Ambitious community project will celebrate loved museum

Voices from the Workhouse is a three-year Heritage Lottery Fund project, which has transformed the m

Voices from the Workhouse is a three-year Heritage Lottery Fund project, which has transformed the museum displays and helped to tell the real stories of the people who lived and worked in the workhouse. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Norfolk Museums Service has been awarded £67,923 by Arts Council England to deliver 'Together To The Workhouse Door' as part of a community engagement project.

The project will celebrate the transformation of Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse through the Heritage Lottery Fund HLF-supported Voices.

The Workhouse project has delivered a redevelopment of the museum's workhouse galleries.

Norfolk Museums Service will commission a major new oratorio by composer, James Redwood and poet, Lucy Sheerman.

The new site-specific work will draw inspiration from the nationally important archives and collections at Gressenhall, one of the most important and best preserved workhouses in the UK.

The new oratorio and collaborative work will be premiered at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse on Wednesday 7th June 2017.

'Together To the Workhouse Door' will animate some of the many rich stories and voices of people at the Workhouse, raising awareness of the social and cultural heritage as well as inspiring local communities to develop their own creative responses to the site and its unique collections.

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Hedley Swain, South East Area Director for Arts Council England, said: 'Norfolk has a wonderful museum service and Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse is one of its highlights. We are really excited to be supporting this project which sees a range of artists working with the local community to give new meaning and significance to the archives and collections. It is a really great example of arts, culture and heritage working together.'

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council's Communities Committee and Norfolk Arts Forum Executive Committee, said: 'Gressenhall has a special place in people's hearts. To have this love and support translated into music is a truly inspirational idea. It will provide a unique interpretation of the people who inhabited Gressenhall workhouse and their lives and provide a wonderful memorial to them.'

Marianne Barraclough, Education Manager at Sinfonia Viva said 'We are absolutely delighted to be working on this wonderful project as part of such an inspiring partnership. We can't wait to meet the participants and to start bringing some of the rich stories from Gressenhall workhouse to life through words and music.'

Stuart Bruce, Partnership Manager at Orchestras Live, said: 'We are thrilled that this unique project is going ahead. It will enable many people in Norfolk to participate in and experience a brand new site-specific event with one of the country's leading chamber orchestras.'

Jan Pitman, Learning Manager at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, Norfolk Museums Service, said: 'The stories of the people who lived and worked at Gressenhall are fascinating, providing a unique insight into this period of our shared history. We're excited by the prospect to work with such creative and talented partners to explore these voices with local schools and communities.'

Alison Corfield, Head of Norfolk Music Service, said: 'The Norfolk Music Hub are thrilled to be involved in this one of a kind project and excited to see it unfold over the coming months.'