Cry Witch Project-S2 Creative

Artist Evaluation-Imogen Ashby
March 2024

Photo of wreaths created by 12 women living in the S2 area of Sheffield that communicated the qualities and experience they wanted to ‘pass on’ to younger women.

“This was a really life affirming and joyful project, bringing together 12 women aged over 50 living in the S2 area of Sheffield, recruited by MCDT and together with Debbie Moon from Moonko we created wreaths that communicated the qualities and experience they wanted to ‘pass on’ to younger women in particular.

Bearing in mind the subject matter in terms of The Crucible and the hanging of witches, it was surprising how the women used the group as an opportunity to talk about what they enjoyed about getting older and the lessons life had taught them about gratitude, empathy, self- belief and ‘believing in magic’.

Being based in the ‘heart’ of the theatre was an unexpected bonus as the group was ‘visible’ to everyone passing and also felt part of something bigger. Simon and Connie worked hard to make sure the space was prepared and worked with the activities. You might not have expected the open foyer to be the most contained space but it felt like the women made it their own and enjoyed coming into such a grand area.

Photo of wreaths created by 12 women living in the S2 area of Sheffield that communicated the qualities and experience they wanted to ‘pass on’ to younger women.

Music became part of the offer as the women made their wreaths and shared songs. This added to the sense of joy and also became a way in which we were heard in the space.

Initially as a theatre person I wasn’t sure what would be my way into the sessions but it soon became clear that with Debbie we could create wreaths that had an intention and a ‘message’ and we used drama and theatre-based activities to explore what it meant to be an older woman, what our super power was and what we wished we’d known when we were younger. We used character and symbolism to protect the women from looking at difficult personal material and the group agreement meant the women were able to feel safe while exploring these issues. This combined with the pleasure of making the wreaths meant the project was contained and nourishing in a very particular way.

Attendance was really good and the women talked about how much they loved being together at the theatre and they loved the smell and meaning behind the flowers. Working with Debbie, Connie and Simon was fab.

There was sadness expressed at the group ending and we worked during the last two sessions to articulate what we had gained and also what we would take with us and were mindful about ending the group with a ritual and saying goodbye. Although good for the group this did mean we were on the backfoot in terms of hanging the wreaths and in hindsight maybe this needed to happen at a different time so we could just focus on that or we finish the session a bit sooner so we had enough time?

Always hope there are more opportunities to develop projects in the S2 area, such a diverse and inspiring group of women who seem to be able to turn their mind to pretty much anything!”

Artist Evaluation-Imogen Ashby
March 2024

Photo of wreaths created by 12 women living in the S2 area of Sheffield that communicated the qualities and experience they wanted to ‘pass on’ to younger women.