Follow the Diversion by Faceless Arts Bev photo by Amanda Crowther

I am fortunate that much of my job is about meeting and talking to people. It is about listening to people’s stories – what they enjoy doing, what they like about where they live and what they remember about the past.

In my day to day work, these conversations happen with people of all ages, all over Yorkshire. You see, it is my job to take these stories and work with communities to interpret them into community performances. I am a community drama practitioner and I work alongside fellow artists who are visual arts or music practitioners for an arts charity called Faceless Arts. The communities we work with form an important part of our team too. We believe everyone has the ability to be creative, that creativity can happen everywhere and that art helps you to feel better.

This summer I am working on a project called Follow the Diversion with four communities in the East Riding. We will work with each community for 5 days and on day 6 will present a new community play based on their stories and memories.

Follow the Diversion is about the sometimes bypassed, communities along the M62, nestled under flyovers and bridges and clustered in the shadows of power stations. Using the metaphor of children’s play, and oversized building blocks as our set and props, Follow the Diversion explores poignant memories, community identity and the importance of taking the time to stop and see what may be around you. Each Follow the Diversion performance starts with a commuter being diverted from the M62 who, after complaining that “there is nothing here”, is drawn by the participating community cast into a retelling of their collected stories and shared reminiscences of older people. As the commuter forgets their commute, we too, as audience, are taken on a colourful diversion of discovery into childhood games, rural pass-times, industrial heritage, war time reminiscences and modern day celebrations.

Follow the Diversion aims to highlight the participating communities on our own reimagined map whilst redefining outdoor public spaces for social and cultural gathering and complementing, or creating new, local events. Parks, town centres, galas and social club grounds are our venues and local people aged 8+ are our storytellers, performers, participants and audiences. In each community, we create a mini outdoor event with family arts workshops in SPACE TO CREATE – our pop up creative activity dome, professional performances of our gentle giant HERON and a community performance of FOLLOW THE DIVERSION.

Making use of a strategic touring grant from Arts Council England, Faceless Arts’ are happily diverted from the M62, taking the time to stop and listen, create and celebrate the beauty and history of four sometimes isolated, often overlooked villages and towns. The project begins in Brough on 4th August, travels to Old Goole, Howden and completes at Snaith and Cowick Heritage Day . There is still time to sign up and participate, so, If you are aged 8+ and fancy being diverted this summer, please contact Bev Adams or Charlie Wells at Faceless Arts on 01924 335985 email arts@facelessco.com

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