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Theatre for Radical Change - celebrating 15 years

IN 2019 Liverpool based theatre group Collective Encounters will be celebrating 15 years of using theatre as a tool for radical social and political change with a number of new projects and events.  Collective Encounters started life as a research project, led by Sarah Thornton, then a lecturer in Applied Theatre, at Liverpool Hope University. At the time Sarah was looking whether if and how the arts could contribute to radical personal, social and political change.

Of this time she says:- "In 2004 North Liverpool was undergoing a series of regeneration initiatives that looked to 'improve' the area after decades of economic and population decline. So, I started meeting with local community groups and activists to find out how regeneration was changing the lives of individuals and communities, what was being gained and what was going to be lost forever. Many shared the view that those that were making political and economic decisions on their behalf were not listening to their ideas and concerns".

Collective Encounters turned this research into:- 'The Harmony Suite,' a full length play that articulated the stories and views of generations of families living and working in north Liverpool. The Harmony Suite was produced as a large scale outdoor community show that animated a derelict street in Anfield, Liverpool. It involved 40 local people in the cast and crew and over 800 local community, policy makers, civil servants, politicians and activists came to watch the performances.

Since then Collective Encounters has set up and delivered a wide range of long term participatory theatre projects with a diverse range of communities working with 11, 000 people from across the Merseyside region. All of these projects seek to give a voice to those who are seldom heard in the mainstream media and politics, as well as developing the skills of people taking part. Executive Director, Annette Burghes says:- "Ensuring people have access to cultural production is at the core of everything we do. From the very beginning our policy has been not to charge for participation, most events and we reimburse people travel expenses if they need it. It is also rare to find us in a theatre building, 90% of what we do happens in other public spaces such as libraries, parks, health care settings and community settings".

The company adopts a radical approach to change, shifting the focus away from the therapeutic benefits of arts participation to using creation process as a mean to de-mystifying political systems, re-engaging people as citizens and creating alternative visions for the future. Last year they performed their new show, Cracked at the Labour Party Conference fringe event:- 'The World Transformed' in Liverpool and in 2016 Professor John Holloway 1 of the most important Marxist theorists today along with author of:- 'Change the World Without Taking Power' (Pluto, London, 2002) and 'Crack Capitalism' (Pluto, 2010) became a patron.

Fast forward to 2019, and the company is launching a number of new projects to celebrate 15 years of making theatre for radical change.

They've just released Keep Pushing an interactive film featuring members of the homeless community, ex-service personnel, those in recovery from addiction, young people in care along with others who have experienced social, economic and health inequality. Commissioned by:- The Space (BBC/Arts Council England), Keep Pushing confronts apathy and shines a light on homelessness, child poverty and the NHS funding crisis. Keep Pushing shows the different ways in which people can get involved and make a difference.

The Collective Encounter is an anthology of poetry written by artists and activists on the margins of society, about the margins of society. It is to be published in May 2019 and features a new poem by Curtis Watt, an introduction by Manchester based poet Louise Wallwein.

And no anniversary would be complete without a celebration event. On 6 March 2019, 'In Our Times 2019' will showcase the recent work of Collective Encounters, reflect on past achievements and reveal the company's plans for a new Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre.

Kids Planet Day Nurseries raising over ₤5000 for local charities

FAMILY, friends and staff at Kids Planet Day Nurseries have raised over ₤5000 for local charities across the North West of England following Christmas fairs and festive evenings held at the Nurseries, in December 2018.   Organisations benefitting from the fundraising events include:- Liverpool Women's Hospital, blood cancer charity Bloodwise, YMCA Homeless Shelter and Wirral based:- 'StickNStep' who support children with cerebral palsy and their families.

Speaking about the amount raised, Clare Roberts Kids Planet CEO said:- "We are so grateful to our amazing friends and family who give so generously at this time of year. Our Nursery staff work tirelessly to organise special events for the whole family and it is a testament to their efforts that we're able to support so many deserving charities, some of which have a personal connection with our Nursery staff and families".

The family owned group, founded by father and daughter John Hoban and Clare Roberts in 2008 and joined by sister Lucy Kaczmarska as quality lead and Early Years Director, have 32 Nurseries to date with plans for further expansion; a brand new purpose built Nursery will be opening on City Road in Worsley later this year.

For more details about Kids Planet Day Nurseries, visit:- KidsPlanetDayNurseries.Co.UK.

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Deceased estates notice - Lilian May Jackam

Pursuant to the Trustee Act 1925, any persons having a claim against or an interest in the Estate of Lilian May Jackam (also known as Lillian May) Jackam (Deceased), late of Birch Abbey Rest Home, 55 Alexandra Road, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 9HD, UK, who died on 04/10/2018, are required to send particulars thereof in writing, to the undersigned Solicitors, on or before 24/05/2019, after which date the Estate will be distributed having regard only to claims and interests of which they have had notice. Churches Solicitors, 12 High Street, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 7BL, UK. Ref:- 'T553015.'

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