On Saturday 19th September Freshly Greated worked in collaboration with SeaChange Arts, and lots of other partners to throw Celebrate King Street! – an event on St Georges Plaza to celebrate the history of King Street, and a look into the communities which live and work here now, including the vibrant migrant population in the area.
Hannah Shelley – Freshly Greated Programme Assistant – talks about the event from her perspective.
When I arrived at the event I was not sure what to expect as due to COVID regulations it had been reorganised from a street party to a collection of workshops and performances on St Georges Theatre Plaza. However, the sun was shining and we soon got involved with the whole team, setting up the scenery and activity tables.
The Plaza was bright and colourful with sweeping sails waving above the event which were decorated with hand painted birds. There were butterflies, fish, waves and giant flowers covering the railings and dotted around the plaza. An area for circus skills, performances and lines of large tables for craft activities. As people began to fill up the space a soundscape of bird song, music, local stories and oral histories played above King Street. The day consisted of craft activities including a bird decorating workshop and tin-can telephones. There were pop up music, circus and drama performances by local people all telling their stories of King Street.
Everything has changed since the last time I attended an event like this. Coronavirus is something everyone has had to adapt to and the changes were plain to see. Health and Safety regulations have become much bigger and more obvious. There were hand sanitizing stations dotted around and people were on hand to spray down and disinfect tables after each group had finished their hour craft slots. We were given packs at the beginning of the day with gloves, sanitizer and masks in and were to use these as the event took place. An event like this now requires really high levels of organisation – stuff we’ve never even thought of before!
I was apprehensive on the way a mask may affect my ability to speak to people and make a memorable impression. However I found that I had many interesting and helpful conversations. The Out There festival was on people’s minds as this would usually be the weekend it was held. And overall everybody seemed to appreciate the opportunity to come together and celebrate each other’s cultures and have a day in the sunshine in its place. One person said how much they enjoyed the day because ‘it was for everyone’.
I am excited by the prospect of Freshly Greated helping to bring more events like this to the town and getting to know even more of the communities in the town.