Performing Abergavenny: creating a connected community beyond divisions of class, locality and history

Valerie Walkerdine, Sally Mackey and David Studdert

How can we use the arts and humanities to support community cohesion in Abergavenny? This was the question that a group of Abergavenny citizens and the researchers asked. This project was jointly designed, created and produced by researchers and townspeople in partnership with town and county councils and a number of community groups.

We began by creating a street theatre event in the centre of town with actors asking what people liked about the town and what they would like to change. On the basis of the answers, a number of activities were developed, including a treasure hunt, a local history Facebook page ‘Forgotten Abergavenny’, a film of an Abergavenny version of ‘500 miles’, an evening at the Borough Theatre showcasing ‘Abergavenny Voices’ and ‘Picnic at the Pool’, a festival in Bailey Park celebrating the open air pool and including a community-made mural on the site of the old swimming pool.

You can see a short documentary about this work here:

You can see a film of the special Abergavenny song here:

The very successful project demonstrated how much can be achieved by using the arts and humanities approaches. Like the previous ‘Micro-sociality’ project, this one worked with the idea that community is created through micro-social action, which can, in this case, also be understood as small performance acts.

Here is a gallery of photos related to the project:

An assortment of images from the Performing Abergavenny project. More info:

Posted by Abergavenny Community Map on Dydd Iau, 11 Mehefin 2015

View our final discussion paper here.

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