February 2020 – January 2023
Surge has developed a brand new street theatre show – Parasite Street Science – with Professor Annette MacLeod’s research group at the Wellcome Centre at the University of Glasgow which was presented at Surge Festival in Glasgow in July 2021. Prof. MacLeod’s area of research is African Sleeping Sickness and we have been working on ways of improving communication and public engagement skills of scientists through the art of street theatre.
As part of the project, Paige Webber – a microbiology undergraduate at the University of Glasgow – has developed a series of short films that support the collaboration:
Photos of the show at Surge Festival can be found here (photo credit Ingrid Mur):
We made a 360˚ video of the show, below!
After the project, Paige also produced a film that includes photos and footage from the show itself and interviews with the scientists and performers, below.
This pilot project was funded by the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund via a grant from the MVLS Engagement with Research Fund and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology and the Microbiology Society, and delivered in partnership with Surge, Prof Annette MacLeod, Dr Walt Adamson (IBAHCM), Dr Nicola Veitch (SLS) and Dr Vickie Curtis (WCIP)).
Annette MacLeod’s group was awarded funding by Wellcome-ScotPEN to take their successful Parasite Street Science project (https://tinyurl.com/ParasiteStreetScience) to Malawi in October 2022 to work in areas affected by African sleeping sickness, using street theatre as a route to engaging the public with their research.
The team travelled to Rumphi and Nkhotakota to work with a group of health promotion officers, medical staff, two professional performers from VOICES Malawi and four community participants who had previously been affected by African sleeping sickness. Our newly-developed Talk About Tsetses performance was created in rehearsals in Rumphi and toured to local villages, football and netball bonanazas and marketplaces in Rumphi and Nkhotakota over a period of two weeks.
We collaborated with dance troupes Lugo Cultural Team in Rumphi and Chiusi Kanada Dance Group and the Gule Wamkulu dancers in Nkhotakota, whose energy and skill attracted fantastic crowds.
Our activities were covered by local radio stations in Malawi and the programmes created will be made available to radio listening clubs to engage audiences in Q&A sessions and to continue the conversation about African Trypanosomiasis.
We worked with final year Pharmacology BSc (Hons) student at University of Glasgow, Tiarna Meehan, who produced a stop motion animation as part of her project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuQLQ_Mq7u0
Please also check out:
The UK team were overwhelmed by the warm welcome and support we received in Malawi and would like to thank the Malawi team for the opportunity to work with them on this project. We hope that this work will lead to more opportunities to work together on projects of this nature in the future.
A collaboration between the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology, University of Glasgow School of Life Sciences, Surge, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, and Malawi VOICES.
With thanks to our funders: ScotPEN-Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Grant, Microbiologiy Society Education and Outreach Grant, MVLS Engagement with Research Fund, University of Glasgow Wellcome Centre for Integrative Parasitology, Creative Scotland.
Thank you to the Directorates of Health and Social Services for Nkhotakota and Rumphi District Councils, Partick Thistle Football Club, The Scottish Football Supporters Association, Ross Corbett, Glasgow University Football Club and Bo’ness United Community Football Club for their support of our project.
This project is funded by the ScotPEN Wellcome Engagement Award (Wellcome Project Number 217078/Z/19/Z)
COMMUNITY STREET THEATRE TOUR
January 2020 – September 2022
See our Community Street Theatre Tour in action:
Surge was delighted to announce that we have been awarded grants from The Foyle Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation and The Hugh Fraser Foundation to deliver our Community Street Theatre Project in Scotland over 3 years. We’d like to thank the Trustees for their support of our project.
To start the project, Surge worked with New College Lanarkshire students from the BA Acting course in February 2020 to develop brand new acts for our Community Street Theatre project. One of these acts – The Turtles – was performed several times by participants during the project and a favourite in many festivals.
In September 2020 Surge worked with Kayos Theatre Company as part of Galoshans Festival to devise 2 new street theatre pieces from scratch: The Concreatures and The TV Heads. The costumes have been made by Scotland-based costume designer Annie Hiner.
In October 2020 Surge took the Community Street Theatre project to Moray, in partnership with Findhorn Bay Arts. We delivered a series of socially distanced workshops during the week and then supported participants to share their acts with the local community in Forres and Findhorn.
You can read about this project here: Forres Local & Press & Journal
In July 2021 the participants from Findhorn Bay Arts came to Surge Festival/ Merchant City Festival in Glasgow and performed The Turtles and Kayos Youth Theatre performed their Concreatures and TV Heads acts. It was fantastic to see them out in the streets with their act.
We had a busy month in July 2021, we travelled to Inverness and Alness and worked with a group of young people in partnership with Eden Court Theatre through their Cashback for Communities Programme. They had a great time performing Fish Fandango and The Turtles out in the streets. We are hoping to return to the Highlands this summer with more street theatre! You can read about this project here: Ross-shire Journal
In October 2021 Kayos Youth Theatre performed The Turtles and The Concreatures acts as part of Galoshans Festival 2021 in Greenock, finally getting out on the streets in their hometown a year late due to the Covid-19 crisis. Absolutely joyous to see them in action.
We were delighted to welcome students from Fife College and Edinburgh College to take part in street theatre workshops and perform at Surge Festival/ Merchant City Festival in July 2022.
In August 2022 we visited Arran and brought CST to the local community in partnership with Arran Theatre and Arts Trust, performing in the grounds of the spectacular NTS Brodick Castle.
For the final part of our street theatre project we delivered workshops in Kirkcaldy, Fife as part of Fife Pride and the participants performed as part of the celebrations in the town centre.
Thank you to the Trustees of The Foyle Foundation, The Hugh Fraser Foundation and The Garfield Weston Foundation that made this possible and thank you to all our partners that hosted us, participants and trainee directors that took part and communities that made us feel so welcome. Watch this space for more Community Street Theatre next year…
Thanks also to Magic Little Grants for providing funding for green travel, to our acts and staff.