The LEGACY project at Attingham: apart(y)

Often described as the single most generous gift to the National Trust, Lord Berwick left the mansion and grounds of Attingham Park “for public benefit” under the care of the Trust. A Trust New Art collaboration between Attingham and Pentabus Theatre explores what this means today through the LEGACY project.

apart(y) is the culmination of the LEGACY project, a Trust New Art collaboration between Attingham Park and Pentabus Theatre. Working with young carers from Telford & Wrekin CVS - All Age Carers Centre the project has explored the legacy of the Attingham Estate, under the care of the National Trust, today.

The Mansion at Attingham Park was designed to host country house parties for the fashionable and influential upper classes at the height of the Georgian period. The formal Dining Room, historically the scene for grand banquets and evening dinners, has been the inspiration for the work of the LEGACY Project, which has invited participants to explore  the formalities and traditions of historic ‘parties’ through creating one of their own, but what are the key ingredients of a brilliant party?

Andrew and Jo in the Dining Room at Attingham Park.
Artists Jo and Andrew in the Dining Room at Attingham Park
Andrew and Jo in the Dining Room at Attingham Park.

Together, the young carers have explored and shared memories and ideas about what makes a good party today. Audio responses along with objects and live experiences have been collated through online workshops and a virtual party. These will be curated and displayed in the real Dining Room at Attingham – so that that space becomes an interactive installation as we leave a ‘ghost’ of apart(y) in the room for visitors to discover and experience.

apart(y) will be open to visitors to the Mansion at Attingham from Saturday 7 August, alongside other rooms on the ground floor of the Mansion, dressed to show the different types of uses of the spaces for occasions and celebrations. By holding a mirror up to the Mansion’s past, present and future of welcoming guests, the experience will reflect on what it means today to be included and invited into a grand, and exclusive space. Historically, only a small and privileged section of society would have received an invitation to a party at Attingham. But today, everyone’s welcome!

For more information on visiting the Mansion follow the link below.
 

A close up of a waistcoat at Attingham Park

Discover the Mansion at Attingham

The ground floor of the Mansion is open for a new themed visit, ‘Be Our Guest'. Please read this article for more information on what to expect on your visit.

Background to The LEGACY Project

The project is delivered by the National Trust and Pentabus, and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, part of Trust New Art, National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts.

After initial work in 2019, when the Coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020 the project was ‘furloughed’ from March until December of that year when conversations and planning could begin again. With continued support from Arts Council England the partnership team restarted the project, bringing it back to life in 2021.

Lead artist Andrew Sterry, a socially engaged theatre maker and Pentabus’ Audiences and Engagement Manager, and Jo Wheeler, a socially engaged artist carried out a series of online workshops with young carers from Telford & Wrekin CVS - All Age Carers Centre during spring and summer 2021. Andrew, Jo and the young carers planned ‘For The Party We’ll Have When We Can All Be Together Again!’, exploring the key ingredients of a good party from food and decorations to music and games.

Party planning activities took place during the online workshops in Spring 2021.
An abstract image of a party planning pack from the project
Party planning activities took place during the online workshops in Spring 2021.

The project has had the added poignancy of taking place in the wider context of the lockdowns and restrictions bought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, when many people have spent long periods of time physically apart from each other. apart(y) has meant we can be together even when we’re apart.

Throughout the workshop sessions the group worked towards an online party to ‘virtually’ take place in the formal historic Dining Room in the Mansion at Attingham. The young carers and artists have collected ideas, objects and sounds that will be arranged and left in the ‘real’ Dining Room at Attingham – so that the Dining Room becomes their stage and the group will leave a ‘ghost’ of their party in the room for visitors to discover.

" The Mansion at the park was intended, and still can be, intimidating for many people and the aim of the project is to break down this formality whilst acknowledging the traditions of such a space."
- Claire Tafft, Experiences and Programming Manager, Attingham Park

About Telford & Wrekin CVS - All Age Carers Centre

Telford & Wrekin CVS - All Age Carers Centre are finding that there are increasing numbers of families that are being supported by children and young people. And it can be surprising how many people are still unaware about exactly what young carers, who are as young as 5 and up to 16 years old are responsible for. Young carers are often supporting their own families to remain stable in a community setting. Often parents and siblings illnesses range from physical disabilities; siblings with special educational needs or emotional health issues, like anxiety, depression or alcohol and substance misuse addictions.

You can find more information on their website www.telfordcarers.org.uk

 

Artists Andrew, Jo and Andy

Andrew Sterry is a collaborative theatre maker from Mid Wales. Andrew works with artists, performers and musicians, museums, charities and schools, and creates work in a range of spaces from care homes and day centres to community settings and theatres.  

Lead artist, Andrew Sterry in the Entrance Hall at Attingham
Lead artist, Andrew Sterry in the Entrance Hall at Attingham
Lead artist, Andrew Sterry in the Entrance Hall at Attingham

As a writer and director, Andrew co-creates original theatre and performance with and about the people who are in it. The work is often a celebration of the past, the present and the future and explores both personal and community heritage.  He has worked with theatres to develop new relationships with diverse communities.  

Andrew is the Audiences and Engagement Manager at Pentabus where he runs Pentabus Young Writers and Pentabus Young Company.  
 

Jo Wheeler has been growing her social art practice for over 25 years as a visual artist, producer, writer, mentor and evaluator - supporting people’s well-being and agency through creativity. 

Artist Jo Wheeler in the Dining Room at Attingham
Artist Jo Wheeler in the Dining Room at Attingham
Artist Jo Wheeler in the Dining Room at Attingham

Jo particularly enjoys working with young people, in 2008 she produced and co-wrote Envision - A Handbook: Supporting Young People’s Participation in Galleries and the Arts. Since 2016 she’s been lead artist on The National Forest’s Youth Landscapers Collective (Leicestershire), collaborating with young people to tell the landscape stories of their area for public presentation at the international forest festival, Timber. Other community-based projects include presenting mini pop up museums in bus shelters (South Holland); a Valentine’s Day mass Love Busk (Mansfield); and Walk This Way, working with children to design and lead multi-sensory guided walks of their area (Nottingham). She also values her role as a Creative Mentor supporting young people in care through Derbyshire’s Virtual School.
www.jowheeler.co.uk
 

Andy McKeown is a new media light and sound artist, animator and programmer.
McKeown’s art practice is predominately based on interactive and reactive new-media light and sound, and large scale street collections.

New media light and sound artist, animator and programmer, Andy McKeown.
Portrait photo of Andy McKeown
New media light and sound artist, animator and programmer, Andy McKeown.

Works ranging from intricate multi projector interior installations to large scale outdoor distributed sound filed installations, Son et Lumière and semi permanent urban light and sound works. 

He has a passion for things that move and make a noise, liquid oils, kaleidoscopes, stained glass, cathedrals, derelict and left field spaces, written and spoken word, machine noise, industrial, Futurist and avant-garde music. 

www.wildstrawberry.com