Locomotion welcomes a new performing arts project

MORE than a hundred school children and groups from across the region visited Locomotion in Shildon to take part in a new community arts project called ‘Our Line Connections’.

The project celebrates the shared bonds in the community and involves artists and groups who live along the Bishop Line route, co-creating a collection of songs and original artwork.

Organized by arts organization Luxi with the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership and supported by the National Lottery’s Jubilee Community Fund, the event at Locomotion saw the unveiling of the songbook and gave schools the chance to hear all songs performed together for the first time.

Over a hundred children from Byerley Park Primary School, Victoria Lane Academy and St Andrew’s Primary School took part in the event, alongside representatives from Greenfield Arts and general museum visitors .

The day started with morning rehearsals, before lunch and a visit to the museum, culminating in a collective performance of all the songs in the afternoon.

Caroline Pearce, co-architect of the project and creative director of Luxi, said: “Our Line was born from a common fascination for the interaction between theater and trains, between experiencing something entertaining while moving, and how subject and experience influence each other.

“The theater on a train we created was a real fulfilling moment for us at Luxi and for the team at Bishop Line and Northern at the time, in 2018. And it led to some deep and beautiful conversations and connections to audiences, participants and communities .

“The opportunity to create a project around this experience became really compelling and after two years of regular meetings, the main partners found more and more people who wanted to support the work, with funders and partners all appreciating the value of human relationships and stories.

“Working with what is now a large team of specialists, Our Line Connections has become a program of activities which we hope will continue to improve and enable more and more people to understand how to involve and the interest in doing so.”

Our Line Connections builds on the previous project “Our Line”, which was an audio piece streamed online during the pandemic.

Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion, said: “Locomotion is proud to play a part in supporting arts projects such as Our Line Connections which celebrate the role the railways play in bringing the local community together and we will continue to organize a packed program of events and activities as a means of promoting the arts in the region.

Locomotion has recently hosted a number of community arts projects, including Opera North’s community opera, ‘Song of our Heartland’, which was performed online due to pandemic restrictions. The museum has also worked with New Writing North and the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership encouraging children and young people to produce creative ‘journey’ themed writing as part of the Creative Journeys project.

Our Line & Our Line Connections are projects of Luxi in conjunction with Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership & Northern, supported by Arts Council England, Cross Country Trains, County Durham Community Foundation, Durham County Council, Greenfield Arts, Locomotion & the National Lottery Jubilee Community fund.

The Bishop Line runs from Bishop Auckland to Darlington and comprises part of the original route of the historically significant Stockton and Darlington Railway which celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2025.

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