Allianz Arts & Business NI Creative Community Engagement Award 2020

| Noelle McAloon

The town of Enniskillen was brought to life with Artistic activity thanks to the partnership between Enniskillen BID and Big Telly Theatre Company, winners of the Creative Community Engagement Award at the Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards.

Enniskillen Business Improvement District (BID) teamed up with one of Northern Ireland’s longest-established theatre companies, Big Telly, to bring a range of arts events and performances to the town over a six-week period with its pop-up ‘Creative Shops’ project. Big Telly first came up with the ‘Creative Shops’ idea over four years ago, with the aim of bringing creativity to high streets all across Northern Ireland. The company was founded in 1986 by Zoe Seaton.

Big Telly’s first project with Enniskillen BID was its interactive touring production, ‘Operation Elsewhere’, which ran on in August 2018. The event was described as a “cross between an extreme treasure hunt and an extraordinary adventure” at locations across Enniskillen town centre.

This led to the delivery of the first Creative Shop in Enniskillen, which ran from 25 February to 6 April 2019 on Townhall Street. Some of the artists involved were dancer Janie Doherty, visual artist Julie Sharkey and drama facilitator Holly Conlan, who ran drama classes for children and co-ordinated the shop. A second Creative Shop ran later in the year.

‘Operation Elsewhere’ and ‘Creative Shops’ offered a new way to engage audiences and participants in non – traditional theatre work. Most of those taking part were not regular attendees at arts events. Several local businesses directly engaged with the projects and Enniskillen’s High Street was transformed by different events taking place in shop windows.

“The partnership with Big Telly offers us a creative and innovative approach. The Creative Shop encouraged high levels of participation and interaction from the business community, local community groups, drama groups and the general public. This interaction was very positive and encouraged many people to enquire about BID and our activities.”
Noelle McAloon, Manager, Enniskillen BID