Barbican Theatre is delighted to announce that they have secured £19,720 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to work in partnership with Plymouth City Council’s Arts and Heritage service on an exciting project, giving audiences a completely new perspective on the Elizabethan House on the Barbican.
A Blast from the Past; and Back Again is a project that will enable emerging artists from the local community to use their theatre expertise to illuminate one of Plymouth’s oldest and most captivating buildings. From the magnitude of global exploration to the intimacy of the family kitchen, A Blast from the Past; and Back Again promises a vision of Plymouth as you’ve never seen it before. The Barbican Theatre continue their long tradition of supporting young people into the profession, by employing a trainee Young Producer and a Young Writer to work on the project alongside the professional team.
The Elizabethan House at 32 New Street, The Barbican, was built in the late 1500s for a merchant and his family, when Plymouth was prospering thanks to the exploits of sea captains, fishermen and those whose livelihoods were based around the harbour. Later, during the 1800s, the area became poor and overcrowded, with many of its occupants dying of diseases such as smallpox, diptheria and scarlet fever.
Along with 18 other areas of Plymouth, New Street was identified for slum clearance in the early 1900s. The Elizabethan House was eventually saved from demolition thanks to the efforts of local MPs and the Old Plymouth Society and was opened as a museum in 1930.
Young people involved will explore local archives and newspaper collections and take part in a walking tour of the Barbican area to research the sources of inspiration for their performances. Their findings will be used to create a digital legacy of the area’s heritage.
Commenting on the award, Sheila Snellgrove, Barbican Theatre’s Company Director, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to work with the Arts and Heritage Service on a creative project for the first time. As well as testing out new ways of working and exploring how history can be explained and interpreted this project is also supporting emerging artists as they learn new skills that will help them create future careers.”
Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Peter Smith, said: “As one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city, the Elizabethan House has a fascinating story to tell. It’s going to be wonderful to see how this project opens audiences eyes and brings a number of different aspects of its heritage to life.”
Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “Plymouth has a rich heritage with links to famous faces including Pocahontas and Catharine of Aragon. As one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city, Elizabethan House holds many heritage stories which are yet to be told. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we’re pleased to support this creative and immersive project which will enable young people especially to explore this heritage and share it with their local community via the stage and a digital legacy.”
Pictured: Cllr Peter Smith Celebrates HLF Funding with the team from Barbican Theatre and Plymouth City Council Arts & Heritage Service at the Elizabethan House.
Top, left to right: Cllr Pete Smith; Sheila Snellgrove, Project Manager; Sara Norrish (Plymouth City Council Arts & Heritage Service), Project Director. Middle, left to right: Jon Nash, Writer; Jacqueline Slade, Costumer Designer; Mark Laville, Artistic Director. Bottom, left to right: Zoe Bloss, Young Trainee Producer; Jo Cookney (Fotonow), Digital Legacy Facilitator; Tim Mills (Plymouth City Council Arts & Heritage Service), Project Coordinator – History Festival. Photo credit: Gemma Ward