rises, they are currently working with Derby Theatre, various community groups, artists and partners from the region to creatively explore the themes of hope, identity and how we emerge as a city from lockdown.

Socially Distanced Celebration Event

On Sunday 27 September, the overall project will culminate in a socially distanced cabaret-style performance and celebration event at Derby Theatre, which will also be livestreamed for the public. This will be the first event held at the Theatre since Macbeth in March, following months of cancelled shows due to the Covid-19 lockdown. 

The performances will bring together the content of the workshops (scroll down for more info), presented as artistic responses to each community group’s work.

An invited audience on the night will include members of the community involved in the workshops, their friends and families.

Artists & Performers

The artists who will perform on the evening, and those involved at the workshop stage, are:

- Jamie Thrasivoulou (an award-winning writer, poet, lyricist, and educator from Derby)

- Amy Pennington (an artist who makes work using humour to connect human experiences and socio-political issues)

- Symoné (a hula hoop artiste, dancer, rollerskater and Vaudeville Dynamo) 

- Mr Supreme (a UK rap artist based in the East Midlands)

On the evening, each artist will perform their short response piece and a performance poet will perform a new poem inspired by the words displayed and contributed via the Graffiti Wall.

Sinfonia VIVA, a British, award-winning orchestra from Derby, will play a short set from a string quartet at the event and Derby Jazz, a long-established organisation who support and develop Jazz in the city, will also perform.

Community Workshops

Since early July, Leo Kay, Derby CAN Partners and the commissioned artists have collaborated with the following groups through workshops: the LGBTQ+ community; the New Arrivals, Asylum Seekers and Refugee community and a newly formed group who identify as Working Class.   

The workshops explore each community group’s response to the pandemic, their personal manifestos for the future, and their hopes for their city.

The commissioned artists are attending each workshop to develop and create a short performance in response to each community’s contributions which will be performed at the Theatre on Sunday 27 September.  

Graffiti Wall

To complement the workshops, from Monday 21 until Saturday 26 September, a Graffiti Wall will be erected on Cathedral Green in the city as a creative space that will be accessible to the public to add their thoughts and dreams for their respective communities post-lockdown.

Project partner, Baby People, the UK’s first dedicated Hip Hop school which uses art and culture to engage and support the needs of the most deprived in our communities, will engage with various groups to decorate the wall throughout the week, to enhance contributions from the public.

As part of this, the public can also drop in to our graffiti workshops on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 September, between 11am – 1pm for help making your creation for the wall.

The graffiti workshops, led by Baby People and other artists, are a fantastic opportunity to join like-minded people from the community to discuss and co-create artistic pieces of work which explore, reflect and represent our hopes and dreams for the future

About Derby CAN

Derby Rises is part of Derby CAN (Creative Arts Network), a 3-year, multi-partner Arts Council England £1.5 million funded project to work, co-curate and co-create with different communities, to support and strengthen the performing arts sector in the local area.

The project partners include: Baby PeopleChina PlateCrying Out LoudDédaDerby City CouncilDerby County Community Trust, In Good Company, Maison Foo, Maypole, Milk Presents, Not Too Tame, QUAD, University of Derby and Wild Rumpus

The Derby Rises celebration event will be on Sunday 27 September and will take place at Derby Theatre from 7pm.

Photo by Antonio Ancora