April 2017 – August 2018
The project focused on Newquay’s seafaring heritage, exploring the relationship between the town’s land, the sea and people. Using guided heritage walks, an original play, storytelling, visual art, theatre, music and dance workshops. Blystra Arts worked with school children and young people to create both pieces of visual art and performance.
Each performance piece created was linked together to create a 40-minute storytelling play, which was presented at two venues, Lowender Perran Festival and Treviglas Community College as part of Newquay Art8 and as part of the 2018 Gorseth Festival which took place in Newquay at Hotel Bristol.
The artwork created and photographs taken during the workshops, as well as documents, artefacts and stories collected during the project were made in to an exhibition of work which was displayed at Newquay Heritage Museum and Archive and also visited Newquay Art8, Newquay Fish Festival, and the schools who were involved in the project. This art exhibition will allow even more people – a younger demographic and their families – the chance to experience the heritage explored during the project.
The seafaring heritage of the town was at the heart of the project with an initial guided walk by expert volunteers from Newquay Old Cornwall Society, taking in the Huer’s Hut, the old lifeboat house, the fish cellars and Newquay harbour. The initial session was the basis for the rest of the project and was also the starting point for the writing of the play. The play included many aspects of Newquay’s heritage in the 20th Century – its vibrant pilchard Industry, the big ships using the harbour, WW1 and the Newquay lifeboat disaster of 1917 (2017 was the 100 year anniversary of this event). The play spanned from 1855 to 1945 and used the town’s main seafaring developments as the backdrop to a personal story of the life of a resident, Mary Shepherd who lived in the town during this period.