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October 20th 2016

The thoughts, recollections and friendship of a group of older people from South East Northumberland are at the core of a new exhibition now on display at Woodhorn Museum. 

The exhibition, TURNS presents a film called A Long Side, which was made with and inspired by the Elderflowers, a resilient and warm-hearted group of older people who share time dancing, singing, laughing, eating and walking together. Developed over the course of a year, the film is portrayal of lifelong friendships, sense of community and local stories of the group. Also featured in the exhibition is a photographic collection called Taking Turns documenting the making of the film. 

Choreographer Emilyn Claid first met the group in March. She explains how casual meetings revealed the individual stories and elements captured on film. 

"We learned of childhoods spent picking whelks during the war when sweets were expensive. We gather information about two local industries, fishing and mining. Doris explains and demonstrates The Slosh Dance. We hear Tommy sing and we listen to a rendition of Alan’s fisher-boy newspaper story. Performed sketches are interspersed amongst caught fragments of everyday lives.”  

Lucy Cash, an artist, filmmaker and writer who worked with the group explains how she views the film. “It collages moments of dancing with movements of the wind and of crows, and fragments of thoughts and memories. It observes the doing of things and listens to the talking of the doing.” 

Dance artist Paula Turner says the Elderflowers have, “have moved more, stretched more, experimented more because there was a focus… something to work toward and also because they discovered that when you do more… more becomes a possibility that you can turn toward. Horizons broaden, life expands…” 

"This is a beautiful, touching, poignant film and exhibition”, says Woodhorn’s Interim Director Jo Raw. “It captures the individual characters, their humour, lives and friendships in tender and interesting ways. Woodhorn visitors are certain to be moved by it.”  

TURNS has been commissioned by Woodhorn through the bait programme and the exhibition runs until 5th March 2017.