From Giant lizards whose tummies can store 18 children to dazzling circus acts. From interactive re-tellings of Hansel and Gretel to wandering giant Neanderthals in search of home: Shepton Mallet is getting ready to host a curious range of fantastic acts and performers this March.
The Festival entitled All the World’s Our Playground is a collaboration between Bowlish Infant School, Make the Sunshine CiC and five partner primary schools in Shepton Mallet St Paul’s, Shepton Mallet Infant School, St Aldhelm’s, Croscombe and Stoke St Michael – as well as a huge range of talented artists and theatre-makers. And it is all about letting children’s creativity and imagination take over the town. The festival acts have been chosen and designed by a student programming panel as well as through a vote on election day in December where nearly 1,000 children took to the polls.
As well as professional companies taking to various stages around Shepton Mallet over 900 children have worked together to create a community performance. The show, which will be performed on Friday 6th March at St Paul’s school, will feature nearly 300 students performing a story they have created about a young girl from Shepton Mallet called Rosie. Rosie travels to many different worlds and lands – journeying under the sea to meet some miraculous jellyfish, travelling to a planet which is facing a climate emergency, to a magical circus in the sky and to an island where stories come to life. The story is created using the words of over 900 students – every student in each school got to play a part in creating it, and as well as being huge amounts of fun, the show also shares lots of the thoughts and experiences of younger people in Shepton, their concerns about the wider world and what they really value about home.
To create the performance students have been lucky enough to work with an incredible range of storytellers, performers, shadow puppetry specialists and makers. Louise Lappin-Cook who runs Make the Sunshine CiC, and is working with the schools to organise the project, said “we’ve been so lucky with the huge range of talented artists who have been part of this programme. The students have seen some incredible theatre and gained advice and insights from Martha King who specialises in making shadow puppetry animation, from Emma Hill who run’s Shepton’s amazing Chapel Dance studio, David Reakes a storyteller from Glastonbury and dozens of other local and regional artists and performers.”
Thanks to support from The Arts Council, Wells Festival of Literature, Literature Works and the support of partnering organisations all events will be provided free of charge. Tickets can be booked by visiting www.makethesunshine.co.uk and can be found on Eventbrite where you can also find a full programme of events for the day.
There are some fantastic performances on the programme. There will be a revolving range of shows from Higher Beings circus and from Emerald Ant CiC who bring Horace the Pilosaur from the Jurassic coast. PaddleBoat Theatre will be running a free interactive theatre show of Hansel and Gretel which they performed to sell-out audiences in Exeter this Christmas. Festival regulars Noisy Oyster who tour internationally but are based in Frome will perform walkabout theatre and also a marionette circus show and Somerset-based Wassail will be hosting some interactive walkabout theatre. There will also be games and stalls which visitors can enjoy while perusing Shepton’s busy high-street with lots of beautiful cafes and vintage stores.
From 6pm Window Wanderland will take over the town where Shepton’s windows will be lit up and illuminated and turned into a nighttime gallery. The Anglo Trading Estate, St Paul’s school and many other local organisations will be participating (more information below).
Window Wanderland Shepton Mallet
5-8th March 2020 6pm-9pm
Also running the same weekend in Shepton Mallet is Window Wanderland (which takes place from the 5th – 9th March) led by The Art Bank, The Rubbish Art Project and Make the Sunshine CiC. Shops, cafes and houses will light up their windows with decorations and displays creating a magical nigh time gallery. There will also be several key iconic buildings lit up including The Anglo Trading Estate Building which will be illuminated with iconic Shepton Mallet figures in the windows. St Paul’s School will light up all their windows and The Art Bank, Library, Haskins and Tescos will all feature illuminated displays – as well as lots of high street shops and local houses. Windows will be illuminated from 6-9pm and anyone in the area can register to take part. If you are visiting you can download a special map of windows in the area. To register of find out more visit https://www.windowwanderland.com/event/shepton-mallet-2020/
Window Wanderland is supported by Somerset County Council Improving Lives Fund, Wells Festival of Literature and Mendip District Council