Civil Blood

New Adventures presents Civil Blood, a project for young people in partnership with Dance United Yorkshire (in Bradford) and Studio 3 Arts (in Barking and Dagenham) inspired by Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet.

Led by New Adventures Resident Artist, Paul Smethurst, and long-standing company member Sam Archer, two creative residencies were delivered in partnership with both organisations that culminated in a performance of a new dance work. This was an opportunity for young people aged 12-21 and not in education, employment or training to experience working with one of the UK’s prolific dance-theatre companies.

Civil Blood was inspired by the main themes in Romeo and Juliet; that of highly emotional young people being made to suppress their emotions and conflict against authority and those in power. These themes resonate very strongly with the youth of today, particularly with young people who are marginalised, hard to reach or living in challenging life circumstances. In both settings, we created a company of the least engaged and most vulnerable and together, created a high quality artistic work in the unique New Adventures style.

Our first project took place in Bradford with Dance United Yorkshire from 13 June - 10 July with the performance on 11 July at the Riley Theatre, Leeds, which is based at Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Dance United Yorkshire positively changes the lives of marginalised and hard to reach people through high quality dance training and performance. Their projects are delivered in a range of different settings, including working in prisons and young offender institutions.

The second project, supported by Archie Lloyd Charitable Foundation, commenced on 30 July and ran until 16 August with a performance at Sadler’s Wells, London on 19 August. Studio 3 Arts is a non-profit organisation based in Barking and Dagenham that puts local people at the centre of everything that they do. Their mission is to be ambitious and create brilliant, challenging, relevant work that acknowledges and responds to the barriers that prevent arts participation. Their vision is a world where everyone has access to outstanding art. New Adventures will be working with Studio 3 Arts award-winning flagship youth arts programme BIG DEAL on this project.

Have a watch of the video below to find out more about the project and the experience had by those involved:

We believe that both projects championed the power of dance to have a long-lasting impact on the lives of these young people; developing confidence, improving emotional resilience and contributing to social reintegration. All participants who completed the project have worked towards a nationally accredited Arts Award during the process.

If it wasn’t for this experience I don’t think we’d ever be doing anything like this!

Tashia Samuels, participant