Director Kath Burlinson
Sturminster's new lease of life
A new arts centre is breathing new life in to the North Dorset town as 130 local performers took to the stage in 'Exchange and Market', Sturminster Newton's community extravaganza.
“Sturminster Newton is like a phoenix rising from the ashes.”
So says Nichola Motley, one of the organisers of Sturminster’s community show, Exchange and Market.
The North Dorset town is starting to recover from ten years of difficulty, since the closure of its weekly cattle market and world-famous creamery.
Now, where the market place stood empty for so long, is a new heart to the town – the Exchange.
Stour Hall at the Exchange
This new community centre was a fitting place to host Sturminster Newton’s new community performance.
Over 130 people were involved in the show, including children from Yewstock Special School, the Womens’ Institute and a local Polish composer.
Each group made a unique contribution. The Museum Society wrote a ghost story, students from Sturminster High School devised a comedy sketch and there was locally produced food served at a party after the show.
One of the aims was to build relationships between different members of the community. School children interviewed elderly people from the Silver Threads Club. Extracts of these interviews were put to music for the children to create dance pieces for the show.
Members of the Sturminster Newton Amateur Dramatics Society, or SNADS, created separate pieces for the show, as did the Women’s Institute.
Director Kath Burlinson said, “What we’ve got is a really good and diverse programme involving drama, dancing and singing. We’ve got lots of young people involved, loads of different community groups represented and we’re going to have a really good show.”
Sturminster Newton Mill
The performance was produced by Opera Circus, a Bridport-based theatre production company.
Opera Circus worked with the different groups to help them devise their pieces for the show and to improve their performance skills.
Nichola Motley explained, “It has been quite a privilege for us at Opera Circus to get to know Stur at this exciting period in its evolution.
“After many years of difficulty, I think the Exchange represents real hope and new life in Stur.
“The groups are very pro-active and there’s now a thriving centre for them to meet. The town feels a much a more vibrant and solid place than it has over recent years.”
The community took to the stage on Saturday 24 November at Sturminster Newton’s new Exchange.
last updated: 12/12/2007 at 16:15
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