Wilderness Tales

man in a tree

Wilderness Tales continues its journey with the whole Entelechy Arts community through nature in different local outdoor spaces, engaging through our imagination with the wild, wisdom and stories evoked by being outdoors and noticing nature in the cityscape and our thoughts on the environment.

Entelechy Arts lead artist, Shane Waltener, always reminds us every time we do a project outdoors that ‘Nature facilitates’, it enables creativity, innovation, well-being, strengthens community wisdom and social connections.

The process of developing Wilderness Tales has enabled us to build new bridges firstly within the Entelechy Arts community, bringing together our elders programmes and our members with complex disabilities in Ambient Jam. We are delighted to have been able to build new bridges with Rachel MacMillan Nursery and their extraordinary insight and 100-year-old roots which saw the Macmillan sisters pioneer education for young people through engagement with nature and space in the start of the last century. We also worked with the Ladywell Centre dementia unit, itself attuned to gardens and space, to make this a truly cross-generational and cross Lewisham experience.

The project is currently gathering pace. We have animated 5 wonderful outdoor mini-events and gatherings over the last two weeks and we were truly lucky with the weather!

Chinyere Nwaubani, our Griot storyteller co-created a story with the children at Rachel MacMillan nursery (the Rac Mac Empire!) The story was told in different parts of the playground with processions in-between.

Our Ambient Jam members with dual impairment led a team of Entelechy Artists through an exquisite, mindful, sensory appreciation of Ladywell fields. We were joined by elders from the Lady well dementia unit who loved meeting the team and learning about texture and touch from them.

The following week we did another trip through Ladywell fields bringing together residents from Alexander Care Home and members from the Ladywell Centre. This gathering evolved into a magical tea party sing-along around a tree with a canopy created by the artist by Shane Waltener. Many elders went off exploring on walks and expeditions. It made us realise that an event can have porous walls where people can come and go, and we don’t need to be enclosed in one space

Entelechy Arts artist Zoe Gilmour, embedded at Alexander Care home on our Walking through walls programme, and also a Ladywell local. Zoe introduced us to the idea of Lady well fields and took us around on the journey, sharing its history, stories and geography.

The Ambient Jam 2 tribe brought together younger adults with complex disabilities and artists to animate the Albany meadow through sound, movement, and foraging.

Meet Me at the Albany member and poet Olive, is longer is able to attend but her living room and garden has instead become a creative hub for Wilderness Tales. Olive has been working with our digital artist Malcolm Buchanan-Dick to bring her garden – literally half a tree with apples on it – into her living room, and through film into the Albany theatre. She has also written a poem about a rat.

Many of these events were captured by Entelechy Arts digital artist Malcolm Buchanan-Dick often with members wearing or moving the camera’s themselves, to forge a visceral, textural and palpable way of capturing our experiences of being outdoors through film and sound

Now we are at the shaping stage to bring all this rich material, story and experience together into the final and biggest gathering – a sensory 21st Century Tea Dance. We are using the Yin Yang Chinese symbol of balance between different forces, to help guide us in structuring an event which attempts to integrate together two very different cultural aesthetics: the non-verbal led, sensory, mindful, dance, sound improvisation experience of Ambient Jam with the Traditional Tea Dance cabaret format of our elders programme.

“Carol has led us into a different sensory world and it is very soft and kind. And even all the edges she is touching, they are completely soft, they are like melting under your hand, it was amazing.”

“Going out and doing something different changes and develops our relationship with each other and our members” Rainer Knupp

“Harry blew a dandelion clock and was excited by all of the fauna in the park. He loves nature plants and animals.”

“Kurban said Joan should dance with him at the tea dance – she said she loved talking to him, that she didn’t often get the chance to talk to people properly.”

“Olive said she liked the feeling of the breeze in her face.”

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