Celebrating Age: £75,000 grant awarded
PRESS RELEASE: 27 February 2017
£75,000 Grant for Winchester Arts Company to Celebrate Older People
Following the success of last year’s production Four Score Years And Ten which featured the lives of some of Winchester’s 90 year olds, Hat Fair has been given a grant of £75,560 deliver a two year programme of arts activity for, with and about older people.
The grant has been awarded by Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation’s Celebrating Age fund as one of only 16 grants throughout the country intended to help older people engage with high quality arts and culture. It will make it possible for Hat Fair to tour Four Score Years And Ten around Hampshire in September. Hat Fair will be working with Winchester City Council, Flintlock Theatre, Age UK, St John’s Charity Winchester and Winchester Live At Home Scheme.
Next year the grant will enable Hat Fair to work with older people in Hampshire and Northamptonshire to create The Recycled Silent Movie. Partnering with the Core at Corby Cube, they will take film clips from the archives of footage held at Hampshire Records Office and transform them into a new silent movie with a specially composed live piano soundtrack performed by Jonathan Best.
Hat Fair Artistic Director Michelle Walker said: “We are really excited that this Celebrating Age grant will enable us to extend the work we have been doing recently with older participants and performers in the local area.”
Four Score Years And Ten used professional actors to tell the life stories of six 90 year old Winchester residents. “We’ve been really touched by people’s willingness to open up their lives to us and to co-create theatre with us,” said Ms Walker. “The grant will enable us to continue to change people’s perceptions of older people and to offer older participants and interviewees an enriching creative experience.”
A spokesperson for Winchester City Council, which funded the original Four Score Years And Ten project, said, “We are delighted that Hat Fair and our consortium partners have been given the opportunity to build on the successful work we have already begun together to maximize the potential of the arts to support healthy ageing in Winchester and District. The Celebrating Age grant provides the perfect opportunity for Hat Fair and our partners to enrich the lives and experiences of older people.”
Anna Glynn is Co-Director of Flintlock Theatre, the company which wrote and performed Four Score Years And Ten. She said: “The participants have been absolutely central to a project that explores what it is to be an older person in the UK today and that pushes audiences to listen to them with fresh ears. The project has been humbling, inspiring and just enormous fun. We’re so looking forward to bringing the show to a wider audience.”
Phyllis, aged 93, who was one of the original participants whose story was told in Four Score Years And Ten, reacted to news of the new tour: “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am. Getting people together through the local communities is really important. I sat there and heard my past afresh. It was a wonderful experience.”
The Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Jane Rutter, said she was enthralled by the production: “I was so pleased to attend the Four Score Years and Ten performance. It was an immersive experience like no other, and really opened the audience’s eyes to the very different lives those that are now around 90 lived all those years ago. Looking around the room at my fellow participants, it was both entertainment and an education. It would be really good to see the show replicated, so that more people can enjoy the experience. I hope to see more theatre of this nature which chimes with the appetite from audiences to experience, rather than just to watch, a little bit of living history.”