Project Archive

Collaborative Touring Network

Established in 2013, we are a collective of 8 organisations based in Wigan, Gloucester, Hull, Torbay, Thanet, Peterborough, Medway and Wandsworth.

We work with artists and communities to make and tour life-affirming, soul-shaking, perspective-changing shows.

CTN believes in the power and possibility of live performance.  

Find out more here.

Burnt Out in Biscuit Land – Touretteshero

Lots of People at a CTN event with confetti in the air and red lighting, excited
Image Credit: Kevin Moran
In 2023, the Collaborative Touring Network (CTN) partnered with acclaimed disabled-led arts company Touretteshero – to develop and tour a new live and digital performance ‘Burnt Out in Biscuit Land’. As part of this project, CTN and Touretteshero partnered with arts commissioning body Unlimited. Unlimited commission extraordinary work from disabled artists that will change and challenge the world. Together #CTN#Touretteshero and #Unlimited launched a national micro-commissioning opportunity for disabled artists based in the towns and cities across the network.

 

Life On The Edge – AONB

We were the cultural partner for the Life On The Edge project with AONB – a multi-partner project funded by a development grant from Heritage Lottery Fund. We were commissioned to support the design of their arts engagement programme during the development phase. The project aimed to restore thriving populations of some of the UK’s rarest insects living along the South West Coast Path between Berry Head and Wembury – working with residents, parish councils, schools and land owners to protect and restore precious Coastal wildlife and connect communities with nature.

The Snow Queen

In Autumn 2022, Children’s theatre company Above Bounds teamed up with our Saturday Drama groups in the lead-up to their show The Snow Queen.

About the show:

“Between 2020-2021, we worked with young people on Zoom to retell the story of The Snow Queen for an audience in 2022. A professional writer, Lottie Finklaire, worked with the group to create the script, set on Dartmoor and exploring friendship, climate change and individual actions. Now, we’re going to stage this new story! We’ll work with young people at Doorstep Arts to help us to design the set, the puppets and compose the music, before performing work-in-progress shows this winter.

An icy storm is brewing across Dartmoor. In the houses down below, two friends Gerda and Kay are growing up, but growing apart. As the snow falls and their argument builds, is there more to this icy flurry than first meets the eye? Above Bounds Theatre presents _The Snow Queen_ by Lottie Finklaire, a work-in-progress performance of a brand new adaptation inspired by the original tale, the content of which was created with (and for) young people.” – Above Bounds

Above Bounds Theatre Company

Ragdoll Embodied Literacy Project

 

This project combined exciting StoryGenerator performances from professional visiting artists, where children see and hear wonderful tales from around the world, with a focus on developing their own abilities as authors. The stories they create are brought to life as they are acted out by the whole class and then reflected upon.

This process provides great motivation for the children to fulfil and surpass many National Curriculum requirements – particularly around listening, exploring ideas, language and vocabulary development, speech and communication, building on the ideas of others, narrative and role-play.

Embodied Literacy Blog Post

Seeding Futures

Seeding Futures was an Arts Council England-funded project that aimed to reignite opportunities for diverse artists at critical stages in their careers, supporting them to create and platform new work, finding safe ways for performers to connect with Torbay’s communities, while ensuring that lesser-heard voices are seen, heard and modelled.

Co-Creating Change Exchange with Nairobi: 3 Stones

We are part of the Co-Creating Change Network and the key part of this is how we Co-Create CHANGE in our community of Torbay.  We approach all of our work through three deep foundational principles:
– Social Justice
– Dialogic Pedagogy
– Storytelling Praxis and Practice

John Namai is a Nairobi-based storyteller working predominantly with children and young people as a participatory storyteller. Through observation and the sharing of stories and games internationally between young people, we will be sharing and collaborating across our two localities which each bring distinct cultures, skills and knowledge.

Through 2021, participatory, story & performance artists and community leaders shared practice, with time for their own creative collaboration & exchange. Our partnership is keen to investigate issues faced by young people in each community and the ‘altered reality’ we are now living in – considering the power of autobiographical narrative & performance, integrating appreciation of one’s own heritage and culture, addressing retrogressive cultural norms, appreciating the stories and contributions from other cultures.

Read more about the project in this blog post.

Producing Praxis

Thanks to support from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Doorstep embarked on a 2-year Action Research project which explored project-based learning as a means to alternate progression routes for children and young people.

For an introduction to the need for this work, read this blog post by Erin.

Producing Praxis: Evaluation Video

 

Climate Change AHRC Project

Increasingly evident are the benefits of arts-based projects in bringing about the kinds of cultural change needed to tackle climate change. This project worked specifically with the Senior Studio Group of 14-18-year-olds from Doorstep Arts, Torbay(DAS) and additional participants from Doorstep’s Youth Theatre (DYT) to explore research into theatre and performance’s contribution to understanding climate change as cultural, running alongside COP 26. The project seeked to tether the expertise of Doorstep Arts in the facilitation of youth musical theatre performance and the University of Exeter’s research in arts-based approaches to climate change.

During four weekly sessions, the DAS young people participated in practice-based musical theatre workshops focused on representations of weather and climate, facilitated by Polly Ferguson and Evelyn O’Malley.  As a bridge activity during half term, the young people participated in a workshop led by undergraduates on Exeter’s Theatre for a Changing Climate module, offering them an opportunity to encounter theatre practice as studied at University.

For the second half of the term, the young people devised and performed their own climate change musical, including script-writing, choreography and composition. They consulted with the Met Office’s Stott and Ligginsas as part of the process, tracking the progress of COP26.

Read Amy’s blog post about young people’s views on Climate Change.

Protest & Rebellion

Placing current extinction/climate protests into long-term heritage context, this Heritage Lottery Fund project made historical patterns of protest and rebellion in South Devon and Torbay more visible.

An ensemble of young people aged 14-20 explored past protest/rebellion in Torbay, devising an original musical production. The creative process began with historians and heritage organisations contributing and sharing source material. Drawing on this research, young people worked with the Doorstep team and visiting professionals to devise an original musical performance. This was shared via small-scale outdoor events in August, and a socially-distanced outdoor & indoor performance in November 2020.

Click here to visit the Cabbage Rebellion website and explore some of the digital outcomes from this project!

Imagined Futures

Imagined Futures was a project that set out to build a digital relationship between artists and young people from Doorstep Arts, specifically, Doorstep Youth Theatre in Torbay with Antyx Community Arts in Calgary. They are a company that uses the arts and community development processes to create opportunities for youth to become more engaged in their community and experience increased community connection. Imagined Futures was commissioned by New Conversations. New conversations is funded by British Council, the High Commission of Canada in the UK, and Farnham Maltings with support from Arts Council England.

For more info about Jade’s trip to Calgary, see the Blog posts:

Part 1 – My trip to Canada

Part 2 – Meeting the Youth

Part 3 – Theatre & HipHop

Part 4 – Time to relax

Part 5 – Visiting Edmonton

Part 6 – My final day

Please listen to the podcast we made in Calgary where we explored our practice and how we engage young people in important dialogue through creativity. soundcloud.com/doorstep-arts

Greenway Imagined

Greenway Imagined, a project led by Daisi, saw Doorstep Arts work in partnership with the National Trust property Greenway to enable participants to gain a sense of life at Greenway during the First World War and to make a creative response to it.

Our DAS Senior Group devised and performed in the film, From Pillar to Post after a term’s development process, led by Polly Ferguson and Meghan Searle. With costumes by Mair George and filmed by Phil Gurr.

The Woods

The Woods was an enormous experiment – teaming Sondheim’s beloved score Into the Woods for act one with a wholly original second half, an original musical second act composed entirely by the young participants.

With a company of 78 performers, aged from 4 to 25, it was an epic feat, realised over 6 months of collaborative writing and devising, with the final production staged at the Palace Theatre in Paignton.

 

Making Bridges with Music

Throughout the summer of 2017, Doorstep Arts co-developed a Torbay project funded by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Awards for All. Making Bridges with Music was an innovative pilot which brought early years children and childminders into residential care homes for older people. Supported by artists, the participants made music together.

 

Earth Echoes GeoOpera

The English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark hosted the 7th International Conference on Global Geoparks in September 2016. The Opening Ceremony was a lavish and spectacular GeoOpera, which brought together exceptional creative talent with emerging artists and communities, to present a unique piece of theatrical opera before an international audience, inspired by the English Riviera Geopark. Artistic Director Mark Laville, in partnership with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Doorstep Arts and the GeoCollective, engaged community composers and performers of all ages through workshops and rehearsals, including local schools.

Resilience Web

In April 2015, Doorstep Arts were awarded a grant from Arts Council England to deliver a new project in Torbay, working with 7 participatory groups at our key doorstep sites. This work was called The Resilience Web. Through participatory devised theatre, we spent November 2015 working with 630 young people at five schools across Torbay to explore what helps them to feel strong, how they bounce back from challenges, how they keep a centre of gravity and how to speak back (and speak up!) against the systems that can cause some of those challenges and injustices.

Grit

Grit was an original musical, inspired by Madeleine L’Engle’s book A Wrinkle in Time and 4 other source materials. The story followed a young woman as she tried to rescue a missing father, save her brother, and find her own destiny. It was devised and written by a company of 20 young people, aged 14-20, who worked with professional artists from July-November 2015.

Grit was funded by the Arts Council England. It was part of a larger Torbay-wide project called The Resilience Web, led and was a case study of best practice in Theatre-in-Education at the national Inspiring Curiosity Conference at Belgrade Theatre on 22 October 2015.

In October, Grit toured to 2 Torbay-area schools for student audiences as well as performing 3 public shows in November as part of the Doorstep Theatre Festival. In November, Doorstep Lead Artists Meghan Searle and Jade Campbell delivered 10 additional drama workshops at 5 target schools across Torbay, working with students in years 6 & 7 to support resilience through times of transition.

In My Shoes

Thanks to support from Awards for All, Doorstep worked in collaboration with Torbay Young Carers in 2018/2019, to provide weekly drama sessions for a group of 12 young people from Torbay who have caring responsibilities.

These sessions gave the young people space to co-create a final performance ‘Opus’ which featured at the Spring Doorstep Theatre Festival.

The young people worked with professional theatre costume and set designer Fi Russel, film-maker Luke Jeffery and theatre specialists Becky Dobson (writer) and Jade Campbell (Producer/facilitator) Doorstep Arts Co-Dircetor. Here is a short video showing our process of creation:

We also evaluated the project, here is our In My Shoes Evaluation and Reflection PDF.

You can read more about the co-creation and writing process in Becky Dobson’s Blog here.