Openness in Heritage / by Lenni Sanders

This month I worked with Abi and Andrew at First Draft, a regular cabaret night that I co-run, to produce a one-off special at The People’s History Museum inspired by the Grafters exhibition that is currently on. We worked with Ian Beesley, the curator, and Catherine O’Donnell, the Events Co-ordinator, and a whole crew of great performers to produce a great night of performance. It’s something that Lenni and I are interested in doing as iOrganic, how do you creatively interpret objects and stories in a way that is accessible to new audiences.

What was clear from our first meetings with Catherine, it is clear that one thing that is necessary is the openness of heritage spaces to invite performers and creatives into the space and also the confidence, shown by Ian, in performers to produce something that at once respects and develops the the stories of the objects.

At iOrganic, Lenni and I give a lot of thought to developing inquisitiveness in our audiences and in offering different ways to access these stories. Interpreting objects is just one part of what we try to do, the rest of it is creating an environment in which people can challenge those stories and to ask their own questions.

‘Perspectives’, the First Draft event, was a real success. It was all down to everyone being open to new ideas. The performers being open to the heritage stories; People’s History Museum being open to performers interpreting; the audience being open to going to events that they aren’t necessarily used to. Openness is key.