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My CREATE Tour with Tees Valley and Fuel Theatre


Tees Valley and Fuel Theatre

For the last few weeks, from Tuesday 30th October to Friday 16th November,  Rural Arts has been running it’s CREATE Tour project in Tees Valley. For the project we worked with eight young people from Tuned In! in Redcar to create a curtain-raiser piece that went on to tour alongside the show “Summit” from Fuel Theatre.
During the first week of the project Fuel Theatre’s facilitator, Toni Dee, helped the group create their show piece; “Imagine” with script writing workshops, drama warm-ups and show rehearsals.
She also visited two other venues during the week, to deliver taster workshop sessions for other young people living in the Tees Valley, including with Hope 4 East Cleveland as pictured below.

During the workshop week with the young people from Tuned IN!, we also took the opportunity to take part in Fuel Theatre’s #whatchange campaign, getting the young people to tell us what change they would like to see in the arts. They came up with some great stuff! They also told us why they had decided to get involved in Create Tour, with reasons such as “building my confidence for future performances” , “getting more experience in putting on shows in front of strangers” and “getting into the world and trying new things.” Take a look at more of what they had to say in the short video Tuned In! put together:
After workshop week was all done and dusted, we moved onto the second week of the project where the CREATETour group performed their first show on Tuesday 6th November. The group performed their curtain-raiser piece, “Imagine” at a showcase that Rural Arts had organised for ON Tour promoters and funders at The Arc in Stockton. We had over 30 people watching the performance on the day and the event was a great chance for the group to show off their piece in front of industry professionals. The audience were particularly impressed that the group had written the piece themselves and created it in such a short space of time. The Create Tour group also really enjoyed getting the chance to join in with some of the other performers showcasing on the day, including Maia the Band.




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After the participants had performed at The Arc in Stockton, they had a break for a few days to get themselves fully prepared for the tour the following week. Their groups leader James, did a fab job of making sure they were fully prepared for the tour week and they all got a copy of the script they had created so that they were fully practiced on their lines.
The week of the tour began on Tuesday 13th November,  kicking off with Fuel Theatre’s Jamie, Nadia and Aleasha, performing their show “Summit” at Prior Pursglove College on Tuesday 14th November. As the performance was in the afternoon the participants were unable to do a curtain-raiser for this performance but we received some really great feedback from the college students about Fuel Theatre’s show “Summit”, calling it “A captivating and intriguing show.”
The next show was at Stokesley Town Hall, for which both the CREATE Tour group and Fuel Theatre performed their shows.  The Arts Development Officer for Rural Arts, Sorcha, who has recently taken over the CREATE Tour project, went along to the show.
This show was particularly special as our community engagement specialist; Col, who we had hired as part of the project, had invited a BSL learning group along to the show. Eighteen members of the group attended the performance and told us it was great to see a show like “Summit” that integrates British Sign Language so well into the show. They also liked that the young people had learnt some BSL as part of their curtain-raiser. They had learnt BSL words such as; “green trees” , “silence” , “together” and “white”

Jamie, one of the cast members of “Summit” also led an impromptu after show discussion with the audience. Being deaf himself, he was keen to interact with the BSL audience. We were told by producer Babette, the group that attended the show were one of the largest BSL groups the cast had seen since beginning their national tour of “Summit.”
The group said that the show displayed some of the best BSL they had seen at a performance before. They described it as “Phenomenal” saying that they had “never seen anything like it before” and were “absolutely spellbound.”
There was high praise for the acting skills of all the cast, who had kept the audience engaged from beginning to end.

The fourth show was at Saltburn Arts, on Thursday 15th November. Our lovely ON Tour manager Jo, went along to the show. Again there were around 25 audience members that attended the show, this time with some of the Create Tour participants staying on to watch the Summit show after they had performed their curtain – raiser.

The performers were particularly excited to perform in such a beautifully traditional theatre right by the sea!

Some of the Create Tour group’s family and friends came along to the performance and said that they were “impressed with what the group had achieved in such a short space of time”




The fifth show was at Tuned In! in Redcar, for which previous Youth Development Officer at Rural Arts, Nicola, came along to for one more time to see off the project.

There were a lot of the CREATETour groups family and friends at the performance which provided the participants with a lovely and supportive atmosphere form the audience.

We also had the lovely Jenna interpreting “Imagine” for BSL audiences which added a great sense of inclusivity to the show.

We also had three people come along from Fuel Theatre, including writer of “Summit”, Andy Smith, as it was the last performance of the tour. They stayed behind to take part in the post show Q & A, to answer all the audience’s varied questions about the show.


Overall the project was a huge success, through the wonderful opportunity we had to programme Fuel Theatre’s “Summit” to Tees Valley, providing something unique, challenging and fresh to North Yorkshire audiences, but also through the hard work our Create Tour group put into the show and the outstanding performances they delivered over the tour week!
Thanks so much to everyone that had a hand in creating such a great tour and Arts Council England and Esme Fairbairn Foundation for funding the project.