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Rising Waters

A Community Project and Play for the Chew Valley

Sat 13 & Sun 14 July 2024

Valley Arts and creating a brand-new community project and play for the Chew Valley, inspired by the history, folklore and living experiences of people who live in the area.

If you would like to get involved backstage on the project as a musician, stage manager, technician or a lighting/sound designer – please email us at Rising.Waters@valleyartscentre.co.uk

Writing Competition for the Chew Valley!

Want to take part but don’t fancy getting up on stage? Valley Arts is launching a unique writing competition running in tandem with their brand-new community play, ‘Rising Waters’.

How can I get involved?

Submit your writing by choosing a category (no longer than 2 sides of A4):

  • Poems and Poetic writing inspired by the theme of water.
  • Fictional pieces about a village drowned under a lake.
  • Imagined folks tales composed for the Chew Valley.
  • Dramatic monologues spoken by a character who remembers  something about the Valley.

Can I submit more than once?
You can write for 1 or more categories and submit as many times as you wish. Inspirational materials for writing can be found on our website: www.valleyartscentre.co.uk/risingwaters

There are three age groups, 1 winner will be selected from each:

  • 0-11 years
  • 12-18 years
  • 18+ years

What will happen next?
All writing submissions will be incorporated into the
final performance on 13th and 14th July at Yeo Valley Organic Gardens. Winning submissions will also be published on our website.

What do I get if I win?
Winners will receive a ‘Rising Waters’ certificate and a Valley Arts Theatre Pass 2024, which includes 4 free tickets to Valley Arts shows of your choice. Your work is also be published on the Valley Arts website.

How long do I have to apply?
The last day for submissions is Friday 24th May 2024.

Entries should be emailed to: rising.waters@valleyartscentre.co.uk

Or by post to:
Chew Valley Performing Arts
Rockwell House, Regil
BS40 8BD

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”
Loren Eiseley

Key Dates

Casting Workshop – Get a part in the play!
Tue 7 May 6.30 – 8.30pm
Bishop Sutton Village Hall

Every Tue and Thu evening plus
two Sats between 7 May – 12 Jul 2024

You don’t have to attend every rehearsal  and if you’re unavailable for our writing workshops, you can still take part in the play.

Meet the Rising Water team

Kate McGregor

Kate lives in the Chew Valley and is the Creative Producer for Valley Arts. She is an award winning director, writer and producer.

Kate shares what inspired the concept for Rising Waters.
“The title of Rising Waters was inspired by the importance of Chew Valley Lake and the Chew River and the impact it has on our lives. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world but also in an area that very often sees the challenges of rising waters in the form of floods, road closures and school shutdowns. If we listen, what is the river trying to tell us? And what can we learn from nature as we look towards the future?”

Why should I get involved in ‘Rising Waters’?
“I was involved in a community play when I left university. It’s completely changed my life. I met so many new people and learnt a lot of new skills too. There’s nothing like the feeling of being involved in a really exciting creative project within your community. The memories I created then, will last a lifetime and I know this project will be the same. ‘Rising Waters’ is a fantastic, uplifting opportunity for local people and fun for everyone, regardless of age, experience or background. I urge people to take the leap into the unknown and become a part of this amazing ‘Rising Waters’ journey!”

Toby Hulse

Toby is a Bristol based playwright, director and creative practitioner who trained at the Bristol Old Vic. Toby will be writing the script for Rising Waters.

Toby shares what storytelling aspects he will bring to the project.
“A good story is at the heart of any theatrical performance. We might create an impressive spectacle but a theatrical story speaks to the experiences of everyone in the audience. At the end of any good play, I believe that the audience should be thinking ‘Of course that’s what happened, but I had no idea how we were going to get there!”

Are there any challenges with putting on a large scale project?
“The principal challenge is the sheer volume and richness of the stories available to us. The valley has such a long and interesting history, and comprises so many different communities, that you could create a hundred plays, and still have material for more! The skill is in finding one key story that respects the wealth of these sources, explores a vital idea, and doesn’t get overwhelmed by how much material is available to us.”

Emma Earle

Emma lives locally and is co-directing Rising Waters. She has worked in theatre, film, education and community arts for the past 20 years, as a director, producer and teacher.

Emma talks about why she was drawn to work on Rising Waters.
“This is an exciting opportunity for local people of all ages to work together on an original piece of theatre, supported by a team of professional artists. We’re hoping to create a vibrant new community of performers, musicians, designers and technicians in order to breathe new life into old stories, make discoveries about the area in which we live, and ask questions about the role water plays in all our lives.”

What are your hopes for the project?
“We’re hoping for a great response to the project with lots of people signing up to be involved. When we create a show, we create a mini society and that mini society then gets to share their endeavors with public audiences. The creative process is a journey of discovery. People will learn new things, meet new people and make lasting friendships. We’d love to see people of all ages getting stuck in, working towards something really ambitious. We hope the community will feel inspired and that the production is enjoyable, magical, funny and thought provoking. ”

Zoe Squire

Zoe is an award-winning international designer of theatre, digital experiences and events with a wealth of experience in puppetry.

Zoe shares her vision for Rising Waters.
“Although the direction of the design is still developing, we plan to have a large-scale puppet or movable installation which represents the spirit of the lake, at the core of the design. The look of this will be inspired by the lake, water and stories collected from the people whose life it has touched in some way. This puppet will flow through our location and collect elements, people, and artifacts from these stories as it passes through. The design will continue to grow until it reaches our final stage and becomes part of a grand finale. I am excited by the idea that the audience can play an active role themselves as part of the flowing river procession as well as hearing the stories collected from the local communities.”