WOR SEAHORSE SPECTACLE
Wor Seahorse Spectacle was a community puppetry and heritage project run in 2023. It involved 170 North East of England residents. We ran four months of workshops where everyone could get creative, learn new skills and meet new friends. A colourful puppet parade was then performed in the centre of Newcastle to thousands of people and to open Newcastle Puppetry Festival 2023.
Wor Seahorse Spectacle shone a bright and colourful light on Newcastle’s maritime heritage, Roman mythology and Geordie pride. The project explored and celebrated the historic links between Newcastle and the charismatic sea creature; the seahorse.
Lead Artists: Calum Bruce, Chloe Rodham, Judith Hope, Kathleen Yore, Rosie Bristow, William Steele
Heritage Lead: David Silk
Assistant Artists: Ellie Phillips, Georgia Hill
Illustration: Rachael Horner
Animation: Chloe Rodham
Funders: The National Lottery Heritage Fund, The D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Joicey Trust
Project Venue Partners: Brunswick Methodist Church, John Marley Centre, Newcastle City Library
A huge thank you to the 170 participants who attended puppet making and heritage workshops, and performed in the parade on Northumberland Street!
Special thanks to participants from Arcadea Disability Arts, Curious Arts, Cullercoats Outdoor Swimmers, Jack Drum Arts, The Bangshees, Twisting Ducks Theatre Company and West End Refugee Service. Also to Bell & Bullock Street Theatre for being part of the parade!
Read Heritage Lead David Silk's project summary blog by clicking here:
"Throughout the workshops I learnt new skills, connected with local history and heritage, and by the time the parade arrived, we were all one community working together."
– Wor Seahorse Spectacle Participant
Creative and heritage workshops
In the lead up to the parade we ran 13 creative and heritage workshops for 170 people from the North East of England. These workshops were a mixture between discovering the links between seahorses and Newcastle's heritage, and learning puppet making skills. Everyone who attended these workshops helped in some way to build the two giant seahorse puppets that were pride of place in the parade. The manes of the seahorses were made up of silk strips with slogans written by participants. Slogans included everything from "Shy Bairns Get Nowt!" to "Swim Against the Tide" to "Share Your Boat To Stay Afloat". Some of these were turned into huge banners in the parade.