Exploring creativity with families at Colchester’s Women’s Refuge

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This August, Mercury Theatre’s Make It team worked with women and young people using the services of Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuge. The work was funded by Essex Youth Trust and offered families a chance to come together and explore their creativity in the summer holidays.

Families had the opportunity to come to the theatre and watch our summer show Babe, The Sheep-Pig, which was a big hit.

At the Refuge, families worked with a range of arts practitioners over 6 days and were supported by Refuge staff and our Youth Assistants, Andra, Fabiana and Forest.

Youth Assistants Forest and Fabiana show off an imaginative creation

Families started by playing drama games to help everyone get to know one another. Then the young people joined dancer Charlotte Haddon for some fun and engaging movement work, which got them working well as a team.

The women stayed with practitioner Natalie Songer to explore the places they have been in the world and dream about where they would like to go in the future. They also explored music, making a playlist of the music they used to listen to when they were young. Great fun was had laughing about all the old songs we used to dance to at school discos.

On Thursday, everyone came together to tackle the challenge of learning a choreographed dance, led by dancer Emily Jade Box. Everyone really enjoyed supporting one another to learn something new and the teenagers showed great promise as future mentors and teachers as they guided the younger children.

In the second week, families focused on working together, making maps of the world and populating them with handmade signposts and plasticine animals. Rebecca Hall, Schools & Learning Producer, helped the young people write their own stories about the world and what they would like to see in it. Over the course of the week the young people really developed their confidence and seized the opportunity to be creative.

The final day focused on preparing food and decorations for the end of project party. Families made bunting reflecting their personalities and dreams for the future, and young people decorated cakes for all to enjoy. The families gave wholly positive feedback on the activities and really enjoyed the opportunity to come together, laugh and play games.

Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuge provide a vital service to women and children who have suffered from domestic abuse. They are grateful for any financial or material donations that can be made. If you would like to donate please visit their website for further information on what they currently need.


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