Wiltshire Creative and All The Queens Men announce the UK premiere of Congress on 29 October, 7:30pm Salisbury Cathedral.
This extraordinary one-night-only event is supported by the UK/Australia Season Patrons, the British Council, the Australian Council for the Arts via the Australian Government and is presented as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22. Congress is produced and presented by Wiltshire Creative and created by Australian artists All The Queens Men.
Created by Australian Independent arts company All The Queens Men, Congress will invite eight members of the Salisbury community to make their first ever public speech within the iconic setting of Salisbury Cathedral, home to one of the earliest examples of social democracy – the Magna Carta. Working alongside local wordsmiths, they will put voice to the experiences, issues and hopes that shape their lives and their connections to the city they call home; reflecting on the journeys that have brought them to Salisbury, the community that keeps them there, and their personal visions for the future. These unique speeches will be presented alongside new work from local movement groups, expressing their own responses to these deeply personal and widely relevant manifestos.
Congress is a celebration of individuality, providing a vital platform for voices that go unheard. It gives a human face to unique stories that may sit outside preconceived ideas of a particular community, encouraging everyone to engage with change and transformation. Pairing ritualised performance with personal experience, it will create a true citizens assembly.
The diverse group of individuals who will share their words will include those who have been a part of the community since birth, as well as those for whom the city is a place of recent sanctuary. Their work, in collaboration with a local wordsmith, can only be witnessed in this one context, in this one venue and on one, very special, night.
Creators All The Queens Men said today: “Congress intentionally works against stereotypical representations of the ‘other’ by providing a platform for direct address to the public. It puts faces, and names, and stories to ‘difference’, subverting dominant narratives of what it means to be living in our contemporary and hugely inter-connected world. The people from Salisbury who are collaborating on this project are brilliant voices who deserve your attention.”
Louise Dancy of Wiltshire Creative said: “We are delighted to be presenting Congress with All The Queens Men in the powerful setting of Salisbury Cathedral. This one time only event represents all that is important to Wiltshire Creative by putting the community and artists at the heart of the work, providing a unique creative platform for the often underrepresented to be heard through this dynamic international collaboration. This defining event is shaping what we do and how we do it. I challenge anyone not to be changed by it, whether you are taking part or witnessing as an audience member.”