A #LoveLowry guest post by Martine Bradford, creative director, Skylight Circus Arts.

In 2019, there was a big buzz about Rochdale. The dinosaur was coming. Skylight staff were planning the next performance project. We asked our Spotlight Troupe what they’d like to do and climate change and extinction was most important to them.

We met a lady called Sue Hanson. One day, she walked in shouting “Guess what’s in my bag?” Little did we know that the contents of the bag would lead to Skylight’s next big project. The bag contained a heavy stone, a fossil. Sue discovered that her fossil was part of a woolly mammoth, discovered in Rochdale.

From January to March 2020 we worked hard on research and performance. Spotlight did a masterclass with Frantic assembly, we went to a paleontology talk, Touchstones, visited the world famous diplodocus, planned fossil walks.

The show had acro, trapeze, juggling, staff, tightwire, stilts and we created a soundtrack. Performers were working on acts themed on our research such as mother nature, the rochdale scorpion and mammoths.

It was a whirlwind! ‘Mammoth’ was ambitious, opening on On 2 April at Gracie Field Theatre then touring outdoors to the Feelgood Festival, Hollingworth Lake and Darnhill Festival. Then the world stopped.

This Film Gives a flavour of our show and the hard work created by our young people. Click here to watch.

“Our young people used so much imagination and creative energy on Mammoth. Mammoth was going to be big! We hope this small film gives us an opportunity to share this beautiful work with people.”

The project was funded by the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Skylight Circus Arts has been providing life changing participation projects for local people since 1990.

We are deeply rooted in the community and successful in engaging those who otherwise would be unlikely to benefit from cultural provision. Our current programme includes participants with disabilities, multiple and complex needs, older people, young people from disadvantaged circumstances and those living in poverty.