Community Catalyst Lance Phillips has been a Medway resident and teacher for the last 12 years. He gained funding for a small experiment grant when it opened for submissions in 2013.
Lance used the funding to found a physical theatre and arts group called Physical Folk, based in the Luton area of Chatham. Involving a variety of art forms to tell traditional and modern Folk tales, it’s a group to equip and involve local people, from all ages and cultures, in creating and performing their own stories publicly in outdoor spaces.
“I want to come back every single day” – Tyler, age 6
Combining various art forms (such as drama, dance, visual art and digital media) through storytelling, Physical Folk engages people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds in a shared experience of creativity. It provides a link between active participation in the arts and increased personal and social development for those who feel vulnerable or isolated from their local community.
Lance says: “Right from the start I wanted to involve Luton resident volunteers in establishing and running Physical Folk, and formed a planning group of local residents who wanted to share their creative skills in their community. We planned the content of the workshops and explored the aims of the group and what it should achieve: creating community through culturally collaborative creativity.”
“Physical Folk is about bringing together people from all walks of life and all cultures in the community … and we make all welcome whoever you are and we teach you new skills” – Tristan, volunteer.
After establishing links with community partners to promote Physical Folk, they ran ‘Creative Storytelling Taster Workshops’ in Luton Library during the Medway Family Arts Festival in 2013. They were well attended with a wide range of cultures, abilities and ages working together creatively. At the end of each workshop, participants used the skills they learnt in dance, movement, body percussion, rhythm, puppet making and performance to create a group devised story to show case to each other. Lance said of the participants: “I think they did remarkably well as none of them had met each other before the start of the workshop. We also learnt a lot about what people want from those workshops.”
“Physical Folk has helped so many people from all walks of the community. I get great satisfaction from helping to make this happen. I look forward to further workshops and greater diversity as we grow” – Dee, volunteer
Want to volunteer or help out in any way? Creatively or otherwise? Ring Lance on 01634 577984.