Rose Fair street art workshops

Get stuck into spray painting and sculpture making with umbrellas, guided by street artist Nick Shove in the lead up to Wisbech Rose Fair.

These drop-in workshops are free and suitable for all ages (under 16s should be accompanied by an adult). The sculpture that is created in these workshops will then be on display during Wisbech Rose Fair on Saturday 29th June.

Dates/times: Saturday 15th June 10am – 3pm or Friday 21st June 10am – 5pm

Location: REMO Eco-Superstore in Wisbech.

No booking required, just turn up.

Art Road Trip

MarketPlace has partnered with The National Gallery for Art Road Trip as part of their 200th year celebrations. Together we have curated a two week creative programme designed to bring art and creativity to communities in Wisbech and Mildenhall. This July, we are welcoming an art studio across multiple locations in both towns, along with a range of free, open to all, hands on creative workshops.

The travelling studio will be stationed at various locations across Wisbech from 1-7 July and Mildenhall from 8-14 July, (exact dates and times to be confirmed), with free workshops and interactive activities for all. We’ll be encouraging everyone to get creative, inspired by the theme of ‘Look up and take to the skies’ in Mildenhall, and ‘More than meets the eye in Wisbech. Two incredible artists from The National Gallery will be leading these sessions, exploring a variety of techniques and practices.

Community Workshops Throughout June

Wisbech:
We will be working with artist Ann Bellamy and using found pictures from local charity shops to explore the theme ‘More than meets the eye’. Ann will be working at Peckover House and across Wisbech before the Art Road Trip starts in July.

Mildenhall:
We will be running community creative writing workshops in June exploring the theme of ‘Look up and take to the skies’. The writing that comes from these sessions will then be available to inspire anyone who joins us in July for Art Road Trip.

Later this year we will be exhibiting a series of the artworks across both towns, developed with the communities and with an accompanying guide. More details on the exhibition will be shared later this year.

Wisbech Stories

Taking place at the Wisbech Adventure Playground, the workshop series is for ages 9+ and is led by artist Karin Forman, with playworkers on hand for support. The sessions cover creative activities such as screen-printing, clay work and crochet. The activities are inspired by objects from Wisbech & Fenland Museum, such as ‘witch’ bottles and Viking brooches. The young people taking part will be given exclusive hands-on access to the collection.

The first workshop will take place on Saturday 23 September from 1-4pm and will run for five consecutive Saturdays. The series is in collaboration with The Spinney Adventure Playground and Wisbech & Fenland Museum.

For more information and to book your space, email peggy@cppmarketplace.co.uk or speak to the playworkers at The Spinney Playground

National Play Day

Playday is the national day for play, celebrated each year across the UK on the first Wednesday in August.

MarketPlace works closely with the children and playworkers at The Spinney Adventure Playground, Wisbech. We were invited again to be part of this exciting annual event in the centre of Waterlees Estate.

The Playday theme for this year wasPlaying on a shoestring – making every day an adventure’, with the focus on the everyday low-cost or no-cost play adventures that children can enjoy at home, in settings, and in our communities.

Having spoken to the playworkers and children at the Spinney, they were keen to see something sculptural as well combining the textile elements from the Wisbech Stories arts programme MarketPlace is producing in partnership with the Spinney Adventure Playground and Wisbech & Fenland Museum.

MarketPlace put together an exciting activity pushing the boundaries of traditional cross stitching. Participants used yarn, string, cord and even shoe laces to stitch directly onto fence panels. This, alongside stitching onto some hessian fabric using coloured wools with Textile Designer Karin Forman, created a wonderful learning platform for children and adults alike. An inexpensive, frugal way to create, craft and play. Graffitiing with yarn!

One mother said how good it was for her son to improve his motor skills, through play. Other children were surprised at how much fun it was to stitch with coloured wool to make a picture. Someone asked if they could stitch on their fence at home – we said they had to ask their parents or carers first! But it shows how art, play and a few household items can engage the imagination.

The activity inspired participants to sit and play with string and yarn –  some people stayed for hours, stitching on the fence and fabric. We also handed out free cross stitch kits for those who were eager to continue the activity at home. 

Fancy Fencing was also a catalyst to inspire people to come and join in our Wisbech Stories programme taking place on Saturdays from 23  September to 21 October at the Spinney Adventure Playground.


Peggy Mends, Creative Producer, Fenland

Wisbech Rose Fair

This year was the 60th anniversary of the Wisbech Rose Fair. After a few dormant years due to covid, events were set up around the town centre for the Fair’s return.

Free art activities were set up by MarketPlace in the courtyard of Wisbech & Fenland Museum. We supported the public to create an interactive, giant sculptural cross-stitch on the fences, plus communal stitching onto hessian fabric. We also provided the materials and support to make an artificial flower crown for people to keep.

Artist Karin Forman was there to facilitate the activities along with the MarketPlace team. Free cross stitch beginner packs were also given out to those who were interested to continue learning the craft at home. 

We also listened to the community about their ideas and what they would like at future events. There were lots of conversations, with feedback, insights and the forging of new community relationships.

Case Study: Surviving Lockdown

This case study is part of our project evaluation for Phase 2.

During the first summer of the pandemic in 2020, MarketPlace supported Wisbech photographers Jenna Bristow and Steve Hubbard of Click Therapy CIC to create a collection of images that tell a story of a town coping with Covid19. The project developed into an exploration into the connection between the medium of photography to support people’s wellbeing and mental health.

Read the full Surviving Lockdown case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.


An excerpt from the case study:

During the first summer of the pandemic in 2020, Wisbech photographers Jenna Bristow and Steve Hubbard of Click Therapy CIC created a collection of images that tell a story of a town coping with Covid19. As photographers interested in using digital cameras to support people’s wellbeing and mental health, they invited local residents to contribute three words that summed up their life experiences during lockdown as a portrait and record of Wisbech in that time. The Creative Conversations in Lockdown commission created a book of resident feelings and stories left over a dedicated phone and text service called Lockdown Easedown. They were capturing a universal moment in time this project was revisited for further development.

As the pandemic continued, a further investment was made to continue to evolve this project idea and document the impact of the latest lockdown on residents. The power of sharing and telling stories that resonated from the first book, ‘Lockdown Easedown’, was highlighted as a development opportunity to be embedded from the beginning of this second commission. Partnering with writer Bel Greenwood, lunchtime online workshops developed the creative writing skills and contributions of Wisbech residents, the Click Therapy artists and community organisers to reflect upon their experiences.

The participants wanted to share their stories more widely, they lent themselves to being performed but the participants didn’t want to do that themselves, so a connection with the local theatre group was made. The vulnerable nature of some of the stories being shared could have left participants increasingly vulnerable by sharing them directly, alongside developing new skills to adapt and perform their work. Drawing upon the skills and interests of community producer Jodie Hicks, she reformed her theatre troupe to bring the experiences of selected stories to life and launch the second book, ‘Surviving Lockdown’.

“I’ve been in a theatre group with my friends Chris and Glenn for a couple of years. So we haven’t actually done anything for a long time, and then I started working for MarketPlace. Colin, Creative Agent, spoke about my interests, and I said my primary interest is theatre and stuff like that. Colin, just kind of, came up to me and said, ‘I have an idea I’ve been working on with Click Therapy that would lend itself quite well to kind of theatrical reading. And would you, or know anyone, [who would] be up for it?’ And I kind of thought, well, it seemed quite ideal for us and to see them as kind of monologues.” – Jodie Hicks, Alternate Orbit Theatre

Read the full Surviving Lockdown case study here.

Read the full Phase 2 evaluation report here.

SURVIVING LOCKDOWN

We’ve loved working with Click Therapy in co-creating their second book SURVIVING LOCKDOWN. The colourful book is a powerful combination of photography and heartfelt writing about life during the lockdowns of 2020/21.

The book contains moving, sometimes funny stories and naturally lend themselves to monologues and performance.

Discover CLICK THERAPY

How the book began

Wisbech community members were working with Click Therapy, taking photographs that reflected their personal lives and situations during the pandemic. Talking with Jenna and Steve about the difficulties of meeting during lockdowns, we suggested trying some creative writing – a new development for them.

The writing began in a short series of lunchtime online workshops with writer Bel Greenwood acting as facilitator. Community writers shared their personal contributions, and with Belona’s support formed creative documentary pieces.

Creative Activities with toddlers

SURVIVING LOCKDOWN is an honest snapshot of people’s lives during one of the most difficult periods of recent history. How they coped. Thier fears, worries and their successes.

Founder of CLICK Therapy, Steve Hubbard said: “The creative writing aspect was new to us all, a photograph can speak a 1000 words, but a blank sheet is filled with the silent voices within you”.


Creative Agent Colin began to feel that the writing would be served well by some theatrical attention. It was lucky then that he was talking to three young people in Fenland who were beginning to explore the idea of setting up a theatre company.

AlternateOrbit Theatre

Community performers Jodie Hicks, Christopher Crowther & Glen O’Gorman met each other during their teenage years with 20Twenty Productions. They were interested in establishing a theatre company in Fenland . Colin felt their energy and age would offer some interesting adaptation to the Surviving Lockdown content.

In just 3 short rehearsals the team brought a staged rehearsed reading at The Oasis Centre in Wisbech on Friday 22nd October. It was received with great enthusiasm and thanks to a Community Connector’s links to the local Libraries the show was presented at Wisbech Library and March Library.

Many will connect with the themes of loss, isolation, mental health and community support. There is emotional content but it is suitable for a family audience (12+ yrs).

Image reads: “The Lockdown has made me aware of how selfish people can become. Selfish people were buying everything up and not thinking of the elderly and vulnerable…”

Take a look at some highlights of the show or watch the full performance at the end of the page:

Highlights from the performance at the Oasis Centre in Wisbech

Bel Greenwood – Facilitator

Belona is a former journalist and an experienced co-writer with community groups. She has been helping many groups find and develop their voice through writing and is also the lead facilitator of the Fenscapers who produce the Leaping the Landscape blog.

We have all been through so many different emotions and experiences over the last year. Isn’t it time to hope that we can move on? Here’s hoping…


Grab a cuppa and watch the full performance of SURVIVING LOCKDOWN here:

Subtitled by Stagetext

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Tiny Dance

Across Summer 2021, MarketPlace teamed up with Casson and Friends to make Tiny Dance – short dance films inspired by conversations with communities in Fenland and Forest Heath. Collaborative Choreography you might say.

The dancers visited 4 market towns around Fenland and West Suffolk (Forest Heath) and chatted to residents about what they loved about where they live. They also encouraged people to collaborate on some moves – watching the dancers and helping to shape choreography.

Casson and Friends are a record-breaking dance theatre company that aims to always be accessible, interactive and joyful. The company believes in ‘people powered performance’ – dance that is co-created with the help of the public.

Tiny Dances are short dance films inspired by the shared conversations, stories and anecdotes, plus choreography ideas. Choreographer Tim and his team of dancers use the information shared to create a bespoke dance reflecting our unique rural landscape.

View the finished videos below and let us knowwhat you think.


#TinyDance Fenland

Event photography credit: Malachy Luckie.

Casson & Friends brought their dance moves to Wisbech Play Day at The Spinney Adventure Playground on Wednesday 4th August and March Market on Saturday 7th August, inspiring choreography moves with creative people in their creative places. Take a look at the final #TinyDance below and view the full album of photos here (credit Malacky Luckie).


#TinyDance Forest Heath (West Suffolk)

Event photography credit: Malachy Luckie.

Casson & Friends dancers spent a week focusing on Newmarket Memorial Gardens Earth Arts Festival (19th August) and Brandon Festival (21st August). Talking with local people helped them create a unique West Suffolk dance.

Take a look at the final #TinyDance below and view the full album of photos here.

Read about how our Community Producer, Jodie Hicks got on this summer with Casson & Friends.

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