Starting in 2019 and running for the next four years, Above and Beyond is a multi-faceted community theatre project based in Bootle, Birkenhead and Knowsley. The project aims to embed creative and cultural activities in these communities by working in partnership with community organisations and individuals. It is guided by a paid steering group of local community activists and participants.

The project is funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and we can offer a range of activities for free.

Before lockdown, Above and Beyond was working in community settings delivering taster workshops, residencies and running a weekly core group. In March 2020 we moved our work onto Zoom.

Above & Beyond Lead Artist: Abi Horsfield

Digital Participatory Theatre Maker: Caitlin Strongarm

Weekly Drama workshops for adults

Every Wednesday, 2pm – 4pm, open to all adults living in Merseyside, delivered via Zoom

Above & Beyond offers opportunities for Adults living in Merseyside to take part in fun creative drama workshops, giving you the chance to connect with new people, learn new skills, and share your thoughts and ideas.

All the workshops are free and COVID secure and we can help those who want to participate to get online.

We are currently working towards a new piece of digital theatre, so join now and get involved.

To find out more email abi@collective-encounters.org.uk or call 07849 094903.

Workshops and training for community groups

If you run or take part in a local group and would like to try out new creative activities, please get in touch. We can offer one-off workshops or short courses which use creativity to explore themes such as:

  • Getting creative online
  • Using creativity to find out what communities need
  • Developing personal confidence
  • Engaging new people in your activities
  • IT & technical skills
  • Creativity & civic engagement
  • Performance skills

If you run or know of community groups that might like to take part get in touch with abi@collective-encounters.org.uk to find out more.

Share a story of community

Our Above & Beyond group are in the development stage for a brand-new piece of digital, interactive, participatory theatre that will be performed at the end of April 2021. The group have produced a statement about the piece and are interested to hear your responses to it. If the statement below inspires you to think about hope, community spirit, or neighbourliness, please email any memories, stories, reflections, and creative responses to abi[@]collective-encounters.org.uk

We are going to create a piece of digital theatre that: –

  • Promotes having faith in each other, and in the local community.

The community is a smile, and it is the best language in the world, it radiates though each individual, it’s contagious and worth giving and it is free. When times are hard knowing we have each other can lead to hope

  • Is about Hope. Hope is central to narratives that inspire action. Hope lays behind the formation of political parties and trades unions, the development of welfare states and public services. Hope for something different, has inspired many of the new forms of activism.

During lockdown some services have closed some have stayed open to support us through this (we wouldn’t have got through without, Kindfulness coffee Club, Spider, Swan, Collective Encounters, Tomorrow’s Women). In our post-COVID world all will open the doors again and people will get the mental and physical help that they need. We will keep the best of what we have learnt and value our new freedoms – dancing, hugging, celebrations, creating.

  • Doesn’t ignore challenges and hardships. This life in these communities is hard due to inequality, poverty, deprivation and lack of opportunity – it is despite this and because of this we need to celebrate, imagine and fight for change.

COVID Response Micro Commissions

As part of Above and Beyond’s COVID response we commissioned 10 emerging artists to create new works responding to themes of “community power” or “community action”. The commissioned artists and their works can be found here.