Welcome to our 10 years’ anniversary production!
I cannot quite believe Cotton Shed is 10 years old.
I first heard about Cotton Shed when I attended an open event back in 2007 at Haslingden High School. It was hosted by Chickenshed, London’s renowned inclusive theatre company, and three local schools who had plans to set up an inclusive theatre company in Lancashire.
After finding out more I knew right away that this was something I wanted to get involved in and be a part of. I was lucky enough to get the role of artistic leader alongside 3 other facilitators. In 2008 we started running just two workshops a week with a handful of participants. Over the years Cotton Shed has expanded creating many inclusive productions, running various projects throughout the community and hosting sharings and performances every year. We currently run 8 weekly sessions alongside our various outreach projects and productions. I am very proud of how far Cotton Shed has come over the past 10 years and of all the members, leaders and volunteers who have helped it become what it is today.
Cotton Shed is unique as we believe the creative, inclusive process during workshops and rehearsals is just as important as the end production. Everyone’s individuality and creativity is acknowledged at each weekly session and tonight is a celebration of all the innovative and original ideas the members themselves have invented alongside their peers and the artistic team.
As it is our 10th year we wanted to create something special and involve all 4 of the theatre groups for the first time within the performance. With a cast of over 80 performers of all ages and abilities this was not the easiest of challenges but one that we knew would be incredibly moving and uplifting if it worked.
‘The Divide’ is about one man’s dream for a better world- a world where people do not discriminate, where everyone is accepted for who they are and a world where people are happy to be themselves and do not have to change or pretend to be something or somebody they are not, just to fit in.
It is no coincidence that Cotton Shed came about in a similar way- one man’s dream to create a place, a theatre company where everyone is welcome, everyone is accepted and everybody’s aspirations, dreams and creativity are celebrated.
Thank you, Andy Squire for making this dream a reality and enhancing the lives of so many children, young people and adults throughout East Lancashire.
A big thank you must also go to the parents, carers and members of Cotton Shed. Without your support we could not carry out the work we do.
I am very thankful to work for a charity that makes a difference in the community and hope that through Cotton Shed we can continue to do so for another 10 years and beyond.
I hope you enjoy watching ‘The Divide’ as much as we enjoyed creating it.