A Doorstep Duet in Farnham

posted Thu 10 June 2021

Press Release

Over the first three days of June, Farnham Maltings worked in partnership with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and 18 local organisations to bring A Doorstep Duet to front gardens, care homes and courtyards across the town. A Doorstep Duet was specially devised by New Adventures artistic team Kerry Biggin, Etta Murfitt and Paul Smethurst to be performed in outdoor spaces allowing people to experience world class dance on their doorstep.

Two dancers perform outside a church in front of a crowd

Performers Ben Brown and Bryony Harrison

The idea came from Farnham Maltings' desire to find ways of supporting those who have been worst affected by the pandemic, and people who have been shielding or at risk of isolation, and whose opportunity to see and be inspired by seeing live art has been significantly reduced. A Doorstep Duet was the final part of the High Hopes programme that sought to creatively connect the town.

In true New Adventures style, the duets were lively, characterful, and joyful. A Doorstep Duet followed two everyday people being transported back in time through music and discovering the joy of dancing together in different eras.

Two dancers perform in a garden in front of a crowd at a care home

The Maltings worked with local community groups and organisations to bring performances to: Right at Home clients’ doorsteps, Farnham ASSIST clients, Farnham Hospital, Beldham Recreation Ground in Wrecclesham, space2grow, St. Thomas Church on the Bourne, Hale Community Centre, Farnham Park, All Saints Church’s parent support group, Sampsons and Andrew Windsor Almshouses, St. Mark’s Church, Sandy Hill Field, Ashton Manor Care Home, Bournewood Manor Care Home and Grace House.

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“It has put a big smile on all of our faces and has bought us closer to the community”.

Sarah Ball, Ashton Manor Activities Co-Ordinator

25 performances took place, reaching over 400 people, for audiences ranging from 1yr olds to 99yr olds. Audiences commented that it was “a burst of joy in our busy day and we all left smiling”, and that “it really held children’s attention”. It left many emotional, and some in tears. There were numerous calls for “more again please”, with many commenting that it’s “not what you expect” in community spaces.

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“the residents of Providence Place were energised and extremely entertained”.

Cllr Alan Earwaker, Mayor of Farnham

Two female dancers perform outside a building in a garden

Performers Daisy May Kemp and Bryony Wood - Doorstep Duets

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“A Doorstep Duet has been a key project for us this summer as communities recover from the impact of the pandemic. Through this project, we have been able to reach a diverse range of people, some of whom have been shielding throughout the pandemic. In sharing this uplifting duet with the Farnham communities, we have witnessed the impact, transformation and connection dance can provide.”

Imogen Kinchin, Executive Director of New Adventures

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“It was utterly moving and uplifting to see our amazing dancers performing their hearts out after a year which has stripped them of the ability to do what they do and love.”

Paul Smethurst from New Adventures

Two dancers perform on a basketball court in front of a crowd in a public park

The duets were performed by dancers from the New Adventures Company: Alistair Beattie, Isaac Bowry, Ben Brown, Cameron Flynn, Bryony Harrison, Shoko Ito, Daisy May Kemp, Catrin Thomas and Bryony Wood.

A Doorstep Duet was performed in line with covid government guidance, with social distancing always maintained and restrictions on audience numbers where needed.

Sign off

For more information, please contact Erin.

Erin Beesley

Community Organiser