Crowds gather in Grantham for Bridge. Credit Andy Moore

Crowds gather in Grantham for outdoor arts spectacular

Around 2,000 people gathered in Grantham’s town centre last Saturday (14 September) to watch the global premiere of Bridge, an ambitious new touring outdoor arts experience produced by Imagineer Productions.

For three days, the broken bridge structure played host to a series of free pop-up events until, on Saturday evening, it became the setting for an extraordinary ‘impossible’ outdoor performance that wowed hundreds of spectators in the Market Place.

Gravity-defying circus acrobatics, dance, comedy, theatre and live music, inspired by local people’s stories, created a thrilling and moving montage of the courage, compassion and humour needed to bridge a divide which was inspired by stories of bridge building gathered in Grantham.

Presented by InvestSK, South Kesteven’s economic growth and regeneration company, in partnership with South Kesteven District Council, the Bridge finale performance was the culmination of a comprehensive community engagement programme spanning several months of bridge building activity across the district.

One such element of the programme was a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) bridge building challenge for schools in South Kesteven. Twelve teams from schools in Bourne, Stamford and Grantham entered the competition which was judged last weekend by representatives from the Engineered in Grantham group and InvestSK.

The winning entry can now be revealed as being from Stamford School with their White Arch Structure Bridge with Square Flags. Second place was Bourne Westfield with their Lego Span Bridge, and third place was Stamford Blue Coat School with their Corrugated Cardboard (Humber Bridge inspired).

During last week’s three-day event, the area ‘Under the Bridge’ became a stage for local groups, schools and theatre companies including Grantham Dramatic Society, Grantham Capoeira, St Wulfram’s Church, Grantham Gymnastics, local DJs and many others to share their skills.

Councillor Kelham Cooke, Acting Leader of South Kesteven District Council and Director of InvestSK, said: “I am enormously proud that South Kesteven hosted this first-class piece of outdoor arts for its global premiere performance and I was thrilled so see so many people come and enjoy the show.

“There was an incredible atmosphere during the three-day event, with a fantastic turnout for the finale on Saturday. It just goes to show how much appetite there is for arts and cultural events of this nature.”

Michael Cross, Head of Arts at InvestSK, said: “Bridge was 18 months of artistic planning, community engagement and programme management in the making – all of which culminated in the spectacular performance of dance, music and acrobatics on Saturday evening.

“We’re thrilled with the feedback we’ve received so far – both from residents attending the Bridge events and town centre businesses who enjoyed a prosperous trading weekend. We’re grateful to all local businesses who showed their support.

“We’d welcome further comments however, so we can refine our approach for future events like this, so I’d encourage anyone who attended the events to respond to our short survey.”

If you attended Bridge and would like to contribute your feedback, please visit: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BridgeGrantham

Photo credit: Andy Moore