Come Together: The Lost Letters

The Lost Letters workshop (c) Paul Bellany

Come Together: The Lost Letters is a new community project delivered by Saffron Hall, in partnership with Orchestras Live, bringing together over 50 people from the Saffron Walden area to collaborate with theatre director Rachel Yates, music leader Sam Glazer and members of Britten Sinfonia. The project has built on the success of Saffron Hall’s Music and Dementia programme Together in Sound, and brings participants from this programme together with young people and adult groups from across the community. The original premise for the project of “a sackful of letters – unopened and never delivered – discovered in a disused corner of the sorting officehas unlocked an incredible range of stories from this diverse group of participants. Sometimes poignant, often funny and always inspiring these stories have been bought to life through collaboratively composed songs, movement, film and drama.

“It’s really important for Saffron Hall, a venue deeply connected with its local community, to connect with people from all backgrounds across the local area” says Thomas Hardy, Saffron Hall’s Learning and Engagement Director. Musicians from Saffron Hall’s first resident orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, have long been involved in the hall’s Learning and Participation projects, and in particular Together in Sound, and this project deepens this relationship, something which Thomas sees as particularly important to the hall’s work: “We also want to bring people close to the amazing artists who perform at the hall, and the opportunity to involve musicians from Britten Sinfonia not only as performers but throughout the creative and devising process has added a unique element to this project”.

 

The Lost Letters workshop (c) Paul Bellany

Working with Sam Glazer and the players from Britten Sinfonia has been a first for me. Directing community devised pieces in the past I have mainly worked with composers who have been quite separate to the devising and delivery aspects of the process, often observing sessions and then going away and writing scores and usually recording the soundtrack for the next rehearsal. With The Lost Letters I am having the joy of hearing live music in the room as we devise together, having the musicians’ immediate response and interpretations is wonderful, and being witness at how we as artists with our participants can compose together has been fabulous. I can feel the excitement and wonder in the room, as participants hear their words and ideas come to life musically – it’s very special. Devising and composing together with our community is such a valuable opportunity for everyone involved.

 

Rachel Yates, Creative Producer at Chickenshed theatre company

 

A sharing will take place in Saffron Hall later in July.

The Lost Letters is a Saffron Hall project delivered in partnership with Orchestras Live and in association with Anglia Ruskin University, Britten Sinfonia, Creative Walden, Fairycroft House, Mind in West Essex, Essex County Council and Uttlesford District Council.