Dance show and NHS choir bring successful arts and health week to a close

Dancers performing a new commission, 'A Dance Response to In Memoriam'

Dancers performing a new commission, 'A Dance Response to In Memoriam' at Luke Jerram's artwork on Weston Beach. - Credit: Mark Atherton

Thousands of people across North Somerset took part in the second Weston Arts and Health Week. 

More than 45 live and online activities were put on by organisers Culture Weston and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) at a variety of venues throughout Weston. 

Dancers performing a new commission, 'A Dance Response to In Memoriam'

Dancers performing a new commission, 'A Dance Response to In Memoriam'. - Credit: Mark Atherton

The heart of the celebration was Luke Jerram’s moving artwork In Memoriam – a temporary memorial of flags made from more than 100 bed sheets - giving people the chance to remember all they have lost through Covid, and to pay tribute to NHS and care workers. 

During the nine-day event, In Memoriam on Weston beach, was the setting for a series of immersive performances, starting with a fire-lit NHS procession and the soothing sounds of Costanzi Consort chamber choir on the opening weekend, to a festival finale filled with dance, poetry and song.  

Dancers perfoming a new commission, 'A Dance Responce to In Memorium' at Luke Jeram's artwork on Wes

Dancers from Studio Wayne McGregor and Weston College performing during Arts and Health Week. - Credit: Mark Atherton

The premiere of a new dance commission, created and performed among the flags by Studio Wayne McGregor, alongside dance students from Weston College, took place on Friday to the haunting soundtrack ‘A Moment in Time’, composed by Dan Jones and featuring Massive Attack and Portishead.  

The event ended on Sunday as members of UHBW NHS Choir performed the first public sharing of ‘A Song for In Memoriam’, specially commissioned from local composer David Ogden. 

Fiona Matthews, creative director at Culture Weston said: “We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the people of Weston for being part of Arts and Health week, from children playing in the sand and raising a smile amongst the flags of In Memoriam, to those who came to remember and reflect.  

“Not forgetting those who participated in the vast array of activities, conversations and live arts opportunities and who fed back with such positive comments and warmth. It has been a privilege to partner with UHBW and NHS staff, and to work in close partnership with North Somerset Council and Weston Town Council."

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Fiona Matthews also thanked Arts Council England, Quartet Community Foundation and Without Walls for their financial support. 

The programme of free activities also included a series of creative taster sessions with craft, poetry, drama and dance and Tai-Chi, plus a host of online events from artist chats to health panel discussions. 

Recordings of the digital events are available at cultureweston.org.uk 

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