Our Playing Out community project aims to embed the arts and creativity in the Coventry neighbourhood of Canley, and bring people together through a shared experience of making, performing and playing. As an arts centre, we want to be there as a community resource for our most local neighbours, and through this project we get to work closely together with residents and community leaders to make it happen. For that reason it is an absolute joy of a project to work on, and our Steering Group of residents feel like an extension of our team.
So what is happening? The answer is lots, and all collaboratively.
Musician Dave Barrett leads our Canley Samba Band sessions every Monday evening, and artists Pippa Church and Carrie Backhouse are delivering weekly creative sessions on Thursdays and Saturdays to create costumes, puppets and props and think about choreography. All our workshops take place at Canley Community Centre and are free for anyone that wants to join in.
We are leading up to the Canley Parade on Saturday 16 July 2022 where, together as a community, we’ll walk, dance, shimmy and twirl through the streets of Canley to the beat of our samba band. Expect a giant parrot and flock of birds, a large whale and shoal of fish, a moon and stars, and lots of wonderful things dreamt up by Canley residents to wear, wave and wander in. We’ll end the parade with a Creative Fun Day that takes over Prior Deram Park with food, artist workshops and community performances.
Our artists are working in community venues, as well as leading workshops in schools and residential homes. We are also supporting key community events such as Canley Big Lunch on Saturday 18 June 2022, and the Canley Summer Fete on Saturday 9 July 2022. Finally, since December 2021, we have distributed over 600 art packs so people can be creative at home.
The theme for the parade is Dreaming Differently, and comes from conversations with the community around topics such as hope, peace, future, unity, reconciliation and difference. The theme allows us to respond to real topics in our hopes and dreams for ourselves and the world we live in, as well as those in our imagination that might be fantastical or surreal.
Whilst all of these workshops are taking place and the amazing artworks and performances are being created, one of my favourite things to do is spend time with people and listen. To hear stories of growing up in Canley, of moving to the area, the families and friendships that have been built and the ambitions for what comes next.
- Gemma Wright