Two North Somerset based arts flagships – award-winning Theatre Orchard and Culture Weston – have united under the new ‘Super Culture’ banner.
The merger heralds a period of exciting change as the two come together with the shared vision to grow an ambitious, playful and inclusive creative culture in North Somerset. This will be represented through world class festivals such as Whirligig, events and live performance, creative talent development and a year-round participation programme. The new name – Super Culture – recognises the organisation’s wider remit to promote and support all that is best in creativity and culture across North Somerset, while remaining rooted in Weston-super-Mare.
Why we joined Without Walls
It is great to be part of a network with organisations who can share experiences and insights. Since joining, we have learnt so much from other organisations across the UK and from Without Walls who know the ropes and how to scale them to reach new heights. The team are approachable, friendly and flexible.
We also value the associated benefits of supporting audience engagement work, a strand that is particularly important to our vision. In 2020 Without Walls supported out desire to translate a live arts engagement project into the digital realm with ‘Holidaying at Home’ (Megan Clark-Bagnall/Ramona Bigwood). The resulting project was showcased as the English example of good practise at a webinar to launch Health & Wellbeing Week exploring Creative Practise in time of Covid and reached an international audience.
Without Walls’ programming offers new experiences to our volunteer body. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our volunteers and for everyone to feel part of something bigger is a great mental boost.
In 2020 we launched a new producer role focusing on audience engagement, thanks to match funding from Without Walls. Following the year-long pilot we were able to fund a version of this role on a sustained basis, consolidating a commitment to reaching and working with diverse communities as a core tenet of our programme.
Impact on Local Communities
Most of the audiences for ‘Whirligig’ are local, and represent the wide social demographic of the town. The event also attracts day visitors from the surrounding area as well as some tourists from across the UK and occasional international visitors. In the lead-up to the Festival, the Super Culture team run engagement projects in more isolated communities that broaden participation and deepen the audience’s experience of the event itself.
What's Happening at Super Culture
Super Culture’s flagship festival, Whirligig in Weston-super-Mare, is a vibrant, weekend event in the heart of the town that presents a mix of local, national and international outdoor arts. Super Culture also involves local organisations such as XR, Weston Pride and Weston College in associated creative activity on the Festival site in order to embed Whirligig firmly in the heart of the community.
The festival is playful and family-friendly, and Super Culture look for content that challenges, surprises, inspires and entertains. They proactively programme work that encourages people to think about social issues experienced through a creative lens. They also proactively programme work that demonstrates cultural diversity.
Banner – High Flying Sky, Collectif Malunes, © Marie Monteiro
What’s Happening – Whirligig, Dizzy ODare, © AL Photography
Slideshow – © Super Culture