Community workshops

The most recent phase of our Witchfinder project began in June 2021, with the kind support of Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery players.

Due to the restrictions the pandemic had placed on live performance, we had decided to develop Witchfinder as an immersive audio performance, and needed an intergenerational community chorus to join our professional cast in the recording of the show.

Throughout June and July our creative team began worked with members of the local Suffolk community in a series of weekly singing workshops. Due to government guidelines around singing and COVID-19, most of the workshops had to take place online or outside, but this did not seem to deter our community singers from throwing their heart and soul into it!

“Have had a great time in our practice sessions…really interesting and exciting…fascinating to see it all coming together.

Adult chorus member
Rob Gildon leading and adult chorus rehearsal workshop

We were lucky enough to find some budding young performers at the local primary school in Holton St Peter, who had some new sections of Witchfinder written especially for them. Not only did the children develop their singing and performance skills during the workshops, but expanded their knowledge of local history and understanding of the moral and social issues raised.

“I think it’s good because it’s teaching us not to judge people…working as part of a team has been really fun.”

Junior chorus member

Finally, a third series of workshops engaged members of visually impaired theatre group Unscene Suffolk, some of whom had already been involved in developing a 3D soundscape and sound effects for the piece in our previous project Witchfinder Soundworld. Working with singing leader Emma Bishton, a select group of singers enjoyed online and open air workshops leading up to the audio recording.

Members of Unscene Suffolk & guide dogs rehearsing in Christchurch Park, Ipswich

“It was an absolute privilege to be included in such an amazing production, full of such talented actors/singers and musicians. I’m overwhelmed and in awe!”

Member of Unscene Suffolk

Over the course of six weeks, 39 members of the community engaged with our singing workshops. With special thanks to Rob Gildon for use of his garden, Holton St Peter Primary School head Christine Starkl, and other users of Christchurch Park.