Life's Good
An event held at the Peace Church Berwick
on 12 March 2022

Cheryl Stewart and Jackie Kaines Lang came up with the idea of an
evening celebrating life and nature for a few reasons.

  • A longing to create a community creative performance after the two years of lockdowns where so much in-person and collective creative endeavour was suspended or sidelined. We longed to be with other performers and creators making something uplifting and affirming both for those involved and for an audience. We spoke to friends who felt the same. We both had pieces we wanted to create/perform and we built on those to make the programme.

  • Cheryl’s community dance piece The Lost Words (inspired by the book by Robert Macfarlane about word from nature that are slipping out of common usage) was created in one day at an open rehearsal. It was wonderful to see older and younger dancers moving together in harmony to the beautiful music of Karine Polwart and the evocative handpan played live by Neil Coles.

  • Jackie's play ‘Love of Trees’ was inspired by the Sheffield Street Tree campaign. It takes place over the course of a handful of days when a father (Mac – played by Joe Lang) takes up residence in a tree outside his daughter’s house (played by Susie Cochrane).

 

Each element of the evening highlighted our co-dependence on nature and its healing and transformative properties: from Sarah Riseborough’s wonderfully hypnotic ‘Creation Story’ to Chloë Smith’s exploration of climate grief which involved trying (and failing) to carry five chairs at once, and Claire Ward’s sublime sculptures which represent the fragile balance of nature and humankind with beach-picked rubber tyres interwoven with fabric scraps and the crevices of a fallen oak branch painstakingly stuffed with plastic fruit nets. Steve Taylor and Helen Moffit encouraged audience participation with their rendition of Karine Polwart folk songs and Tamsin Davidson effortlessly held the 100 plus people in The Peace Church spellbound with her take on Quilter’s ‘Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal’ and Britten’s ‘The Salley Gardens’.

 

All funds from the evening were donated to Friends of Castle Parks to go towards the work they do helping maintain and enhance the parks and run free family events in them. The total donated was £422.

 

Cheryl and Jackie truly believe that projects such as their evening deliver more than the sum of their parts. It’s easy, when there is so much to worry about in the world – from Covid to climate and from personal traumas to Putin’s outrageous attack on Ukraine – to feel disempowered and voiceless. Acts of creativity are a way of re-finding a voice, coming together as a community, collectively celebrating life and exploring new ways to engage with the world we all live in.

They would like to thank every performer, helper and audience member for a fantastic night.

Love of Trees 1
Love of Trees 1

Love of Trees was written by Jackie, featuring Joe Lang and Susie Cochrane

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Love of Trees 2
Love of Trees 2

Love of Trees was written by Jackie, featuring Joe Lang and Susie Cochrane

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The Lost Words 1
The Lost Words 1

Cheryl’s community dance piece The Lost Words

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The Lost Words 2
The Lost Words 2

Cheryl’s community dance piece The Lost Words

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Climate grief
Climate grief

Chloë Smith’s exploration of climate grief

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