Top of the world

On Top of the World

Anne Finnegan (back), Allison Forbes (fr
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Photo Credit - Joel Fildes.jpg

The On Top of the World project offers cultural opportunities that look to reduce the issues of social isolation and mental health issues in our communities. The group was born in 2015 out of the ‘On Top of the World’ partnership project produced by One Manchester and the Royal Exchange Theatre. The aim of this was to engage with isolated, elderly residents in tower blocks. The idea was to involve group members in cultural experiences which had previously been unavailable to them.

Following on from a string of well received performances at The Gorton Monastery and The Yard Theatre in 2017, residents from Gorton and Hulme tower blocks worked together again to take part in a series of acting workshops led by professional coaches.

“When I found out about this group a friend said to me 'why don't you go along, you might meet some nice people', which I have!".
Valerie Grant (in focus) then L-R Sally
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“Doing stuff like this brings me back out of myself…  It lets me feel like the person I want to be

For many of the participants this was their first exposure to theatre and performance, as they had previously viewed cultural activities as something beyond their reach. Through taking part in the project they have been to the theatre, devised and performed their own plays, and have gained much more than just new theatrical skills!

“Taking part in things like this makes me feel younger”, explained David who lives in one of our Gorton blocks:

"I love acting, and when I found out about this group a friend said to me 'why don't you go along, you might meet some nice people', which I have!".

 When Noel first joined the group he was struggling to find his confidence, he had become isolated and found it difficult to interact with other residents in his building. Since taking to the stage with On Top of the World, his confidence is back and he’s eager for more:

“Doing stuff like this brings me back out of myself… it lets me feel like the person I want to be. I like being involved in it; putting on plays, going to the theatre and the art galleries, it’s stuff I wasn’t doing before and now I’m seeing all these new things.”

The group now produces other events and community lead initiatives such as the Seanchai Social Café, the On Top of the World Writers group and regular Hooley gatherings throughout the year. The focus of the sessions are always around bringing the community together in a safe space where they can share stories and build new connections. These sessions are always good fun filled with lots of laughter.

 

Find more info here -

Creative Writing Class

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Seanchai Social Cafe

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