The Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall Local Exchange Ambassador Legacy Project came to the end of it’s first year this October.
After delivering the Den in M8 festival in 2022, the Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall Ambassadors wanted to continue to uncover stories from within their area, so created the project ‘OurM8’s’. They worked with freelance theatre-maker, Faith Yianni, to reach out to organisations and people across Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall to have a conversation about their communities. They were asked three questions; ‘Who are you?’, ‘Where have you come from?’ and ‘Where are you going?’.
The Ambassadors interviewed over 80 people in total who were connected to Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall in many different ways. They spoke to Manchester Jewish Museum, The Welcome Centre, Rainbow Surprise, Abraham Moss, Cleaner Crumpsall, The Ukrainian Cultural Centre, The Yard, The Nicky, as well as Camerados, which they then developed a public living room on the side of Cheetham Hill Road. On top of these organisations that said yes, they also reached out online to ask friends, neighbours, and family.
Out of all the stories that were collected, they chose 10 to be transformed into posters and banners. Dotted around the Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall, they showcase the diverse community of M8 and the amazing lives that make up this area.
Read the 10 stories on our website here.
Look out for them in these locations
- Abraham Moss Community School
- The Wai Yin Society Welcome Centre
- Rainbow Surprise
- Manchester Jewish Museum
- Ukrainian Cultural Centre
- Cheetham Hill road
After collating these stories, they then created a performance group, with the goal that they would create a piece of theatre inspired by these individuals. There were 10 workshops over ten weeks, where they formed an amazing piece of work and collaborated with Intergeneration Music Making, to create an original song for the performance. With this masterpiece, they then performed as part of the Cheetham Cultural Festival 2023 in their closing ceremony.
Director of Romeo & Juliet, Nicholai La Barrie, came to see their performance at the Cheetham Cultural Festival and decided to have the ‘Our M8’s Performance’ as a curtain raiser one evening. Nicholai wanted this version of Romeo & Juliet to be a love letter to Manchester so, to see the ambassadors put on this piece of work, only makes that love letter more delightful.
Speaking to assistant director Sam Holland-Bunyan, here is what she said:
“The performance I saw on Sunday at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, Manchester highlighted a number of issues Cheetham Hill faced during and since lock-down and represented how the community utilised their multi-cultural and multi-faith solidarity to pull through, nurture and celebrate each others’ differences.
“The example that Cheetham Hill offers in terms of a community that genuinely lives in harmony and which is made richer by its diversity is a model that should be studied by those in local and national government and offered as a template and beacon of hope in these increasingly desolate times”
“Katie Nedderman’s song and spoken word poetry, performed by her and other members of the community and other Royal Exchange ambassadors was, as an elderly gentleman in his nineties, who came up to the performance group towards the end of the festival as we all shared food together, described, ‘both inspiring and necessary’.”
To commemorate this project, they continue to spread the message of unity and inclusivity online through Instagram. Stay updated with all their activities by following their profile as they publish the stories – @ourM8s.