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Aspire! Learning & Participation

Inspiring creativity

The Lichfield Festival’s ASPIRE programme for Learning and Participation was established in 2009, with the aim to offer unique engagement opportunities for the residents of Lichfield and the surrounding areas.  ASPIRE aims to engage individuals of all ages in activity which inspires, raises awareness, increases self-confidence and expands creative thinking.

Over the past 7 years the ASPIRE programme has worked with thousands of individuals in schools, community groups and partner organisations to achieve these aims.  Projects are curated by the Festival team, and are unique to Lichfield Festival.

The development of this unique project series since 2009, has earned the Lichfield Festival a strong reputation for producing high quality learning experiences and has lead to a focus on community involvement being central to the Lichfield Festival.

ASPIRE Project’s 2018

Community Puppetry Parade

The Community Animal Parade is a large community parade through the City Centre on the first Saturday evening of the Lichfield Festival, Saturday 7 July 2018. The parade will be a visually-arresting community event to finish off the first big community day of activity at the Lichfield Festival Market. Commencing at 6pm from outside the Guildhall, Bore Street.

Working with professional puppetry companies, schools and community groups from across the West Midlands will create giant animal puppets that will process from the City Centre to Lichfield Cathedral ahead of the performance of Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Ark). The parade will also feature masks and lanterns created by members of the public in workshops throughout the day as well as stunning puppets created by the professional puppetry companies.

The performance of Noye’s Fludde will feature music by the students from Chetham’s School of Music, joined by aspiring musicians from the local area. It will be sung by a children’s choir of over 100 voices, drawn from schools across the region.

Hear My Voice

The Lichfield Festival’s Hear My Voice Scheme is an ongoing programme of work, which aims to engage with isolated groups and individuals across communities where there is little arts exposure and with those who struggle to find a means or platform to express their ideas and opinions. Using storytelling and group-work textile arts activities the scheme hopes to foster conversation and understanding leading to personal relationships and networks which continue to move forward following the project.  Participants will work towards creating a patchwork storytelling tent using screen printed fabric and filled with the sounds of the participants stories.

From September 2018 the completed Storytent will be offered out on tour to schools, to inspire ideas for creative writing in Children. The Children will then visit the original Isolated Groups to celebrate with the creative writing that the participant’s stories inspired.

All of the stories gathered will then inform the next stage of the Hear My Voice scheme, which will focus on theatre and performance and will look to work with members of the community who struggle with communication through disability or language barriers.

Trench Brothers

Photo: © CLIVE BARDA/ArenaPAL;

Trench Brothers is a heritage, puppetry and music project for primary school children, which explores the histories of ethnic minority soldiers who fought for the UK in the First World War. HMDT Music’s project offers participating schools up to a term’s-worth of work that is fully integrated in to the curriculum and which includes a series of workshops with professional artists. The project builds to a performance of a new music theatre piece by Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor bringing all elements of the workshops together.

The Lichfield Festival and HMDT Music, in partnership with the National Memorial Arboretum will bring the Trench Brothers project to Staffordshire for the first time. This will be the only performance of this project within the Midlands area and for the first time in the project’s history, the final performance will not take place in individual schools but will be a joint performance for all schools at the National Memorial Arboretum itself.

 The Lichfield Festival is working with a range of schools from across Staffordshire, to foster cross-cultural awareness and develop long-lasting links between them.

The ASPIRE! Programme works with an array of children, young people and adults each year on a range of arts projects, culminating in showcases at the Lichfield Festival and Lichfield Literature Festival.We are always keen to hear from schools, community organisations and individuals who would like to get involved in our projects.  We also have an open application process for artists and facilitators looking to join our pool of project practitioners.

To be added to our schools list or for other ASPIRE! enquiries please contact [email protected]