The big day has finally arrived. And what a spectacular day it was! A bright, sunny and warm day, not exactly typical of Manchester; apparently the magic spells did an excellent job.
The Parade was led by a group of 22 young children holding pink balloons, commemorating the 22 victims of the Manchester attack, followed by the rest of the groups, all representing their own interpretation of “abracadabra”. Europia with the “Rush Hour Reverie” theme transported the spectators to the deep forests of Eastern and Central Europe and the mythical creatures that live in them. Frederyk the Fern, Krysia the Cloud, Boguslaw the Beast, Paloma the Bird, Zaba the Frog and Marek the Moss Man broke the concrete fetters and escaped into nature.
Responsible for all these is our artistic team Hannah Wadle and Ruta Staseviciute, their mentor Michael Pavelka and his assistant Stella Cecil. They worked under the Walk the Plank’s ELEVATE artist development programme and we thought it would be great to give Hannah and Ruta the opportunity to share their experiences with us from the programme.
RUTA: “The ELEVATE programme was a challenge and an inspiration for me. Being part of it allowed Hannah and me to have a much bigger budget than the previous year which meant I could really push myself creatively and take risks. Judging by the feedback from the Walk the Plank team it seems like it paid off (I hope!). It definitely gave a boost to my confidence and inspired me to embark on further and bigger creative adventures. Michael’s constructive feedback was a great input and he was not afraid to get his hands dirty and helped me a good deal with the making of different parts of the float. Working with him and Hannah definitely has taught me further team building and collaboration skills. I am incredibly proud of Hannah for all that she achieved and believe that as we continue on our creative paths our confidence will grow and we will learn more and more how to manage stress (the worst enemy of the artist!).”
HANNAH: “Being part of the ELEVATE programme was a great opportunity; it meant we had two mentors, scenographer and theatre stage designer Michael Pavelka and costume designer Stella Cecil, who would push us working on our contribution to MDP. This, on the one hand, made us think about the conceptual framework of our piece and how to translate the ideas into pieces that could be visually read by an audience and on the other hand, it offered us help and experience in the making process of the costumes and centrepieces. The programme and mentoring pushed me to experiment with new techniques and to raise my artistic standards. It also helped me to identify areas, in which I would like to develop myself and learn skills. The mentoring programme follows the idea of apprenticeship for artists: making and receiving mentoring on the side. I think it is an amazing concept that really works and creates solidary between artists as well as valuable knowledge exchange. You also learn how other people work and as you do, you learn about yourself and your compatibilities and incompatibilities. Also doing over hours was tiring but it was also an opportunity for learning. Thank you, Ruta, for another shared experience of MDP – I’ll dearly keep it in my memories and hope we’ll get together for another project in the near future.”
As for their thoughts on the actual parade? They both agree it is a great concept and a wonderful opportunity for local communities to come together in order to embrace and celebrate the diverse cultures and traditions in a creative way and “tell their own story which together becomes a tale of Manchester” as Ruta points out. A perfect example of unity, imagination and creativity for every city. World, take notes!