Wimborne Community Theatre and Millstream Theatre – a local adult company of actors with learning disabilities – are to produce a new riverside production for the summer. Set on the banks of the River Stour, interactive performances will reflect a sense of place intertwined with personal and mythical stories, shining a light on river ecology.
Audiences will be led on a secret route by the River Stour, following two young people on a quest. Characters and creatures will be met along the way, and with an element of humour they will impart wisdom and well-being, as people discover how important it is to keep ‘the river that runs through us’ as a vibrant and full of river-life.
Getting young people enthused about their local environment is a key aim of the project and Wimborne Community Theatre (WCT) and Millstream Theatre are working with pupils from Rushcombe First School – inspiring them and other children to become the future environmental guardians of the River Stour.
Gavin White, teacher at Rushcombe First School said: “It is clear that for many children, care for the environment is very important to them, building upon the sense of wonder that nature and wildlife often inspires in them. During a recent curriculum project with Tony Horitz (of WCT), the children explored a range of environmental issues, before expressing their thoughts and feelings about these in a range of ways. One of these expressions was a song and dance by our Year 4 children, which encapsulated the message of care and hope that the planting of each seed represents. We are very proud of the children that they are able to share this performance as part of ‘Secrets of the Stour’.”
Performances will take place on land owned by Sir William Hanham, of Dean’s Court, Wimborne, so audiences can enjoy this very special location on the River Stour near Julian’s Bridge.
Sir William said he is delighted that the performances are taking place on the estate as he believes they will “help raise awareness of the value of our rivers for the community and for the wildlife that inhabits them. With both the Allen and the Stour running through the Deans Court Estate, we are starting to regenerate the land to bring it back into balance with nature, and we hope to engage with schools and community organisations to participate in this endeavour. This summer’s riverside theatrical production couldn’t be a better way to start.”
Featuring drama, dance, live music, singing, puppets and sound installations, this unusual promenade performance takes place at 7.30pm each evening from Wednesday 6 to Saturday 9 July. Tickets are available on Eventbrite (http://tinyurl.com/4483rkmm or search Wimborne Community Theatre).
The specially created performance – funded by Arts Council England, Dorset Council and Dorset Community Foundation – has been developed by members of Wimborne Community Theatre and is directed by Tony Horitz, in collaboration with artistic director Joe Hancock of Burn the Curtain Theatre, and Millstream Theatre artistic director Tam Gilbert, with music composed by Karen Wimhurst and sound artist Adrian Newton.
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