Tales of a Commonwealth

Platinum Jubilee project

Throughout June 2022 we commemorated the Jubilee and explored what it means to be part of the Commonwealth through conversation, poetry, storytelling, writing and dance.

We had an amazing team of artists from India, Trinidad, South Africa, Scotland and England coming together to create a new blended performance, hold international conversations, workshops and performances with Shropshire children and take poetry to the streets of Much Wenlock.

Tales of a Commonwealth Schools Project

Three primary schools took part in zoom sessions with artists live from Trinidad, India and South Africa. The children found out about cultures in different parts of the Commonwealth, hearing and seeing stories, songs, poetry and dance. They literally opened windows to the world as the artists share their views out of the window with the children and answer their questions.

Each class had a day working in person with a local wordsmith to create their responses to meeting the Commonwealth artists.

Arupa Lahiry
Shivanee N. Ramlochan
Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa

Tales of a Commonwealth was a new blended performance

Six women: Arupa Lahiry, Shivanee N. Ramlochan, Philippa Namutebi KabaliKagwa, Ailsa Dixon, Simone Gilliatt, Amy Douglas.

Six art forms: poetry, spoken word; storytelling; dance; biographical narrative and creative writing.

Six countries: Trinidad, India, South Africa, Uganda, Scotland, England.

Six women artists from the Commonwealth came together from India, Trinidad, South Africa, Uganda, Scotland and England – to create one blended performance.

The piece explored the cultures of our homelands; what the Commonwealth means to us and how the Queen influenced us.

The Queen’s Jubilee was a wonderful opportunity to explore the idea and experience of a female figurehead. All our artists are women, and we talked about female perspectives over the past 70 years and our own experiences as daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, grandmothers and working women.

Ailsa Dixon
Jean Atkin
Amy Douglas
Simone Gilliatt

Throughout June, the artists met to share their experiences and art forms and the importance of the Queen’s Jubilee and the Commonwealth. In these current times of reflection on our shared history, the Commonwealth is a complex and often difficult topic. We were not to know that the Queen would not be with us for much longer,

Together we examined the aims and reality of the Commonwealth, and looked to a future where we examined ways of redistributing money and power – making it a genuine commonwealth, where we share our wealth, knowledge and advantage in common.

What would the final performance be? We didn’t know at the start! But six women and six art forms united into a unique blended event – conversations about our lives and realities weaving in and out with more traditional performance. And we decided to make a film of our work together and then share it with you so you could see it in person in Much Wenlock or can see it online from anywhere – take a look at the video at the top of the page!

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