More than 250 people gathered at Wirksworth’s magnificent celestial amphitheatre, the StarDisc for the Stars and Stories performance on Saturday night – more than we ever imagined at the beginning of our year-long journey.
As part of Wirksworth Festival 2018, we were delighted to welcome so many people to enjoy some of the fruits of this project with Derbyshire Virtual School, which has involved over one hundred young people in care and care leavers as well as families and support workers, Creative Mentors plus professional storyteller, Maria Whatton and astronomer, Nick Spall. Eleven young people were involved in creating ideas and shaping Saturday’s performance– and several of them went on to take part in Altitude – Youth Music and Arts Festival the next day, sharing stories and music again with crowds of young artists from across Derbyshire – what a weekend!
It was fabulous to see so many friends, supporters and family at the StarDisc, enjoying a blend of new and traditional stories, music and movement, local legends including Flora of Grindleford alongside tales of constellations inside our mini planetarium. Special shout out to the young people in the audience who were part of the creative team and to storyteller Christine McMahon, who visited children’s homes across Derbyshire to start this project off and made a special return visit on Saturday. Plus thanks and well done to everyone who wound their way through the woods and up Wirksworth’s steep hills to visit the StarDisc for the first time – we know they’ll be back! When the clouds parted for a moment, a lucky few took the chance to look at the Moon’s craters through a telescope – spectacular to see our closest celestial neighbour up close!
With such a successful event at our backs, we’re excited to discover what happens next for the young participants and will be catching up with them soon to hear what they’d like to do next.
Adverse Camber Producer, Naomi Wilds said:
“It’s always brilliant to see new storytellers taking that first step to share stories with audiences, and I was totally thrilled for Saturday’s storytellers that they completely embraced the challenge – even with so many people watching on! It is quite a feat to perform, outdoors, with no amplification, with hundreds of people’s attention and focus on you, but everyone did brilliantly, hopefully giving a real confidence boost. Hearing the stories again on Sunday, there were new little details being added, they’re seasoned performers now, so I hope there’ll be many more opportunities to hear their perspectives in the future.”
The Stars and Stories project was made possible thanks to a partnership between Derbyshire Virtual School and Adverse Camber, with significant funding from Arts Council England plus Cooperative Community Dividend Fund, the Royal Astronomical Society, Tesco’s Bags of Help, Scopes4SEN, Foundation Derbyshire, Walbrook Trust, William and Griselda Kerr Fund and the National Space Centre.
Photographs courtesy Chris Webb Photography