Everything There Ever Was brought a magical, large-scale, participatory performance to Crimdon Dene, featuring songs, theatre, a live band and a huge community cast for hundreds of local people.

Our first commissioning strand of ‘This Place We Call Home’ was called Everything There Ever Was. On Saturday 25th August , the beautiful nature reserve of Crimdon Dene came alive with performance and song and attracted over 500 people, most of whom were local. It was a large outdoor event that told the story of the past, present and future of the Dene, and the many different communities for whom it has been – and ceased to be – home.  Starting at the top of the hill next to the car park, the audience encounters a family who are about to move away from the area and the magical Watchers by the Sea choir. The crowds then followed the Trimdon Colliery band, the choir and the actors down into the sheltered area of Crimdon Dene where there was a performance about a family appreciating their roots here in East Durham. This was followed by the world premiere of the original songs written for the commission all based on local people’s memories of holidays at Crimdon Dene. The songs were performed by the Everything There Ever Was choir which included members of the local community, some of which had been rehearsing regularly over the summer and some of whom only joined on the day. The audience of mainly families, thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, and a free picnic was handed out part way through the event.

There was lots of great feedback from participants  saying that the day was magical and the event definitely evoked a feel good factor. The audience and the weather was amazing which really helped everyone’s experience. There were three yurts which had small exhibitions about Crimdon’s past, present and future in them, and people were asked to comment on what they would like to  see there in the future. There is a short film of the event here:

EVERYTHING THERE EVER WAS, was been commissioned by East Durham Creates, as part of the ‘This Place We Call Home’ three-cycle commissioning process 2018-2020. This commission was made possible by the support of the Durham Heritage Coast.


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Who are ‘That There’?

That There are the performance group that produced this exciting commission Everything There Ever Was in East Durham. The group includes the following artists:

Unfolding Theatre makes big-hearted theatre that delights in bringing people together. Described as “thrillingly talented people” (Guardian), it has a track record of delivering award-winning, large-scale participation projects and performances. Recent projects include Putting The Band Back Together (Winner: Performance of the Year, Journal Culture Awards 2017). Made with Sunderland musician, Ross Millard, 50+ people across Sunderland contributed to the creative process, and it has since toured across the UK, reaching 3,291 audiences, with 419 people playing in its house bands.

Daniel Bye and Boff Whalley collaborate to write large-scale participatory ‘choral projects’ which place participation, enjoyment and group singing at the heart of each event. Recent projects: We’re Here brought together 50 singers from cities across Britain to sing about the challenges and joys of living alongside strangers in urban environments; Wonderstruck saw five choirs singing about their city and its place in the universe from the standpoint of the various galleries in Manchester Museum.

Boff was part of the 2016 Sea: Coal project with Durham Heritage Coast and Hartlepool Folk Festival. He was a founder member of Chumbawamba and now runs Commoners Choir. Dan’s award-winning, internationally touring work centres on dialogue between place and community, particularly in work such as Story Hunt and Tiny Heroes.

Beccy Owen is a songwriter and musical director based in the North East, with twenty years of experience in creating and facilitating creative community projects, including group singing experiences for all ages, backgrounds and group size – from 3 people in a disused Submarine Cave to
5,000 children in a football stadium. She has developed projects as a writer, performer and arranger for arts and education organisations across the UK, including Sing The Living (2015), a celebration in song, featuring over 200 singers.

Designer Bethan Maddocks is an artist who works with communities to collect stories and make socially engaged, site-specific artwork. Often working with light, paper, fabric and found objects she creates interactive, tactile sculpture and installations. Narratives gathered through conversation and collaborative making are transformed into magical, transformative artwork.

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