The Roses Theatre awarded Heritage Lottery funding

The Hospital Roses Theatre

The Hospital Roses Theatre - Credit: Archant

The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury has received £26,900 grant following a successful bid to The Heritage Lottery Fund. The sum has been awarded in support of a six month project culminating in a performance which will see the stories of Tewkesbury’s Community Hospital during World War 1 brought to life by The Roses’ young performers and community members in April.

For four unique performances, The Roses Theatre will be transformed into Tewkesbury Hospital during World War 1 where real stories will be retold through song, dance and drama. This site-specific immersive performance will allow audience members to become part of the action, journeying through the theatre to witness different scenes. Heritage Lottery funds will be used to employ a Musical Director, Designer, Lighting Designer, Director and Stage Manager, providing the young performers with the valuable opportunity to work with industry professionals to create a full-scale production featuring professionally designed costumes and props.

The stories explored by the performance will be the product of extensive research, reflection and reminiscence by the entire community. The project will engage young people in the market town’s heritage through research, mentoring and creative reinterpretation, using archived stories from the hospital during the period of 1914-1918 to develop a greater understanding of the role that Tewkesbury Hospital played in the town’s history during World War One. The Heritage Lottery grant will fund the recruitment of a Researcher, appointed to study the archives held by both Tewkesbury Hospital and Tewkesbury Museum. Funds will also support the training of 5 volunteer researchers who will use the archives held by the hospital’s League of Friends to identify key stories. These will be augmented by community gathering days and reminiscence sessions at Severn Vale Housing across the community.

The Roses has also been working alongside Bristol based digital innovation company Stand And Stare. Having worked closely with The Roses in the past, Stand And Stare have been commissioned by the league of friends at Tewkesbury Hospital to create a theatre jukebox to celebrate the redevelopment of the market town’s hospital and using archive material and interview footage from local residents, will compile a bank of memories, experiences and testimonials about people’s experiences and encounters with Tewkesbury Hospital over a number of years.

The material will accumulate in a theatre jukebox exhibition; a digital experience where exhibition users listen to audio clips through a set of headphones, while looking at a range of static and video imagery which accompanies each clip.

This is not the first collaboration between The Roses and Tewkesbury Hospital. A recent project saw the theatre offer young children from four local primary schools the opportunity to select and commission an artist to create a unique piece of artwork to brighten up the children’s waiting room of the hospital. Having selected the artist Imogen Harvey Lewis, the mural will be completed and unveiled later this year.

The success of the Heritage Lottery Fund application recognises The Roses as an organisation worth investment and is a testament to the effort already being made by the theatre to support young people and foster creative development across Gloucestershire. The Heritage Lottery grant will allow The Roses to extend its outreach work, delivering five rural workshops in the surrounding villages to involve the wider community in the performance.

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For more information about The Hospital or to buy tickets visit www.rosestheatre.org, telephone 01684 29507 or email Sarah Blowers on tpdirector1@rosestheatre.org