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  • Arts-Engagement-And-Outreach-November-2023

Arts Engagement & Outreach: November 2023

posted 19 Dec 2023
Arts Engagement & Outreach: November 2023

Our Arts Engagement & Outreach team develop and deliver programmes and activities that benefit health and wellbeing, enrich learning and education in and outside school, inspire and celebrate talent. Creating work that will support local artists and tell “local stories”. In everything we do and programme we will seek to improve inclusion and remove barriers, whatever they may be, so that everyone is able to enjoy and benefit from the creative arts.

Our Arts Engagement & Outreach team look to provide more opportunities for our communities to watch, take part and benefit from arts and cultural activities where they live.

BSO Workshop at St Gildas

Throughout November the team have been busy developing and launching our programme delivery with activity taking place across Somerset, read more below…

Arts for Health & Wellbeing

We are pleased to announce that The Octagon & Westlands have been successful in receiving funding from Parkinson’s UK for our Parkinson’s Dance project we’ll be delivering in Langport in partnership with Somerset NHS Foundation Trust in the new year. We’ve been awarded a grant of £2,700 to support us in funding a 10-week pilot project as part of our Arts for Health & Wellbeing programme. Parkinson’s Dance is a creative dance and movement class that is specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s Disease. Sessions will take place in Langport at Ridgway Hall, on Mondays at 10 – 11:30am starting in January 2024. For more information, please see Parkinson's Dance (westlandsyeovil.co.uk)

Parkinson's Dance session

Creative Learning & Education

This month we welcomed critically acclaimed, Wise Children Theatre Company, to share their creative knowledge and tools to create theatre! A twilight CPD training session was hosted at Stanchester School, in Stoke Sub Hamdon, on Monday 20 November. The opportunity attracted a mix of teachers from our partner schools, drama teachers and theatre practitioners including participants from Warminster, Dartmouth and Thailand! “The workshop included great people, creativity, and inspiring activities.  The work will support my teaching and devising with my year 9 and 10’s and support the work with our school drama club.” Dan Morgan – Head of Performing Arts at Stanchester School.

Our creative partnership with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) saw the team deliver interactive music workshops in St Gildas (Yeovil), Oaklands (Yeovil), Manor Court (Chard), and Wincanton Primary Schools. Children were able to listen and watch two musicians play the violin and bassoon live in their school. For many children who had never heard live classical music before the experience was mesmerising. The students created their very own song and produced lyrics and sounds with various instruments. The 240 KS1 children and their teachers will continue working with the BSO, in a programme of workshops and teacher CPD, to inform and inspire ahead of a BSO’s School’s Concert at Westlands Entertainment Venue in April 2024.

BSO School Workshop at Oaklands

Talent Development

This month we delivered our event, Inside Creative Careers, an opportunity for 60 students aged 11–14 from Holyrood Academy, Stanchester Academy, Preston School and Westfield Academy to learn about a range of roles involved in working within the creative industries.  This event was part of the national Discover! Creative Careers initiative and designed to inspire awareness of different creative jobs.  Teachers, students and Westlands staff alike were thrilled with how well the day went. “Collaborative”, “extraordinary” “imaginative” and “all-encompassing” were just some of the quotes from the day.

Inside Creative Careers Event - Tech Workshop

Artist Support

This autumn we held one-to-one mentoring sessions with 17 independent creatives from Somerset, offering them bespoke support & advice on different areas of their practice. We offered in-kind access to our studio space for the development of two new projects that will benefit Somerset residents in the future. We also received a total of 17 applications for our inaugural Creative Commissions programme, through which we will be able to support six creative projects for professional creatives and companies working in a mix of artforms to develop innovative ideas that reach and engage Somerset’s residents.

CPD Training with Practitioners & Teachers by Wise Children

Octagon Academy: Participate

We have received funding from Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP), towards our Christmas holiday activity offer this season.Working with our new Octagon Junior Choir leader Julie Bartlett, and the associate choreographer for this year’s pantomime, Cinderella, James Bamford, we are running a panto musical theatre workshop for 7–12-year-olds.The additional funding will mean that 20 disadvantaged young people, in receipt of Free School Meals (FSM), will have the opportunity to take part completely free of charge. The workshop is a full day activity, with a hot meal provided and will give participants the opportunity to learn new singing and dance techniques whilst exploring the fun of pantomime.

Musical Theatre Dance Workshop

Octagon Academy: Weekly Classes

The Octagon Academy is an umbrella for all the participation classes that we run at Westlands Entertainment Venue. To launch the Octagon Junior Choir, starting in January, we’ve been into 7 local primary schools running singing assemblies and promoting the new choir to over 1,000 young people. The workshops got pupils singing together, learning new warm up exercises, songs, harmonies and sign language. Schools visited included Avishayes & Manor Court in Chard, Holy Trinity in Yeovil, South Petherton, Chilthorne Domer, Queen Camel and North Cadbury primary schools.

Working in partnership with Armonico Consort, a critically acclaimed choir and instrumental ensemble, the new choir is aimed at anyone aged 7–12 and is fully inclusive. The young people will work with a professional choir leader and pianist and learn different genres of music and have many opportunities to perform both at Westlands Entertainment Venue, Yeovil and further afield.

For more information on our Octagon Junior Choir, click here.

Octagon Junior Choir

To keep up to date with all the activities coming up head over to the What’s On section on our website or check out our Participate page which will link you to all our projects and upcoming opportunities.


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