No 7 arts is a creative wellbeing programme for women that either live along the No.7 bus route or have connections to it – they grew up there, use to live there, etc. The programme is delivered by Monica Herbert who is a community theatre practitioner, at Perry Common Library.
Every Friday afternoon the group meet in the community room at the library, where we follow a weekly programme of storytelling, researching the local area, sharing stories, theatre games, role play and devising little drama pieces.
The aim of the programme is experimental and seeks to encourage women’s creativity, allow a space where women can remember the importance of having fun, expressing themselves using various artforms through applied theatre, taking part in creative activity and most importantly receive affirmation that their stories are valid, interesting, important and of value.
The aim of this programme is for the participants to accept that the work they are doing is creative and that while we are devising and delivering ‘show-back’ pieces they are collaborative artists.
Sarah Blackstock, Witton Lodge Wellbeing Manager, produced this Applied Theatre project to offer a space where women could come and meet other women, break down isolation and build social networks while learning new skills, increase their confidence and self-esteem to enhance wellbeing through activity and taking part.
Since the project started in November we have had many women attend every week, some have dropped in for a session as and when they can make it around other commitments such as work, study, childcare etc.
The session always starts with a cup of tea and a catch up, then we carry a few theatre games for 5-10 minutes so that we can get into a fun & energetic mood. While doing work around this year’s celebration of women getting the vote, we learned that one of our regular participants had a family member who was a suffragette! The family member was even on an old photo in the museum, protesting to get women the vote.
On Friday 18th of May, the women performed a short drama piece in front of an intimate audience of guests at Perry Common Library. Following the performance, there was an interactive workshop with the guests to showcase what the group was about and how they had develop the drama performance. You can view some pictures from the performance below.
If this sounds like something you would like to get involved in, please contact Sarah on 0121 382 1930 or Sarah.Blackstock@wittonlodge.org.uk