It’s been just over a month since I arrived in St Helens joining the Heart of Glass team as Lead Producer and what a month it has been! I’ve met such a range of warm and passionate St Heleners and already learnt so much about the history of the borough and what makes it the place it is today – I know I’ve barely scratched the surface!
I was so excited when I learned late last year that I would be joining the Heart of Glass team. The thinking behind the programme around engaging communities to make inspirational art for, with and about the town and its people is right up my street. I’ve come from a background of working with artists in a range of different ways but what has always been at the heart of that has been communities and the journey of people that would not always think of art as for them taking part and experiencing something new.
So it has been fantastic this month to meet so many people from St Helens from rugby coaches to artists, school teachers to stand up comedians, choir singers to council leaders, that share the same interests and have so much to tell me about the borough, its past and what they think its future holds.
On top of that I’ve met so many great artists who have come to visit on invitation of Heart of Glass to explore the borough and find inspiration for making new work – of which there is plenty to find, particularly when you start to talk to passionate locals about the industrial heritage of the town, its sporting excellence and aspirations for the future.
There are many things I am excited about over the coming months, the newly formed Arts and Heritage group and Disability Arts group coming together to plan and develop new artist commissions, the launch of Your Name Here with Joshua Sofaer that will see people from all of the borough get creative, and heading to the Playhouse with a gang of rugby referees to see a play about Gareth Thomas – this will be part of my on-going Rugby education!
The borough is not short of ideas and I look forward to seeing where it takes us on this exciting Heart of Glass exploration of St Helens. A big thanks to everyone who’s given me such a warm welcome so far.
Kat Dempsey, Lead Producer