GL4 are based in the heart of the Matson Estate, bringing theatre and art into the local community and encouraging its development there. Through the support of Strike A Light and other partners, GL4 hosted their first entirely independent event Mix & Move at Robinswood Primary School, as part of their sister festival to Strike A Light 2018. The assembly hall was packed with an audience of proud and engaged parents and supporters, who gathered to be part of a true demonstration of grassroots, locally focused arts provision.
GL4’s arts practice is based around collaboration with artists and investment in the young people of Matson. Gloucester beatboxers 5 Mics and RISE Youth Bristol have been working alongside them in after school clubs and workshops, teaching them skills and techniques to express themselves here in their first public performance. The beatboxers take to the stage as GL4 Beats and are astoundingly good, producing sounds that you’d never know could come from a human body. Not only is the music they’re making a skill that they have learnt fresh for themselves, but by performing it to their parents and other members of the community they show them too. Their fierce little group later form a ‘10 Mics’ super group with their teachers from 5 Mics to hype up the crowd with their skill and confidence.
Similarly, the small children learning their first dance steps and performing for their parents are shown by the performers from RISE where their practicing could lead. They see the kind of movement that these more experienced dancers perform, and the potential of that work to hold the attention of an audience. This fact, that the artists teaching these young people perform alongside them is striking – a primary school hall hosting accomplished dancers and professional musicians. As the proportion of young people with access to arts sessions in schools and colleges falls, events like Mix & Move provide something to aspire to for the young people first starting out in their journey as artists, and shows that exciting performance work can be as at home in Matson as anywhere else.
- Lewis Church
Links relevant to this diagnosis:
Creative Subjects Being Squeezed - BBC News
Proportion of Students Taking Arts Subjects Falls - Guardian (2017)