Made in England is exploring our country through its people and its art. It's a contemporary take on English identity and creativity: the influence of the urban and rural, together with our changing and increasingly diverse population. Made in England will prove that there's something about England that inspires creativity, with a range of ways that people can get involved.
St George's Day, 23rd April 2009, is the best day to celebrate all this work.
Arts Council England and BBC English Regions have joined together to create a series of projects around the country to explore England from a range of different angles.
They'll all be reflected on air through BBC Local Radio, Regional Television, and BBC Local sites.
Events will kick off on 23 April with the first performance of a new anthem. This will take place at St Pancras Station, the culmination of a Betjeman tribute 'Metroland' performance on board a 'dressed' train that will take unsuspecting passengers back in time to quintessential 30s England, as well as transporting them from Luton to St Pancras; the heart of Metroland to the heart of the City.
BBC Radio Berkshire will broadcast a New Ballad of Reading Gaol, written by inmates of Reading prison under the guiding hand of poet John Hegley and participatory drama group Company Paradiso, revealing what England means to them and how their environment has made them the way they are.
Meanwhile in Bristol, Catherine Johnson, writer of hit musical and film Mamma Mia, will be holding a workshop for a young fathers group in collaboration with the Bristol Old Vic. Catherine's new play Suspension is running here and the workshops will cover hard-hitting social issues such as fathers' rights, the difficulties of modern parenting and mental health, all of which are referenced in her play.
St George's Day will also see the launch of Bagging Norfolk, a call out to locals to send in a snapshot - both written and photographed - describing how they spent 23 April 2009. Bagging Norfolk will celebrate the diverse lives and experiences of all Norfolk's residents, with the output being broadcast on regional TV and radio.
On the night of 23 April, Salisbury Cathedral roof will be illuminated with projections of a huge game of 'consequences'. These snippets of re-arranged local stories gathered from Oxford, Salisbury, Weymouth and Brighton. Salisbury has England's tallest spire, so is a physical landmark for miles around, as well as being a historical focus for artistic creativity.
Activities will continue to unfold through the year and the spirit of the project will continue as the BBC and Arts Council England construct new ways of working together.
Made in England was launched on St George's Day last year with a series of television programmes on BBC One. They featured well-known artists from all disciplines embarking on a journey of discovery and creating a new art work that reflected their view of England today. A series of writing commissions celebrating England were made from well-known literary names such as Esther Freud and Beryl Bainbridge.
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