"Our Woods" was an invitation to Corby to come together and share the magic of its woodlands through song, dance and light and much more. Produced by Deep Roots Tall Trees and conceived by Rosalind Stoddart, "Our Woods" was a 9-month long series of events commissioning professional dance, music, spoken word, visual and performance artists to work with local people, leading to a new series of songs written by Barb Jungr and Deep Roots Tall Trees. The new song cycle responded to the creativity of professionals and Corby people and their relationship to the woods and the festival finale was a spectacular sound, movement and experience at The Core at Corby Cube in May 2017. International light artist Kurt Laurenz Theinert, acclaimed Choreographer Neil Paris and jazz singer and writer Barb Jungr led a team of performers in this multi-media transformation of space, time and place inspired by the woodlands of Corby.
"Our Woods" supported our ambitions for creative excellence and was the next stage of DRTT's development and the project led to a new perception of Corby as a creative woodland and urban place: a great place to live, work and play.
"Our Woods" saw professional artists, community groups and people from Corby collaborate to create brilliant art. This project brilliantly exemplified DRTT’s philosophy and approach to make new work with world class artists and we will be building on the meaningful processes, engagement and challenge of the Made in Corby, Creative People and Places programme. The project encapsulated the principles of excellence and co-creation. It placed community members at its core and which provides a thrill for both participant and audience.
Our Woods: Corby Deep Roots Tall Trees commissioned a series of innovative commissions from artists across all disciplines including musician Barb Jungr, choreographer Neil Paris and international light and sound artist, Kurt Laurenz Theinert, together with performance, spoken word, photographic and visual artists. The aim was to innovatively and creatively explore Corby’s amazing urban woodland spaces with a series of events which built over 9 months, culminating in a spectacular Finale Performance at The Core at Corby Cube followed by a Pied Piper led walk from The Core where there was a final light projection by Kurt Laurenz Theinert at The Boating Lake and Pop Up Cafe. This project was a celebration of Corby’s rural spaces: it encouraged audiences and those taking part to engage with a landscape that they know well and to discover and experience it in new and different ways. The lasting legacy of the project is a new creative walking tour of Corby. Our focus retains a strong connection to people and place, with personal stories about Corby and its people, but this project also created a universal connection and appeal and a resonance with the widest possible audience.
The project was in two phases: Phase 1 from March 2016 to December 2017 to explore, walk and imagine; and Dreaming Our Woods, the performance, which was rehearsed from January 2017 for performances on 5, 6, & 7 May 2017.
Phase 1 consisted of a series of walk based activities from leading artists and woodland experts (historians, botanists, woodland & wildlife trusts) that engage audiences and participants in exploring the woods in diverse & creative ways. At the heart of the project were new songs commissioned from Barb Jungr and community song writing group, Ring of Fire. Fermynwoods Contemporary Art delivered a strong element of the festival through public workshops and school workshops with photographer artist Virginie Litzler. This long lead time supported the true community involvement where real new links can develop between different groups of people and lead to creative and experimental collaborations. The project built on creative activity that had taken place in the woodlands previously to create a deeper and more comprehensive study. Each creative walking commission was different – based on story gathering, creative response to the woods’ history or people’s stories about what the woods and green space means to them in Corby, an archetypal ‘new town’.
We created a brochure of these artists’ interventions and walks advertising the activities and, afterwards, becoming a sustainable legacy of the project. These new walking trails will be connected to and celebrate the Corby annual Walking Festival and will be on the Love Corby and CBC websites as creative and healthy walks to encourage health and wellbeing.
The woods surrounding Corby town are part of the ancient Rockingham Forrest and there are romantic myths and legends associated with them. In recent times in contemporary Corby, people are reclaiming the woods and protesting and advocating saving them from being lost to urban development. They are at the heart of the town and these outdoor spaces, “without a threshold to cross”, will enable people to engage with both the myth and the history of protest songs in fighting for your surroundings.