Litfest is a key partner in the Mythic Coast project, which is part of the regeneration of Wyre’s waterfronts. The project resulted from a cash injection from the Government’s Sea Change programme, which recognises schemes that have the potential to regenerate seaside towns through cultural and environmental enhancements. Match funding came through contributions from Wyre Borough Council and the support of the Lofthouse family, makers of the world-famous Fisherman’s Friend, manufactured in Fleetwood.
The project developed a narrative for the seafront from Cleveleys to Fleetwood to draw people along the coastline and connect communities.
The Sea Swallow was written by children’s author Gareth Thompson and published by Litfest. His story brings together the project’s aims: to reference landmarks across the Wyre; be appropriate for staging or outdoor performance; have contributions from the local community; include educational and geographical reference points; be adaptable for website and other multi-media follow-ups and open up themes for large-scale sculpture and public artworks. The Sea Swallow is his fourth book. His previous novels, published by Random House, met instant critical acclaim.
The book is illustrated by Wyre Way Mythic Coastline competition winner Hannah Megee. Hannah’s creative flair saw her beat off stiff competition from over 100 artists in the nationwide search for the right illustrator to convey the The Sea Swallow’s themes in captivating imagery.
Hannah’s designs also provided the inspiration for the Mythic Coast artworks which have been created by public artist Stephen Broadbent. Stephen is creating a sculpture trail, telling The Sea Swallow story, that visitors can touch and play with. The first sculptures were unveiled on Cleveleys promenade in Autumn 2011, with more sculptures to come, up and down Wyre’s waterfront. Other artists are taking inspiration from this project to create their own brilliant versions of the story, including a mural installation at Fleetwood’s Marine Hall, and Louise Wood’s hand-sized ceramic sculptures.
In July 2011, copies of The Sea Swallow were given to 4,200 Wyre schoolchildren aged 7 – 11. The book is also available to buy online.
Litfest’s Artistic Director Andy Darby was part of the Beyond the Castle co-design team and now sits as part of the steering group.
The Beyond the Castle project wants to create a high-quality public space around Lancaster’s historic castle and priory, down the hill and over the meadows to the quayside.
The first step invited everyone to imagine and design the possibilities. ‘Beyond the Castle’ asked people of all ages to share their thoughts and big ideas in a series of fun events over summer and autumn 2012. Together with a team of designers and volunteers, people will had the chance to develop the first plans, with the aim of revitalising this space.
Andy was the lead on the Just Imagine… All the Stories event, in which participants had to undertake a quest to find out what was needed for a perfect day out Beyond the Castle.
Litfest was one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant for its Castle Park Stories project.
The project encouraged local people to uncover the hidden stories in the area around the castle and develop writing around a site of their choice. In January and February 2013, more than 30 project participants took part in a series of research visits and workshops. Working with a historian, writers, a photographer, archivists and designers, participants uncovered stories and explored ways of sharing them. Their work was presented as a multimedia exhibition, which showed at the Storey at the end of February 2013 before transferring to Lancaster library. You can explore the online version of the exhibition here.
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