Colchester Mercury Theatre is raising the roof with its new community Global Choir. The project was originally set up to help asylum seekers and refugees settle into the City, but it has been so successful that people from the wider community are also getting involved.
Members of the Global Choir come from a wide range of backgrounds and age groups. The choir sessions and performances help to break down barriers, build community cohesion and help people to feel less isolated by creating new friendships.
The project received £8,975 from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).
Abbi Roberts, from the Mercury Theatre, said: “We are so grateful for this funding which helped us to set up and run the choir, but its success is due to those who have so wholeheartedly got involved.
“We meet weekly, and after a vocal warm-up, we sing songs from around the world including Eastern European harmonies, pop, rhythms from Africa and soulful gospel. There is no audition required, we learn songs by ear, and we just have lots of fun.
“It was really important to us that the choir was accessible to all ages, especially for parents with young children, as living in a new place can be isolating. To help them take part, we provide supervised activities for children aged up to 3.”
A member of the Choir said: “It is great fun and I have met so many new friends. I encourage anyone who is interested to take the leap and come along to a practice.”
Colchester Mercury Theatre also host creative meet-ups, helping people to improve their English language skills by participating in theatre games and drama exercises in a safe, family-friendly environment. They also make music, learn different crafts and share food that celebrates each other’s culture and helps create a mutual understanding.
Some of their artists are trained drama therapists experienced in providing opportunities for people to express themselves, so this also helps with the mental health needs of people affected by displacement and trauma.
To find out more about the Mercury Theatres Creative Engagement Activities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org