Clubhouse was a year-long inter-generational filmmaking project located on two streets in Bedford by artists Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou. The project began in April 2017 and invited the streets’ residents to take part in the making of a short film.
From April to September residents took part in a series of filmmaking workshops led by the artists, from script writing, camera sessions and sound recording, to special effects, costume and prop making. On weekends and holidays, the artists transformed a small green on the street into an outdoor film set, with a green screen and scaffold tower. Over sixty residents took part regularly, sharing and developing ideas with the artists. The result was the short film Clubhouse which reflects the lives and concerns of the resident community.
The filmmaking project acted as a catalyst for a wider programme of creative activity. The artists and residents tested approaches to collaboration and resident-led projects for their community. This resulted in a range of new activities on the two streets including the family Sports Day, a regular drawing and games café, photography projects, an inter-generational football match and the residents’ recipe book.
The Clubhouse Night in March 2018 celebrated the end of the year long collaboration between the artists and the residents. For one night only the two streets lit up with a live screening of vignettes from the new film, projected onto the residents’ homes as a performance.
The project was conceived by the artists as a development of their first project, In Situ Cinema, located on the two streets in 2016. This project formed the start of an ongoing durational programme in Queen’s Park. Working at a hyper-local level over a sustained period has been received very positively by the participating residents. It has provided greater opportunity for regular participation and importantly the participants have reported feeling greater connection, confidence and dialogue as a result of taking part in Clubhouse.
“It’s made us much closer as a community.” “It’s really fun and really creative – because of all the artwork, the film and coming together.” “Clubhome.”
The project was featured on national TV in the 2017-18 Health Lottery advertising campaign and the Clubhouse Night was featured on BBC Look East on 26 March 2018.
Lead artists Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou presented the project at the symposium The Question of Collaboration, hosted by Bedford Creative Arts in September 2018. You can listen to their presentation here.
The public premiere of the Clubhouse film took place in Bedford on 23 January 2019.
Lead artists: Julie Myers and Maria Anastassiou. Support artists: Jan Uprichard, Si Rawlinson, Edward King, Sara Turner, Anne-Marie Stijelja Paul Pibworth, Katie Allen. Support practitioners: Daniel Bedeau, Karike de Klerk
With very special thanks to the residents of Chester and Carlisle Roads. Also Kim Burrows of bpha; Tessa Jackson OBE, independent curator and Zach Walker, MakeAmplify.
Commissioned and produced by Bedford Creative Arts. Supported with funding by Arts Council England; a grant from money raised by HealthCourage through The Health Lottery; bpha housing association; Gale Family Trust; Bedford Borough Council and Burrow Venues.
Image Credits Cat Lane and Julie Myers & Maria Anastassiou.