More than one hundred school children and groups from across the region visited Locomotion in Shildon this week to take part in a new community arts project called 'Our Line Connections'.
The project celebrates shared connections in the community and involves artists and groups who live along the route of the Bishop Line, co-creating a songbook of original songs and artwork.
Organised by arts organisation Luxi with the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership, and supported by the National Lottery’s Jubilee Community Fund, the event at Locomotion saw the unveiling of the songbook and gave schools the chance to hear all the songs performed together for the first time.
More than one hundred children from Byerley Park Primary School, Victoria Lane Academy and St Andrew’s Primary School took part in the event, alongside representatives from Greenfield Arts and general museum visitors.
The day started with morning rehearsals, before lunch and a tour of the museum, culminating in a group performance of all the songs in the afternoon.
Caroline Pearce, Joint project architect and Creative Director of Luxi said:
“Our Line was borne from a joint fascination about the interplay between theatre and trains, between experiencing something entertaining whilst moving, and how the topic & the experience affect one another. The theatre on train we created was a real moment of achievement for us at Luxi and for the team at Bishop Line & Northern at the time, in 2018. And it led to profound and beautiful conversations and connections with audiences and participants and communities.
“The opportunity to create a project around that experience became really compelling and after two years of regular meetings the core partners found more & more people who wanted to support the work, funders and partners all appreciating the value of human connection and stories. Working with what is now a large team of specialists, Our Line Connections has become a programme of activity that we hope will just keep getting better and enabling more and more people to understand how to get involved and the value of doing so.”
Our Line Connections builds on the earlier project ‘Our Line’, which was an audio play broadcast online during the pandemic in 2020. Set on a train from Darlington to Bishop Auckland, this play was written to last as long as the train journey (just over 30 minutes) and featured a range of real and imagined stories.
Sarah Price, Head of Locomotion said:
“Locomotion is proud to play a role in supporting arts projects such as Our Line Connections which celebrate the role the railways play in bringing the local community together and we will continue to host a busy programme of events and activities as a way to champion arts in the region.”
Locomotion has recently hosted a number of community arts projects including the Opera North community opera, ‘Song of our Heartland’ which was performed online because of pandemic restrictions. The museum has also worked with New Writing North and the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership encouraging children and young people to produce pieces of creative writing on the theme of journeys through the Creative Journeys project.
Our Line & Our Line Connections are projects by Luxi in collaboration with the Bishop Line Community Rail Partnership & Northern, supported by Arts Council England, Cross Country Trains, County Durham Community Foundation, Durham County Council, Greenfield Arts, Locomotion & the National Lottery Jubilee Community Fund.
The Bishop Line runs between Bishop Auckland and Darlington and includes part of the original route of the historically significant Stockton and Darlington Railway which celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2025.
For more information please contact:
Simon Baylis, PR & Press Manager,
01904 686 299,
Notes to Editors
- Locomotion offers visitors the chance to see highlights of the national collection of railway vehicles in Shildon - the world’s first railway town
- Locomotion forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and the National Railway Museum in York
- Locomotion is a partnership between the Science Museum Group and Durham County Council, which is a major funder of the museum
- Admission to Locomotion is free – visit www.locomotion.org.uk/home for more information