Chesil art project launched

A local community art project called ‘We found it in Chesil’ has been launched to help research and discover the rich local history connected with the Chesil Street area of Winchester.

The project will engage with local residents, businesses and groups to discover what it is like to be part of this community.

French artist Laurence Dube-Rushby has been commissioned by Winchester City Council to coordinate the project.

From the stories, memories, photographs and images that people share, she will produce designs for display on the site hoardings for the Chesil extra-care housing scheme under construction on the former Chesil Street surface car park.

Laurence said:

It is amazing to discover a wealth of historical facts related to the street as well as personal stories. Chesil Street seems like a whole separate part of Winchester with a real identity attached to it. It is definitely worth a visit and a chat with all the wonderful business-owners and residents there.

The project has already sparked the interest of several local groups and businesses. These include the junior section of Chesil Youth Theatre, based in Chesil Street.

Working with their Director, Corinne James, and Laurence they have been developing a diverse range of characters from the past, all connected with the location.

They will tell their stories through improvisation on Wednesday 11 May at around 6.30pm along The Weirs, close to the Bishop on the Bridge. People will have the opportunity to join in, have some fun and tell their own stories too. Everyone is welcome.

Corinne said:

Children from the Chesil Youth Theatre junior section are aged 8-12. They have really enjoyed preparing this project: choosing a character, developing it through improvisation and learning about the history of Chesil Street, where we are based. For some this will be their first taste of performance and for the whole group a lively introduction to street theatre. We are all looking forward to being part of this fun event.

Martin Humphrey, Chairman of Chesil Theatre, added:

Chesil Street is certainly a vibrant community and Chesil Theatre this year celebrates 50 years of performing in the listed building of St Peter's Church. Our neighbours certainly lend a hand in our activities, recently including props provided by The Black Boy and Richard Steel, fundraising from Chesil Rectory restaurant and always great support from residents. We are very proud of our Chesil Youth Theatre and delighted they can contribute to this worthwhile community arts project.

There will be other opportunities for local people to meet Laurence and tell her their stories or share photographs including Friday 13 May at Winchester City Mill entrance, 1.30pm to 4pm.

Laurence will also run a workshop for All Saints School on 26 May and a Queen’s birthday celebration with the St John’s charity on 2 June.

Laurence can be contacted on 0750 022 0673 or by email Visit Laurence’s Facebook page at