Norwich theatre explores grief in new season of events

Kat Lister

Kat Lister - Credit: Grace Gelder

Personal journeys of loss and grief are being explored in Norwich Theatre’s new season material for autumn, rescheduled from April 2020 and now running from October 8 to 19. Presented in association with Rosedale Funeral Home, Creative Matters - Loss and Grief will feature a mix of performance, creative writing, workshops and events, which aim to stimulate discussion and make connections through creativity. 

The Grief Project by Glass House Dance is a new commission by Norwich Theatre, being staged from October 8 to 18. They have been working with professional dancers and community performers to delve into the physical, mental and emotional states we may find ourselves in when faced with grief, loss or bereavement. Interweaving honest and intimate stories through spoken word and movement, The Grief Project opens conversations about the many reasons we may experience this often misunderstood stage of life.  

Glass House Dance

Glass House Dance - Credit: John Fensom

Elaine Kasket will be exploring the wide-ranging and often startling implications of the digital afterlife of our personal data. In an event weaving together video and conversation with Rupert Read of the University of East Anglia, insights from Elaine’s book, plus any questions, Ghosts in the Machine: The Surprising Significance of ‘Digital Afterlives’ promises to be an enlightening and reflective event. It takes place on October 13.

On October 19 at 7pm, Kat Lister tells her story of becoming a widow age 35, after her husband died of brain cancer. In her quest to come to terms with her grief, Kat turned to the elements – fire, water, earth, air – to make sense of her experience and the physicality of bereavement. The Elements: A widowhood by Kat Lister is a story of love, pain, hope and ultimately transformation. 

This event will be hosted by Colette Scarbrough-Jelfs, membership service manager at Widowed and Young, the only national charity in the UK supporting people aged 50 or under when their has partner died. The charity provides peer-to-peer support to young widowed people – married or not, with or without children, whatever their sexual orientation – as they adjust to life after the death of their partner. 


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Other highlights of the season include a Navigating Grief webinar with practitioners and leading professionals in bereavement and grief on October 8. The panel will discuss  grief during the pandemic and how we begin to heal, followed by a discussion with an expert panel including Anne Beckett-Allen from Rosedale Funeral Home and former city senior coroner William Armstrong, who works with many organisations that support the bereaved including Cruse and Nelson's Journey.

Paper Aeroplane

Paper Aeroplane - Credit: Stephen Beeny

For children, Paper Aeroplane will be streamed at 2pm on October 10. Developed with young people who have shared their experiences of losing loved ones, and live-recorded at Half Moon Theatre, this music and movement piece sensitively explores loss and bereavement, the challenges we face when trying to move on, and how we can help one another along the way. 

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Grief has a tremendous impact on our overall health and wellbeing, not least by changing our eating habits. The physical and emotional pain can be overwhelming, leaving us with little energy and motivation to look after our basic needs, such as eating, drinking or sleeping properly. Cooking for One - Live, streamed from Norwich Theatre Royal's Prelude Kitchen on October 18, will feature a cook along with Simon Beckett-Allen of Rosedale Funeral Home, highlighting recipes from his recently released book.

The collection of recipes and stories written by the bereaved offers wisdom, insight, love and hope, and aims to help people rediscover the joy of cooking and baking. An ingredients list will be sent out beforehand, along with preparation instructions and participants will gather together online to prepare and enjoy a tasty three course meal together.

One of the key aims of the season for audiences and participants is to get people thinking and talking about bereavement. Sam Patel of Norwich Theatre, said: “The pandemic has brought into focus the effects of loss and grief so acutely, but bereavement is something we will all have to face in our lives. This Creative Matters season provides diverse and thought-provoking ways to consider how we do that, as well as providing an inclusive safe space to explore personal responses.” 

Norwich Theatre’s Digital Stage, is a streaming platform for its creative programmes, making them available to watch and take part in online. The platform enables Norwich Theatre to reach out to and engage with a wider and more diverse audience, work with a broader range of artists and build resilience for the future. 

Find out more at norwichtheatre.org/take-part/creative-matters


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