At its heart, Gecko’s work is about relationships. The motivation behind all of our participation work is to encourage the sense of community that the arts can bring. This is why, in addition to our work in schools, we lead an array of other outreach workshops and projects, allowing anybody to participate in the arts regardless of background or career.
We’re keen to develop relationships with charities, companies, and educational institutions, to promote the message that theatre should be accessible to all.
If you’re interested in working with Gecko, please contact email@example.com.
Previous projects have included:
In May 2019, Gecko’s Associate Director Helen Baggett worked with a group of 16 Roma children from primary schools across Ipswich to create a short Gecko-style piece that was performed at DanceEast in June 2019.
The piece formed part of a jam-packed event highlighting the culture and heritage of Europe’s largest ethnic minority group: the vibrant and diverse Roma Community. Various local arts organisations collaborated on the organisation of the event which showcased personal stories, music and theatre created and performed by young Roma people living in Ipswich.
For more information about this project, click here.
New Wolsey Theatre Refugee Project
In April 2019, Gecko and the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich collaborated to run a project for migrants and refugees who have recently settled in Ipswich. We spent three days with the group in the studio, and also visited local art exhibitions and watched a show at the New Wolsey to give the group a chance to experience Ipswich’s rich cultural offer.
18 participants from 10 different ethnic backgrounds took part across the three days, and we received invaluable support from the YMCA, Suffolk New College and Suffolk County Council. The group came back together in June 2019 and we are now in the process of looking for additional funding to enable regular engagement and the delivery of high-quality community work that is beneficial for both audiences and participants.
Strategic Touring Project
As part of our spring 2018 tour of The Wedding, we brought together diverse groups of young people from both local and migrant/refugee communities at each touring destination. This provided the groups the opportunity to take part in a two and a half day project led by Gecko practitioners, with the aim of creating a short piece of work in Gecko’s trademark style. This was completely open to everybody; no prior performing experience was required, and English language proficiency was not a barrier to their taking part.
Making Change Workshops
During the spring 2018 tour of The Wedding, we ran free 3-hour workshops called ‘Making Change’ at each tour venue. These were open to the public and offered a space to meet other people from the local community, to explore themes from the show, as well as ideas around social and environmental change that emerged from the group on the day. We teamed up with the Transition Network, a movement of communities coming together to re-imagine and rebuild our world, to link into each town or city.
In 2016, Gecko and Suffolk Mind teamed up to develop a series of events and resources that further explored the issues of mental well-being, as raised in Institute, including an information booklet, panel discussions, and a three-hour workshop for those who saw the show and wished to engage further.
In recent years, we have made further developments to make this a standalone workshop, enabling more people to take part. Using our combined understanding of human emotional needs, the theatre-based workshop creates a playful and safe environment in which participants explore the idea that we all have the same core emotional needs, which must be met to sustain healthy minds. We have since run this at Latitude Festival 2017 and at Norwich Theatre Royal in 2018, as part of their Mental Health Awareness Month.
We have collaborated with many companies and organisations working with young adults and youth theatre groups to create bespoke performance pieces in Gecko’s style.
Seven Schools One Town
In 2016, we collaborated with DanceEast on a project entitled ‘Seven Schools One Town’. For this, Gecko and DanceEast facilitators worked with Year 4 students from seven primary schools in Ipswich across six months allowing each school to create their own original, site-specific dance film. Every student was encouraged to think about what Ipswich means to them and explore this sense of belonging in their hometown.
Giving students ownership of the final pieces, they created the movement and worked as a group to decide the theme for the piece and the filming location. Each film was site-specific, and made the most of local landmarks in Ipswich (the Town Hall, Ipswich Waterfront and the Willis Building amongst others).
The project then culminated in all seven schools, and all 360 students, coming together in Christchurch Park to take part in a big filming day in which a drone and numerous cameras captured all 360 students performing together.
Gecko has previously run an ‘Introduction to Directing’ course in conjunction with the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme. As part of the course, we invited five aspiring directors living and working locally in the East Anglian region to join us across two weekends to learn more about Gecko’s style of direction, facilitation and storytelling. The young directors created their own original filmed pieces under the guidance of Associate Director Rich Rusk.