RSC brings kindness to Bell Court with Art Warming Project

Art Warming graphic

As Stratford-upon-Avon slowly begins to reopen in April, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is inviting local people to reconnect with one another via its Art Warming project, inspired by the theme of kindness and creativity.

The RSC is working with West Midlands artist Saadia Hipkiss to create the Kindness Shop, an open space in Bell Court in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon where people can safely take part in free creative activities.

Sponsored by Bell Court, and supported by a grant from Stratford Town Trust, local people are being given the opportunity to help create large, colourful mandalas (large circular artworks featuring geometric patterns) which will then be displayed in Bell Court’s currently empty shops.

Taking inspiration from the well-established and successful The Kindness Rock Project, the RSC will also ask people to share their messages of hope and kindness. Some of these will be painted on to rocks by Saadia and local volunteers and placed in a Stratford kindness garden in Bell Court. Other messages will be audio recorded and played in Bell Court as part of a soundscape on Saturday 24 April to celebrate the final day of the Art Warming project and to coincide with Shakespeare’s Birthday.

Safely managed outdoor mandala colouring activities (limited to family units or ‘bubbles’ of no more than two people) will take place between 10am-3pm on Saturdays 3,10 and 24 April, and throughout the week between Monday 12 – Saturday 17 April in Bell Court.  Members of the RSC team will also be noting down people’s messages of kindness on the same dates.

Ida Ballerini, Creative Placemaking and Public Programmes Officer at the RSC, said:

“We believe small things make a difference and creativity and kindness can inspire, help and motivate others as we emerge together from a difficult year.  We look forward to reconnecting with the people of Stratford in April as part of this Art Warming project, and I can’t wait to see the colourful mandalas and hear people’s messages of hope.  We will use these to decorate Bell Court creating a beacon of better days ahead.”

Rich Jones, Centre Manager at Bell Court, said:

“Bell Court are delighted to be hosting the RSC and this exciting project, which will bring people together after a difficult year. The concepts focus is on providing happiness and encouraging kindness, through colour and creativity. Bell Court are well placed to host this project in a socially distanced and safe environment.

We believe this will bring people together after what has been a very difficult year and the RSC and Bell Court are really keen to express this Art Warming project.

Bell Court is going to look amazing with all of the vibrant colours and designs that the mandalas will bring. This, accompanied with messages of kindness and hope can only help to lift Stratford-upon-Avon to new heights in preparation for the good times to come.”

How to take part

Saturday 3 and 10 April
10am – 3pm

On Saturday 3 and 10 April, between 10am – 3pm, the RSC Creative Placemaking team will setting up the shop in preparation for the activities.  They will also be noting down people’s messages of kindness, and giving interested passers-by rock kits and mandala templates to colour at home and return to the shop.

Monday 12 – Saturday 17 April and Saturday 24 April
10am – 3pm

The Kindness Shop is expected to open alongside non-essential retail on Monday 12 April.  Safely managed outdoor mandala colouring activities (limited to family units or ‘bubbles’ of no more than two people) will take place between 10am-3pm throughout the week Monday 12 – Saturday 17 April and on Saturday 24 April in Bell Court.  Members of the RSC team will again be noting down people’s messages of kindness on the same dates.

Saturday 24 April
Stratford Says Thank You!
10am – 3pm

Take a moment to stop and listen to stories and messages of kindness from those that have visited the shop.

Know before you go

  • Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
  • Please follow social distancing guidelines and legal limits of group gathering.
  • Use the coronavirus NHS QR code or leave contact details (name and phone number for each household) if you do not want to use the app or do not wish to show in our venue check-in history. Details will be kept safe for 21 days.
  • Please wear a mask where possible and use sanitiser at arrival.
  • The government advice is to only travel locally where possible.

Photo credit: RSC 

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