A fully accessible, free online resource that all the family can enjoy, Seasons Digital is a series of films and audio stories with accompanying text that audiences can stream at home or download to take outside with them. From somersaults in muddy puddles, swinging from trees, or handstands on the grass, the three films made with diverse circus artists show that there are simple pleasures in being outside and that connecting with nature can be done from anywhere. Each video has an audio story for children to download and listen to outside, and accompanying text to follow along with. Upswing’s new films and audio stories show families that you never need to go far to find your own little pocket of nature.
It can be easy to feel disconnected from our environment when living in a big city, yet there are small and mighty pockets everywhere; whether it be grass springing from a cracked pavement, a tall tree top visible from a window, or a fox rustling in the bins.
Seasons Digital is part of Upswing’s wider Seasons project, engaging young people with the joys, vitality, and importance of nature. The project uses music, visual design, circus, poetry and film in both live and online settings, to explore our changing relationship with nature and the world immediately around us. In Summer 2021, they toured Seasons Live to libraries and public spaces. The online experience was created to delve deeper into topics of reconnection, exploration, adventure and the consideration of our environment.
Artistic Director Vicki Dela Amedume said, “The pieces were inspired by conversations with children and families that were hosted by Brent Libraries. I grew up in South East London, we didn’t have a garden but we were lucky enough to have a few parks nearby but they were not close enough to be able to go to on our own as kids. It left me feeling like nature is something you have to travel to, it’s hard to feel connected to nature in those circumstances. When we started working with kids in Brent, I heard those feelings reflected back to me and through making Seasons we wanted to create a series of immersive and sensory resources, the live work, the audio poems and the video work that would offer pathways for children and families to reflect on that connection and find small ways to enjoy nature even if they could not get out to a woodland themselves. We wanted to make something that people could take outside to amplify their experience of outdoor spaces or could do at home to stimulate their imaginations if leaving the house was not possible.”
Upswing, a diverse led contemporary circus company founded by Vicki Dela Amedume in 2006, are committed to exploring relevant and thought-provoking themes across all their work. Their recent shows include outdoor show Catch Me, which was also presented digitally, and family shows The Ramshackle House and Bedtime Stories. Upswing’s productions and creative engagement programmes – which includes Circus in Libraries and Circus for Older People – aim to unite people from different backgrounds through new narratives. They also provide classes and consultancy for companies including the National, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Cameron Mackintosh, for whom they supplied performers as well consultancy for Barnum.