Remapping St Ives & Shallal Performance
Visitors to St Ives last Friday were amazed to see a noisy, colourful procession, where Kerry, who usually uses a wheelchair, was ‘queen for a day’ and was carried around St Ives in a handmade Sedan Chair.
This performance by Shallal Dance Theatre, in collaboration with artist Jo Mayes, was devised as part of the Remapping St Ives Project, in order to highlight the problems that many people have in getting around our towns, in a light-hearted and engaging way. The performance began with ‘queen’ Kerry ‘testing a harbour slipway for wheelchair access’ with the support of stunt and rigging specialist David Greeves.
Kerry performed the nail-biting stunt, pulling herself up the slipway, using climbing equipment, with the support of colourful Shallal performers and cheering on lookers. Shallal performers then transported Kerry around the town, stopping to make small dance and theatre performances on the way to St Ives town hall to celebrate the opening of the new disabled access ramp to the Visitor Information Centre. Terry, 72, also made an ascent of Mount Zion, a steep cobbled street which is particularly challenging for those with mobility impairments, with the support of three other performers and a climbing rope…
Andy Shepherd, Chair of the St Ives September Festival was enthusiastic about the performance; “The Remapping St Ives Project, involving Shallal Dance Theatre, has been fantastic. It has brought life and music and laughter and colour to the streets of St Ives. We love this in the festival…..We have been amazed how people’s eyes have been opened to everyday things that we more or less able-bodied people take for granted….Entertaining and educational, its been fantastic.”
Feedback and ideas for changes in the town were taken, as part of the performance, by local artist Karen Foss; inviting people to tie their ideas and suggestions to her costume. All feedback from the project and initial survey will be fed into the town plan, hoping to encourage the town to continue with improvements such as the new ramp at the Town Hall. As St Ives Councillor, Andrew Mitchell point out, “The impact isn’t going to be immediate…just bring it to people’s attention…you just need to build momentum up and this is a good start”. More information at www.remappingstives.org.uk.