“Our audience are our experts,
we start by listening to them.”
“We widen opportunities for
people to engage in the arts
by making work in familiar places.”
“We reclaim and reimagine the community domain by animating unloved, disused familiar spaces…”
“We encourage empathy in the
retelling of stories, raising the
voices of those we meet.”
“Through shared experience
we create a space for
communities to build networks
and meaningful social ties.”
WHAT WE DO
Murmuration Arts is a participatory arts organisation with over 14 years experience delivering community engagement projects.
We focus on projects which adopt a co-creation approach – we create collaboratively with communities.
We connect with and build community through street theatre, site-responsive performance, participatory dance, music, reminiscence sessions, intergenerational workshops, cooking together, sharing stories, oral history projects and craft activities… and we love playing games!
Elevated over a lake in a spectacular illuminated nightgown, The Mother’s Voice is hushing, lulling children with sublime lullabies as they drift in and out of sleep. We feel she has been here forever, her nightgown representing the passing of time. Voices of local parents fill the trees, shining a spotlight on the often unheard stories of early parenthood.
Nightlight Lullabies is a universal representation of Motherhood – representing every mother’s voice, linking us through song across the passage of time.
Nightlight Lullabies premiered at Leonardslee Illuminated, 2020 with visitors numbers of 34,400.
Murmuration Arts’ new show The Owl & The Pussycat is available to tour from Spring 2022 as an outdoor street show, walkabout or even in a pea-green boat! Join our fowl and feline pair as they embark on their really rather ridiculous adventures, serenading you with nonsense! Based on Edward Lear’s poem, with originally composed music.
Commissioned by Enchanted Leonardslee, with funding from Arts Council England.
Murmuration Social Distancing Club
Marion, Matthew and Laura host the Murmuration Social Distancing Club – sip a cup of tea, enjoy a slice of cake and we’ll play a few tunes to get you moving.
Matthew and Marion will choose a few of their favourite jazz tracks & teach a few simple steps, put the kettle on and we’ll all dance together. Featuring live music – a little ditty or two – from Laura and her miniature piano and guest dance slots from around the country.
Funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, has helped us to light up your silver screens with music, dance and singing. Thanks to the Government for making this possible.
We are passionate about widening opportunities for people to engage in the arts. Our creative process involves in-depth research with communities, focusing on building & maintaining relationships. Each project we work on aims to create a unique shared experience, connecting communities & giving people a voice & platform on which to tell their stories.
The people we meet are the experts of their lives,
we start by listening to them.
We believe that by instilling a sense of ownership, by increasing confidence, social ties & social cohesion, communities feel a greater investment in their future. By sharing agency and the decision making process Murmuration Arts can empower individuals to develop their own artistic expression. As artists, we in turn seek to learn from the people we work with. Through social interaction and active participation we aim to improve the health and wellbeing for everyone involved.
Marion is an artist, performer, producer and company manager, founder member of Ragroof Theatre and co-director of The Ragroof Players, developing and managing both companies for 15 years. Marion’s interests lie in widening opportunities for people to engage in the arts. Often her work will involve in-depth research with communities, focusing on building and maintaining relationships. She has researched and developed oral history and reminiscence interview techniques and using verbatim text in the devising processes.
Marion devised and performed with Ragroof Theatre in Make Do and Mend, Ragroof Tea Dances and Shall We Dance? Encore! and was performance director for Gloves On. She directed Bridges y Puentes, developing a new performance language for site-responsive, promenade performances.
Marion is also a Director of Wyld Mothers Fire, a weekly support group that meets around an open fire, hosting guest speakers and artists. Marion was also on the board of directors for Clowns Without Borders UK, where she toured to Zimbabwe, India and Greek Refugee camps with the charity, providing psycho-social first aid to children living in crisis situations.
“I believe that we are all part of a community, what helps shape and define us are our experiences and what we have been individually exposed to. Murmuration Arts will offer the tools learnt through our training as a way to express and develop a shared language and experience between us and the people we meet, we are always ready to learn new skills ourselves. At the heart of Murmuration Arts is collaboration and listening. It is my aim to shine a light on the expertise of the people we meet using the skills we have as artists to enhance this and bring it to a wider audience.
Coming out of Covid, now more than ever we need opportunities to come together, share an experience, feel something collectively, there is much to process after the pandemic, I hope our work can comfort and soothe in some small way”
Matthew trained as an actor graduating from East 15 Acting School in 2002. Since then he has worked in television, film and theatre. He has held the position of director for The Ragroof Players, performed as part of a comedy dance duo ‘The Gentlemen Friends’ and run theatre and dance workshops in schools, community settings, residential care homes, yoga retreats, fitness expos and for corporate and private events.
Inspired by teaching dance and interested in learning how the body is impacted during movement, Matthew has qualified as a personal trainer, pilates and yoga instructor through his company Dance Floor Activist. Running regular community fitness classes, has enabled Matthew to spend the past 10 years exploring how focused movement can have a beneficial impact on an individuals mental health. When working in theatre and fitness, Matthew looks to bring people together, through shared experience, creating a space for everyone to gain from the benefits of social engagement, moving their bodies and expressing themselves.
“Never underestimate what your classes give to others. Not just your exuberance but your passion for dance and the well-being of others. I was body conscious and so lacking in self esteem before I came to one of your classes. You do so much good without even knowing.”
Liza, Zumba client
Laura Wright is a producer with over 18 years experience managing theatre projects, live music events, and festivals. She has a background in event management, audience development, fundraising for theatre and community projects, marketing and promoting theatre shows and live music events, programming festival stages, and has worked at theatre and live music venues and festivals since 1999.
Laura is a singer and piano teacher, and has performed as a cabaret artist. Experience as a performing artist has given her empathy and understanding in how best to support artists through the creative process, from behind the scenes. She sees her role as a producer as primarily facilitating and empowering artists to make work that realises their full creative potential.
“I believe art can change the world by immersing people emotionally and cognitively in the issues that matter. Participatory arts can be particularly transformative for individuals who don’t have a background in the arts, and for communities using participatory art as a tool for empowerment.”
Richard runs his own accountancy practice, Beancounters of Lewes Ltd, based in East Sussex with over 100 clients. He has over 25 years in a variety of finance roles both in the private and not for profit sectors and specialises in small to medium companies with a particular focus on the arts and media. He has assisted many start-ups to convert their ideas and plans into real businesses. He sits on the board of several community interest companies and charities – Figment Arts CIC, North Street Co-working CIC, Murmuration Arts and Clowns Without Borders UK. He is also treasurer of Lewes Labour Party and has an MA in International Sport Policy from the University of Brighton. He has a keen interest in photography, having exhibited work on football culture and identity as part of the Brighton Photo Fringe.
Miranda is an actor, singer and director trained professionally by Windmill Young Actors since 2017. Her credits include Romeo and Juliet, 2019 (Juliet), Macbeth, Pandora and has recently worked on a R&D alongside Kneehigh’s Mike Sheppard.
Born into a musical family, Faye Houston has been a professional singer, writer and performer for over 20 years. She has travelled throughout the UK and abroad, collaborating with musicians and artists crossing various styles and genres to create expressive, heartfelt and powerful music.
China Blue Fish is a queer artist, actor, activist, singer and mother committed to shining a light on injustice and elevating imagination through music, comedy and theatre.
Laura performs as the Mother as part of the Nightlight Lullabies installation and at Murmuration’s regular Social dance events. Laura’s work as an artist on the Nightlight Lullabies project also includes working with new mothers on the co-creation of original lullabies in facilitated song-writing workshops. Laura is the Artistic Director of performance company Brass Bathtub, and was awarded a DYCP grant in 2021 to make experimental improvised music in nature.
Will Hood performs as ‘The Pussycat’ with Murmuration Art’s outdoor show ‘The Owl & the Pussycat’, commissioned by Enchanted Leonardslee. Will usually spends his time writing music for film and TV or touring the world with his band @theswingninjas .
Will has performed at Glastonbury festival (UK) Moulin Rouge (Paris) Mandalay (Hamburg) Herräng (Sweden) and the Chill Out Festival (Istanbul). But he has never before performed as a Seafaring Cat …
Cate Ferris: A one woman symphony of lush textures, electronic beats and soulful harmonies. Cate is a captivating singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Brighton in the UK. An acclaimed and accomplished singer/songwriter, composer and producer who has also performed and collaborated with a host of talented artists and bands.
Lucy Bradridge studied English Literature at The University of Leeds and then Theatre Design at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Since 1998 her work as a set props and costume designer has been mainly focused on devised comedy arising from a long and fruitful relationship with director Cal McCrystal and the physical clown company Spymonkey. Shows include Stiff, Cooped, Oedipussy, Moby Dick and the Complete Deaths with Spymonkey. She has also worked on numerous outdoor and site specific shows including The Seance with Red Herring, Happy Feet and Gloves on with Ragroof and Nightlight Lullabies with Murmuration Arts.
Thor McIntyre-Burnie is an Artist, Sound Designer and director of transformative public arts company Aswarm. An early pioneer of sound as a medium for public art, Thor’s internationally award-winning work, is largely site-responsive and immersive and as a result most of it happens outside art galleries. His interventions oft’ transform a public or architectural space into art-work to walk within, where audiences become active agents.
The ventriloquist-like power of sound in particular the disembodied voice, swarm like phenomena and the politics of public free space underpin much of his practice.
A regular collaborator, his work over the past 20 years crosses into many genres including Sound Design for performance. Shows range from touring installations like The Speakers (INSITU), to site-specific architectural Wind Tunnel Project (2015); orchestral (Orchitecture with the NLO ); to large scale spectaculars with TWF (Crackers, Sydney Fest), or city-wide like Voice Park ( Hull City of Culture) , to theatre (e.g. New World Order, Hydrocracker), dance series including ongoing collaborations with Gravity & Levity ( e.g. Rites of War), to Sci-Art Welcome Trust projects with Liminal Space (Lost & found, Barbican), right back to the inaugural Brighton Fringe Festival with the grass mounds ASPOT 1997.
“I have always admired the work of Marion and Matthew, they have constantly proved to be exemplary practitioners working with and for communities who are regularly forgotten by the main stream.
They work hard, have strong ethics, a lovely creative energy and I’m very exciting to see how there new company develops.”
Kerry Kyriacos Michael MBE
Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE) from 2004 to 2017
“Joan Littlewood would have loved this show for many reasons. Firstly, because it is based on interviews with real people…She transferred this way of telling the stories of working class people into the theatre where she added dance and movement in ways British theatre had never seen before. Bridges y Puentes does this too…Joan would have loved the fact that the show is performed in an extremely unlikely place, Stratford Multi-storey Carpark. Joan loved street entertainment interacting with passers-by, so it was a real pleasure to see this show rehearsing on the streets near the theatre.”
Artistic Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE) from 1979 to 2004 on Bridges y Puentes, directed and produced by Marion for The Ragroof Players. See the full article.
“It is an absolute pleasure working with Matthew and Marion on South East Dance’s The Welcome Project. The level of commitment and focus that they give to the regular sessions with older adults is outstanding as is the care and attention that they give to each individual who attends. The sessions are always fun and inclusive, suitable for all abilities and confidences, Matthew’s genuine awareness of the group and individual needs and his ability to respond to these on a week by week basis is incredible and makes for a joyful dancing and social experience for all. We will be hoping to continue working with both Matthew and Marion again through Murmuration Arts as they bring a unique and very special gift to all their activities and events.”
Creative Communities Manager, South East Dance
“I have worked with Marion for many years and have always been a supporter of her work, particularly her rigor and commitment when it comes to working with participatory practice and the sensitivity and care she has when working to reflect people’s true stories.
Over the last few years particularly I have seen her technique and passion for creating meaningful projects which truly empower the participants and the collaborators involved whilst managing to create theatrical productions which really affect the audience on a deeper level and allow a powerful understanding of other’s experiences.”
Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive Freedom Festival Hull
Laura Wright // Producer //Laura@MurmurationArts.co.uk // 0044 7737 242 847
Marion Duggan // Artistic Director // Marion@MurmurationArts.co.uk
Matthew Black // Director // Matthew@MurmurationArts.co.uk
Richard Baskott // Finance Director // Finance@MurmurationArts.co.uk
OFFICE // Murmuration Arts CIC, Brighton Youth Centre, 64 Edward St, Room 5, Brighton BN2 0JR // Info@MurmurationArts.co.uk
Images courtesy of The Ragroof Players. Photos by Rosie Powell and Dik Ng