Arts Together Bursary Recipient – Where Is Fairyland?

In the summer, Arts Together offered bursaries in partnership 100% Digital Leeds for Arts in Care Home Day. The three successful bursaries offered a range of activities for people living in care or those receiving care in other settings.

One of the successful applicants was ‘Where Is Fairyland?’, a short show performed in partnership with Burmantofts Senior Action. Performer Anthony Haddon kindly wrote us a blog talking about how it went:

Fairy important business
26th September 2023
Where is Fairyland?
A performance at Stoney Rock Sheltered Housing as part of Art in Care Homes week supported by Arts Together and 100% Digital Leeds.

You can’t take a show about fairies and perform it in front of a group of elderly people, especially if the play was designed for children. Well, that is what we did because we take fairies quite seriously and just because it is accessible for four-year-olds doesn’t mean there isn’t anything in it for adults. Where is Fairyland? is a new story about fairies written and first performed a few months after the outbreak of the Pandemic and like all good fairy stories it has been influenced by the times it was written in. Both children and adults experienced their freedom of movement disappear in lock down and we reflect that in the fairy world on the day the wind stops, the fairies fall out of the sky and two of them crash land on a table. Having lost their ability to fly we see these two fairy strangers getting to know each other through their struggles to get to their destinations. They are stuck here, and they want to be there.

The Arts in Care Homes week gave us the opportunity to try this show out with the older age range and see if it chimed with them and their experiences of being locked down. “I felt that sadness, when the two fairies realised, they were stuck and going nowhere, it did feel sad, like life was never going to be normal ever again” John, audience member. “When the fairies called for help and nobody came and they thought they were on their own, that was something I experienced” Pat, audience member.

But this is a fairy story, so even though we can visit those places of sadness and loss we can also take it into the realm of hope and happiness and even glorious stupidity. “I could imagine you being like butterflies the way you moved about. I like entertainment, it made you feel happy though, it made you smile all the way through” audience member.

So, yes we did take a fairy show into a care home and for some of them it worked and for others it wasn’t their cup of tea but they enjoyed the fairy cakes that Tim had baked especially for the occasion and paid for by one of the members of Burmantofts Senior Action (BSA) with her bingo winnings. You can’t get a better ending than that. Well, actually you can get a better ending because Pat and her friend from BSA sneaked out at the end of the show and secretly got dressed up and came back in as retired fairies. That’s a good idea for another fairy show, although, do fairies retire?

Thank you to Sheila Davenport from Burmantofts Senior Action for organising the

Where is Fairyland ? .
Performers: Anthony Haddon and Madeleine Thorne
Musician and composer: Alice Gilmour
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