Somerset Stories: The Bluebirds Theatre Company

The Bluebirds Theatre Company aren’t your average acting troupe. Thanks to a solar-powered mobile theatre they take shows to new spaces on a mission to unlock audiences’ creativity and bring communities together.

We spoke to Sasha Herriman, Artistic Director at The Bluebirds Theatre Company, who explained how, with help of our funding, she’s helping communities unlock their creativity.

“Music, theatre and community are at the heart of what we do. We put on professional theatre events while making sure they’re fully inclusive. There’s no separation between what people see and our audience. They can learn how to sing, vocalise or put on their own shows. We want to blur the lines and say: ‘You can get involved and be creative too.’

Our Popera House is a fully functioning, solar-powered, self-contained miniature theatre with lights and a sound system. It’s towable by a four-wheel drive vehicle which means we can go and perform anywhere. It’s a great place for rural community productions because you can take it right into the heart of a community without relying on theatre spaces.

A big group of people sitting and standing on grass, watch a mobile theatre act in front of a blue mini-stage in a park

The Popera House is a fully functioning, solar-powered, self-contained miniature theatre with lights and a sound system.

We’re fortunate to work with everyone, from infants to pensioners, because of the broad range of activities we offer. On one hand we run Baby Bluebirds, an early years parent and carer music group, where people can sing and play with their children in a very inclusive environment. And at the other end of the spectrum we have things like Thriving Voices. This group originally started out to help those suffering from long Covid and respiratory complaints. It’s a vocal recovery group where people can find out about breathing techniques with the emphasis on health and wellbeing.

We also work in primary and secondary school settings, taking The Popera House into schools where we deliver workshops. We might run a puppet-making workshop and teach students a song; then they can watch the show, and have an opportunity to put their puppets on the stage and sing with us. It’s an integrated approach which helps children and young people feel involved and invested.

We’ve been lucky to receive a number of grants from Somerset Community Foundation. You’ve helped fund projects like The Knickerline – an art installation where we use underwear to talk about women’s stories. It helped us bring people together in community spaces to share ideas and create the installation.

In whatever we do, we want people to come away with a sense of their own creativity and potential. So that they can start to understand that creativity doesn’t have to be the preserve of a particular group, but is open to everyone.”

14.11.2023


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