Creativity for everyone, everywhere

From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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The Spring’s outreach manager Jemma Corbin is trying to make the arts more accessible to the local community

Since starting as the Beyond the Walls Outreach Manager at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, I have tried to untangle the myth that arts and culture is a stuffy, intellectual world accessible to only an elite few.

Instead, I have worked to provide opportunities that are entertaining, inspiring and uplifting for all because I know, and there are endless studies that agree, that engagement in arts activities can help create happier people and healthier communities.

By taking quality creative opportunities out beyond the walls of our building in Havant and into our community venues and spaces, I want to show people that creativity can happen everywhere – in local libraries or schools, community centres, parks and even in people’s front rooms – and that everyone can take part.

Our most recent Beyond the Walls outreach event, a series of free outdoor performances of Dr Longitude’s Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie, a travelling-circus style family theatre show, was seen by more than 1,000 local residents in two local parks and helped break down some of the walls associated with attending an arts event.

This may have been the first experience of live theatre for many in the audience and it was wonderful to watch the younger children, sitting as close as they could to the front without actually getting on the stage, engaging with the characters in the show and singing along with the songs.

I feel that experiences like this have the potential to inspire ongoing creative engagement.

Indeed most of the people we spoke to during these events told us that they would be keen to discover more that The Spring has on offer.

We hope that some of the families that saw Dr Longitude will join us for our next Beyond the Walls event, Pop-up Flashback.

This delightful one-man show will tour this November to libraries and other community spaces across the borough.

This show, a unique blend of theatre, poetry and giant pop-up books that is perfect for small spaces, is another reminder that creative opportunities

should be accessible to everyone, everywhere, not just a select few.

If you’d like to know more about The Spring’s outreach programme Beyond the Walls or to find out how you can get involved, please contact Outreach Manager Jemma Corbin on 07925 158 089 or email jemmac@thespring.co.uk.