THURROCK’S finest, including the Royal Opera House, Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Thurrock Council, along with a host of schools, and South Essex College, have joined forces to deliver the first ever Thurrock Celebration of Culture (TICC) this July.
The month-long series of events celebrates the diversity of the local area. Thurrock has some excellent features including Lakeside, The Forts, Davy Down and most recently the High House Production Park which hosts the Royal Opera House’s Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshops and the ROH Education team. However, with maybe the exception of Lakeside, Thurrock tends to be a place that people pass through rather than visit. Also, with cuts in public funding it is becoming increasingly difficult to promote opportunities and engage local people involved in the fantastic opportunities available. Therefore, it was proposed that a group of organisations worked together to provide a platform for local groups to perform and have the opportunity to share resources, advertise themselves and their facilities as well as produce an annual event.
The Royal Opera House played host to its highly successful Purfleet Opera, Ludd and Isis in December 2010, which involved more than 1000 participants from the local community and told the history of Purfleet. It really showed what the community can do together and it is hoped by all the groups behind the event, that that was just the tip of the creative and cultural ice-berg.
The Celebrations will start in earnest on Saturday 9 July with an afternoon show and art display at the South Essex College’s Thurrock Campus in Woodview. The opening event will be the culmination of a series of talent sessions hosted in all the local secondary schools, with the afternoon including art work and performances from professional artists and local high quality acts.
It will end on Monday 27 June in Grays Park with the Big Lunch, a national initiative to get people to sit down with their neighbours and eat lunch together coordinated by Thurrock Council Community Development Team. The event takes place in Grays Park with music, information stalls and opportunities to see how people can contribute to their own neighbourhood.
In between there will be a big screen presentation of the opera Cinderella beamed live from Covent Garden. Schools will be able to benefit from workshops, run by Yellow Media, Theatre Is and South Essex College. It will also feature the Junior and Infant Schools Music Festival at Civic Hall from Tuesday 12 – Thursday 14 July and the huge T-Fest event on the Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July, with more events being planned.
South Essex College Development Manager, Neil Coates, who is leading this exciting project, said: “Thurrock is a hotbed of established and up and coming talent and we wanted to find a free, fun and fantastic avenue to showcase all the great diverse things that the area has to offer.”
He added: “This is Thurrock’s opportunity to really shine and we hope that this celebration is just the beginning and will help encourage even more people to be and get creative next year. We are deliberately starting small and hope to grow over the next five years as the talents of the people of Thurrock grow. Ludd and Isis showed just what we can achieve as a creatively diverse community and we should celebrate where we live and what we have to offer more often and this event will do just that.”
Matt Lane from the Royal Opera House, expanded by stating
“The Royal Opera House is delighted to be part of the first ever Thurrock International Celebration of Culture. We are looking forward to showing a live big screen relay of the opera Cinderella on Wednesday 13 July (Opera in the Orchard at 7.30pm) as well as offering a weekend of performance and participation events at the High House Production Park on Saturday16and Sunday 17 July. The Royal Opera House is excited about the creative potential of TICCulture and relishes the opportunity to work in partnership to make this an outstanding fortnight of cultural activity.”
If you want to give your TICC of support to the Thurrock International Celebration of Culture, or have an event that you would like to be part of the celebration go to www.ticculture.co.uk.