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Celebrating Magna Carta in Surrey

Magna Carta - The Freedom Game

Magna Carta - The Freedom Game was a new community opera, commissioned by Surrey Arts to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta in Surrey. 'Magna Carta  The Freedom Game' was composed by Hannah Conway, with words by Sir Richard Stilgoe and directed by Karen Gillingham.

The opera explored Magna Carta values such as democracy, liberty, citizenship and freedom. It has two acts and tells the story of a Surrey family and their quest to win back freedoms which are taken away from them during a computer game. The opera concludes with the message that we should never stop playing for freedom.

It was performed for the first time by over 1000 Surrey residents at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 12 May 2015. The project received funding from Arts Council England and Arts Partnership Surrey. For more information contact the Surrey Arts Vocal Development Leader on 07855 225 840 or email surreyartsmusic@surreycc.gov.uk.

Great Charter Festival

The Great Charter Festival took place on Sunday 14 June 2015, from 10am-5pm at Royal Holloway's beautiful campus in Egham, and gave the chance to join in our exciting celebrations and find out more about the legacy of Magna Carta and what it means today. Everyone got involved in hands-on activities and performances, sampled food and drink, or tried their hand in our crafts market place – there was something for all the family.

Surrey Arts presented DAiSY, Magna Carta Giants and Surrey Arts Youth Arts Platform as part of the Great Charter Festival.

DAiSY (Disability Arts in Surrey)

Surrey Arts supported DAiSY to bring elements of work to reflect the themes of the Great Charter Festival and to achieve a wider audience and promote integration. The aims of DAiSY closely align with the festival theme of rights, equality and wellbeing and freedom of expression.

DAiSY programme included Great Charter Festival The Great Charter Festival took place on Sunday 14 June 2015, from 10am-5pm at Royal Holloway's beautiful campus in Egham, and gave the chance to join in our exciting celebrations and find out more about the legacy of Magna Carta and what it means today. Everyone got involved in hands-on activities and performances, sampled food and drink, or tried their hand in our crafts market place – there was something for all the family. Surrey Arts presented DAiSY, Magna Carta Giants and Surrey Arts Youth Arts Platform as part of the Great Charter Festival  innovative participatory workshops fromcollaged faces Art Matters and The Grange and the 'Heads Up' installation which is an art response to the media's obsession with 'perfect' looks and questions how images from fashion magazines and celebrity media impacts on people in society.

Performances included:
What the Dickens by Bloomin' Arts
The Story of King John's Magna Carta by Rhythmic Collision
The Awakening by Stopgap Dance Company SG2, choreographed by learning disabled dance artist Chris Pavia

Magna Carta Giants

Exploring the 800 year legacy of the Magna Carta through the stories of eight influential people.

In 2014 Surrey school children created eight giant puppets to explore the legacy of the Magna Carta, sealed on Runnymede Meadows in 1215. Chosen for the part that they played in their century, the 8 people represented by the giants were influential in their time, contributing to the development of rights and access to information for all. The Giants visited Runnymede Meadows on 15 June 2014 - the 799thanniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.

As part of the Great Charter Festival Surrey Arts brought these puppets to Royal Holloway University. Working with school and community performers to develop a new performance piece which explored the legacy of these fascinating individuals - from the moment that the Magna Carta was sealed through  'riot and revolution' to 'campaign corner' - this performance was immersive, uplifting and challenged the audience to pledge their role in the next chapter of the story of the Magna Carta.

  • The giants are:three giant puppets
    Robert Fitzwalter - Leader of the Barons 1215
  • Wat Tyler - Leader of Peasants revolt 1381
  • Johannes Gutenberg - inventor of the printing press 1439
  • Robert Kett - supporter of peasants in uprising 1549
  • Edward Coke - English lawyer who helped pass the 1628 Petition of Right
  • Toussaint Louverture - 'the black Napolean', leader of the Haitian revolution 1791
  • Emmeline Pankhurst - Suffragette leader 1903 onwards
  • Malala Yousafzai - shot by the Taliban on her way to school in 2012 - campaigner for the right to education for all 

Surrey Arts Youth Arts Platform

The Surrey Youth Arts platform showcased the talent of local dance, drama and music groups from across the county. Bringing together young people in a sharing and celebration of their achievements, the platform blended programmes from three art forms, inspired by the themes of the Great Charter Festival including rights, equality and wellbeing and freedom of expression. The Youth Arts Platform encouraged young performers to engage in the concept of the Magna Carta and associated themes, and the provocations that the overall event offered. 

Dance
Stopgap Youth Dance Company, Kings International College, Zambesi Dance and Magna Carta Secondary School Dance

Drama
St John the Baptist School Masterclass group, Thamesmead School Drama group and Dramatize

Music
The music programme featured local music groups and solo acts from Sophie Leake, George Maclean, Amber Richmond, Laila, Josh Martin, Imberciles, Chasing Cara and Nathan Hyde, curated in partnership with the Boilerroom, Guildford.

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