A Moments Of Joy project in collaboration with Third Bite Dance
Within the first few sessions at the Meadows, I knew it was a special place. I’ve worked in a few assisted living care schemes in and around Sheffield but never been anywhere where the residents have had as much love for where they live as they do at the Meadows. I decided to use this love for home as a theme for the project and so our idea to write a Love Letter to the Meadows emerged. All the residents were really on board and excited for what we would create and had the idea to send our letter to the Sheffield Star newspaper!
Inspired by dance artist Nisha Lall (other Moments of Joy lead artist) and a conversation Nisha had with her neighbour a few years ago we focused on the 3 L’s: Love. Listen. Laughter. And the Meadows residents decided we should add in a 4th L : Look. So with the questions: What do you love about the Meadows? What makes you laugh in the Meadows? and What do you see and hear in the Meadows? We wrote our poem.
As well as leading the project at the Meadows as an independent artist, I also had the opportunity to invite my over 50’s dance company Third Bite Dance to collaborate on the project. Each week 3 – 4 members of the company attended the sessions and then we worked in our weekly company sessions devising a short choreography inspired by the words in the poem. Third Bite Dance then performed the piece back to the residents in our final session at the Meadows. The choreography is set to a sound score of the Meadows residents’ voices reading the Meadows love letter. This has been a brilliant experience for me to co-create with the Meadows residents and my Third Bite Dance company.
“Spending time with the residents and staff at The Meadows has been so joyful. The residents are so engaged with life. They have such humour, wisdom and experience that they share. It’s been a privilege and delight to be part of this project”
– Alison, Third Bite Dance performer
It’s been such a joy to dance with the group every Friday morning and hear the stories and anecdotes of the wonderful people living in the Meadows. Some residents, at first a bit shy in the dance session, soon open up with how they feel living at the Meadows. All the residents support each other, the community they have is clear and as one resident’s contribution to the Meadows Love Letter says “The atmosphere at the Meadows speaks for itself. What I like – it’s our home, it’s what we make it”
‘Our Home, The Meadows‘ is a new piece created by residents at The Meadows, a care scheme within South Yorkshire Housing, in collaboration with Third Bite Dance. The piece brings together a poem written by the residents over several weeks of creative movement sessions led by dance artist Lucy Haighton, with movement and choreography performed by Third Bite Dance. ‘Our Home, The Meadows’ explores the 4 L’s: Love, Laughter, Listen and Look and celebrates the community of people living and working at the Meadows.
Our Home, The Meadows
What goes off in that meadows!
(you’d be surprised)
You couldn’t wish to meet better people, it’s actually better than outside!
They’ve always got a smile, a hello, a goodbye
You can’t say nowt against it
The atmosphere speaks for itself
The company in here at the Meadows is great
There’s no uppity people
It’s a happy place
Coming back to groups – I’ve been lost without them
You can do what you want
If you want to be with people you can, if you want to be solo you can
I love all of it
The staff and the care watch, except when they get annoyed and I start playing up
They’re all so nice and friendly and the people are funny (most of them)
(that’s funny haha)
Nothing’s too much trouble
I love the genuine feeling of warmth from everybody that’s here
What makes us laugh in the meadows?
Your face in the mirror
(you can soon crack a mirror)
The staff are always pleasant, they’re never miserable
They tell me all their problems and mine go away
(they tell me about their love lives, boyfriends and husbands)
(I tell them about my love life and it’s a long tale)
The staff are always laughing and cracking jokes
Today she’s not brought her satin knickers
Marks and Spencer
I was sat by the door waiting for my friend and I was fast asleep when she arrived
I love sitting there and talking to people that pass by
When you come into the lounge and see the sun, the flowers and the birds that’s what I like.
My patio doors that are open I see squirrels, birds and flowers, I love it, your nearer to God when you’re in your garden than anywhere
There’s all sorts here in the Meadows
Everyone helps me
It’s surprising what you see
Two hours we were stuck in those big chairs – but we were alright weren’t we
She was talking about her life story to us, her love life
What’s for dinner?
Chips and fish and mushy peas
Then at 2o clock we play bingo
And Margaret wins it all
“My favourite number is 21”
“Mines lucky 7”
When we play bingo there’s noisy crowds
You can’t hear a pin drop
You’ve got to be prepared like the scouts
In case anybody….
In case anybody flakes out
June goes to the shops
She’s on her scooter
40 mile an hour in here!
She’s a mad woman
(“That’s a lie!”)
Eddies 100th birthday
It were very good
It made me proud
It was very personal
I enjoyed it immensely
The Queen representative came
Maybe a copper
It was a lovely lady in the picture
I had a big bottle of cider in here
And I had some pernod
(and don’t forget I used to work at Bass Charrington)
And the women were worse than the men, supping!
The atmosphere at the Meadows speaks for itself
Things are happening if you want to join in
All the activities, we have a good laugh
What I like – it’s our home, it’s what we make it
By Carol, Donna, June, Lou, Linda, Margaret, Steve, Eddie, Tony and Karla