Each year for the past four years Mercurial Arts has worked with Warwick Arts Centre, The Coventry Mysteries Festival and Mercurial Dance to produce a new piece of dance theatre performed by children from Coventry Primary Schools.
The Mysteries is a unique festival in Coventry. This participatory arts festival takes a theme each year exploring moral and social issues. A festival to reinvent the traditions of the Coventry Mystery’s Cycle making them relevant for the modern age, and express the desire for the regeneration and reimagining of urban spaces in the city.
The SEED explored the Mysteries Theme of Re-Creation. Where do our ideas originate in our bodies, and how are they recreated? Collaborating with a Neuroscientist from Warwick University we explored the themes in this dance-science project culminating in a performance that placed the audience in the centre of an idea as it formed.
This year the Mysteries theme was Peace and Reconciliation. Working with Dance and Animation we explored the themes for a theatrical show at Coventry University’s Square One venue in the Hub. Growing the project to include four primary schools and 40 children, the piece included projection mapping, dance theatre and a narrative exploring what happens when children are uprooted and forced to move from a place they considered home.
For a second year the Bubble Chamber has been invited by the Coventry Mysteries Company to create a new site-specific dance and technology installation in the heart of Coventry for the festival season. For the 2011 theme of Rights and Responsibilities we focused in on the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, specifically Article 31: The right to play freely and to rest.
Working with two primary schools from Coventry the project offered transformational experiences for the pupils and teachers involved in the project. Confidence in performing, a new attitude to dance and changes in how the teachers viewed their class and their creative learning all took place over the project.
“Kitty took a lead role performing in It’s My Right. Previously she struggled to perform in school assemblies, often being tearful, through the project she has gained so much confidence and courage. You could see her enjoyment and pride”
Working at the Bubble Chamber our empty shop inspired the question: Can you buy forgiveness? Our ideas for Forget Me Not Forgive Me Now arose from this starting point. In a materially obsessed culture we asked pupils to think if you can or if you should be able to buy forgiveness? What you might use to buy it or what might be take from you if you tried to? Some pupils took the characters of shoppers, traders, and grappled with ghosts and the dark zones of conscience in various places of the shop.
Young people from local primary schools have been involved in intensive, creative activity, expressing ideas, thoughts and opinions through dance and image manipulation technology. Performances have been supplemented by a continuous gallery-style exhibition and interactive digital art will be on display at The Bubble Chamber throughout the week.
These projects were supported by Warwick Arts Centre Education Department and The Higgs Charity.