Emerge Festival Ashfield by Jo

by Emerge Festival (2018)

It's been a busy start to the first part of Emerge Festival planning in Ashfield. My first lab, Fountaindale SEN school have really thrown themselves into being involved into the festival brimming with lots of wonderful ideas of what we can create. My workshops with the group have focussed on getting to know the group so that they feel comfortable with me and so that I can get to know their individual needs. We have been doing sessions incorporating a number of non-verbal drama exercises, the whole session is set to music. This has been a great way to connect with the group and unlock their creativity and potential in a way that is accessible to the group. They've been fun and lively sessions so far so I'm looking forward to continuing working with this group. They have chosen to focus their creative projects to be inspired by Midsummer Night's Dream and we have just started to introduce the themes and the characters into the workshops.
The second lab is a little different. Emerge festival is combining with an existing project Dragon's Den. This is a project involving a number of partners including three secondary schools, Nottinghamshire County Council, Ashfield District Council, Young Minds mental health charity and Nottinghamshire Police. We will be working with the young people to explore the themes of building resilience, celebrating diversity and bringing communities together and seeing where Shakespeare can inspire and fit into these themes. Recruitment is still happening with this group, taking the form of assemblies and workshops in the schools involved. We've already formed one after school group from this but are looking to create another in the new year to work on the festival going forward.
Even though it has been a little complicated to start off with in terms of the number of partners involved, as it's coming together it is becoming clearer how it will work and is actually looking quite exciting in terms of the communities that we can reach with the festival. Luke, a fellow artist in neighbouring Mansfield, and I have also been cooking up plans to collaborate on some projects that will crossover on both festivals include a Virtual reality project that, if we can pull it off, will be really exciting!