Par-Bexia festival in Bexley shortlisted for national culture award

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 January 2020

The highly unusual Par-Bexia street entertainment festival from last year is in line for a major award. Picture: Steve Hickey

The highly unusual Par-Bexia street entertainment festival from last year is in line for a major award. Picture: Steve Hickey

Steve Hickey

A Bexley performance organisation is in line for a Hearts for the Arts award after making the shortlist.

Performing Places Bexley project has revealed it has been shortlisted for one of the National Campaign for the Arts' awards 2020.

This will be in the popular Community Cohesion category.

The awards are designed to celebrate local authorities who are championing the arts.

The short-listed Performing Places programme was developed between the council and Professor Sally Mackey of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Funding came from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

In street events, Performing Places used drama to create an exciting and emotional story aimed at encouraging those that live in or visit a place to see it in its best light and to understand each other better.

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Performing Places used the story of a parallel universe, Par-Bexia, whose young Par-Bexians came down to Bexleyheath, unplanned and unexpectedly. The project was developed in the borough over two years, working with primary schools, secondary schools and community groups using drama. The second year of the project saw the introduction of the use of augmented reality.

The project ended in July last year with a week of events and a finale when visitors to the Broadway were able to meet Par-Bexians of all ages before they headed back to their home universe.

Cabinet member for places, Cllr Peter Craske said: "This is great news for Bexley. The Performing Places project was out of this world in so many ways.

"It was a first for us and we were taken aback by the enthusiasm shown by everyone that took part. The workshops, performances and visits to community and voluntary groups that were all part of Performing Places were a great success. This shortlisting is a well-deserved recognition for an exciting project that has left its mark on the borough."

Performing Places Bexley has seen a major scale of engagement and involvement.

The National Campaign for the Arts presents the Hearts For The Arts Awards each year and the winners will be announced on Valentine's Day, February 14.

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