St Walstan Project - This Earth We Tread, 2016

A local community multi-arts immersive theatre performance in Bowthorpe, the St Walstan's Community Project, with and for local people.

An innovative theatre production inspired by the life of St Walstan, Norfolk's patron saint of agriculture and farming, who died 1,000 years ago this year.

This was a multli-arts outdoor promenade performance set in the beautiful and atmospheric Ruins of St Michael and All Angels, as part of Heritage Week. It was written and performed with and by people from the local community. Participants faced many personal challenges but came together regardless of age, backgrounds and personal circumstances.

The script was finalised by award-winning playwright Danusia Iwaszko, who provided writing workshops to local people to help with the writing process. The performance featured haunting original music composed by Pat Hanchett, modern dance choreographed by talented young local performers, and professional puppetry. Directed by Danny O'Hara of Slow Theatre Company.

Walstan chose to leave behind a life of privilege to live and work in close connection with the land. This piece explored modern issues of land ownership and disenfranchisement, displacement, disconnection and conservation against the backdrop of his life.

What has stayed with participants from the St Walstan Community Creative Arts Project in 2016?

"A sense of wonder and joy in the way it all came together. In the risk-taking that enabled everyone involved to contribute in each person's unique way, and therefore being willing to let it take shape over time without panicking! A sense that God was guiding. A sense that St. Walstan was being justly celebrated on land that he must have been familiar with."
The best use of Saint Michael and All Angels Ruin for the last 150 years (since the Ruin was de-roofed in 1792). Danny's perseverance and inspiring leadership.

Sally Simpson Workshop assistant. Contributor to the script, and helped with hosting rehearsals and performances.

The satisfaction of knowing that something I created, when combined with the work of others, resulted in a community project that was truly memorable.

Tony Vale (Community Liaison Consultant). A member of the Writing Team.

I learned a lot about how to perform outside, in sometimes rubbish weather, and made good friends

Tom, age 13

I very much enjoyed performing in this beautiful outdoor space in a piece about nature and faith, two things that are very important in my life.


Meeting some very talented people with an enviable social conscience, willing to give up their time and efforts for the benefit of others. The setting


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