Come Together: The Lost Letters

Come Together: The Lost Letters was an intergenerational community project designed to give diverse groups of people in Saffron Walden the opportunity to work creatively together - sharing learning, forging new relationships, and becoming performing partners.

What we wanted to achieve

The pilot project was designed to bring different generations and communities together to celebrate their differences, commonalities and everything in between. The aim was to give a voice to untold stories and enable people to speak out about what matters to them, through art. In so doing the project sought to improve cross-age and peer-to-peer relationships, understanding, respect and wellbeing through self-expression in a safe and inspiring environment.

The project has taught me I can participate in group activities and rest in between. It has taught me my life isn't over living with my illness.

~ Participant feedback

What happened

Involving many participants who had not experienced a creative workshop environment before, the project invited individuals to first correspond with each other by writing letters. This simple but effective activity built relationships and trust between participants as they swapped memories and shared their writing, before coming together to build on these initial ideas in performance workshops as a larger group, working alongside professional theatre and music practitioners over a period of 10 weeks.

A group of women on stage with a cellist sat behind

Come Together: The Lost Letters with Britten Sinfonia and Saffron Hall

Credit: Roger King

From a personal point of view, I always had confidence that we would achieve an excellent artistic outcome. What was more unexpected though was the depth of impact on areas of participants' lives.

~ Thomas Hardy, Learning and Participation Director at Saffron Hall

Outcomes

  • A disparate collection of community groups and individuals came together as a company to create and perform a piece of original music theatre.
  • The collaboration between the artistic team represented a new way of working for some of the practitioners.
  • The project built on previous strands of learning activity at Saffron Hall and forged new links between the venue and the wider community.

Future Plans

It is likely the intergenerational work will continue with a further project in which the company is reassembled and broadened to encompass new people, again working in partnership with orchestral musicians and artistic leaders.

Partners

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