One of the principle aims of the Heaven on Earth project is to work with Plymouth’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered communities, in partnership with Pride in Plymouth, to generate movement and narrative sequences which will form part of the film project. Whilst the film is being inspired by the work of Jean Genet, the additional intention is for this sequence is for it to represent the kind of powerful stories and memories that were unearthed as part of the Pride in Our Past project (2011 /12) and is now held as part of the Plymouth LGBT Archive.
To begin this process, two workshops were held in December. The first took place on the 2nd December for those members of the LGBTQ community which identify as men and the second on 9th December for those who identify as women.
Each workshop lasted two hours in total and introduced participants to a gentle, inclusive and playful approach to working creatively together through movement and gesture. Some of those in attendance had previously volunteered to share their stories for the archive project while others had not. Either way the process drew on techniques from physical theatre, somatic movement practice and dance to discover something about who they were as people and how they felt about their lives in the city.
Participants in both workshops have shared how surprised they were at the speed in which a connection was formed, between all those taking place, and also how quickly a supportive space for honest expression of their stories was created.
Both workshops were led by Claire Summers, who is the Artistic Director of Exim Dance, and Ruth Way who is a dance artist and film-maker and also Senior Lecturer in Theatre & Performance at Plymouth University and the participants will be invited back to a further workshop later this month.
Here is a selection of photos from the workshops held so far: