towns alive!

a three-day celebration of the place where we live.

During summer 2021, three towns across the south-east of England will stage a local extravaganza, bringing together communities to enjoy a programme of performance, workshops and events that celebrate neighbourhoods, togetherness and all there is to be proud of in the places we call home.

house provides the infrastructure for each venue to present a few days of activity away from the bricks and mortar of their buildings. A beautiful traditional tent-pole marquee will spring up in the heart of each community to host two or three days performances and workshops, gigs, barn dances, comedy and much more.

The journey begins at Farnham Maltings from 21 July; progressing to King’s Lynn from 5 August, and concluding with ‘Four Days at Staunton Country Park’ curated by The Spring in Havant from 19 August.


the marquee build, week one

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background

towns alive! is a pilot project created by house theatre. It will test the idea that venues can present work beyond their walls, strike up relationships with and between the people of their towns, offer new ways to access creativity and explore their own role as an indispensable hub of the community.

Some venues will showcase opportunities to participate in cultural activity in their town; others will present free family fun in an accessible location. Each venue will tailor the location, space and content to the needs of their neighbourhoods, rebuilding audience confidence and starting new connections in their communities.

house will use the pilot to refine the offer and support new ways for the wider house network to work in towns in future.

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towns and the south-east

The south-east region is characterised by having the highest concentration of small, medium and large towns of any region in the UK, according to Centre for Towns. Yet the region doesn’t have a city like Manchester or Birmingham championing its wider geographical community. The south east is often identified as being ‘near London’, and although proximity to London certainly influences many aspects of life in the region, the relationship between international capital city and regional town is mostly poorly defined.

Covid-19 has increased the perception of local. Given the demise of the high street and a focus on place-making within almost all Local Authorities, towns alive! explores how communities can celebrate something of their own local identity.

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the programme

Farnham Maltings’ Outside Space offer from 23 July includes free yoga workshops, a work-in-progress of Bucket Club’s new show, The Royal Society of Beastologists, Make a Mini Beast plasticine model-making workshop, Comedy Under Canvas, and more.

The Garage in Norwich is transporting its activity to the home town of its sister venue, The Workshop in King’s Lynn, from 5 August. ‘Workshop at the Walks’ will host comedy and performances including My First Show: Henny Penny, Bedtime Stories for Grown Ups, The Bazizi Brothers, and more. More info

The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant are hosting ‘Four Days at Staunton Country Park’ from 19 August, with a programme including the comedy, theatre and music, ther Four Days Frolic Barn Dance, clowning with We All Wobble, and the Planet Fantastic Picnic. More info

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