Uplifting people and places in Weston-super-Mare and North Somerset through inspiring cultural initiatives
Super Culture was launched in August 2023 – bringing together two of North Somerset’s arts flagships – award winning organisation Theatre Orchard and Culture Weston.
The two have come together with the shared vision to grow an ambitious, playful and inclusive creative culture in North Somerset through world class festivals, events and live performance, creative talent development and a year-round participation programme that enables local communities to connect, get creative and take a lead in shaping their local cultural provision.
The new name – Super Culture – recognises the organisation’s wider remit to promote and support all that is best in creativity and culture across North Somerset, while remaining rooted in Weston-super-Mare.
Theatre Orchard was established as a charity in 2007 as a short term project to support performing arts in North Somerset, and following 11 years building cultural and creative provision with multiple communities became North Somerset’s first Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation in 2018. Since becoming a NPO, Theatre Orchard’s programme has reached 125,000 people, created paid opportunities for over 400 artists, presented more than 160 productions, 8 festivals, 28 new work commissions and worked with 6,000 people through creative engagement.
In November 2022, the organisation secured a significant uplift in investment as part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio for 2023-2026, enabling the scale, reach and impact of the work to further develop.
Super Culture will specialise in creative placemaking and community participation – producing ambitious, diverse work with, for and by the people of North Somerset. A renewed focus on wider North Somerset will also help to supercharge existing creative provision in rural areas and neighbouring coastal towns.
Fiona Matthews, Creative Director at Super Culture, said: “It has been amazing to be part of the Theatre Orchard journey, since it was founded sixteen years ago. Through both Theatre Orchard and Culture Weston we have helped to shift perceptions about what culture can mean to a place as somewhere to live, work, visit and play! We hold firm to our central commitments around inclusion and excellence as we move forward under one Super Culture banner which joyfully encapsulates the creative energy that is flourishing in Weston and North Somerset right now.”
Super Culture is all about inclusion and working collaboratively with a wide range of partners including artists, community groups, local councils, schools, colleges and universities, the health sector, businesses and more, enabling culture and creativity to become part of everyday life for everyone.
Angela Hicks, Chair of Board of Trustees for Super Culture said: “North Somerset is fast becoming known for its distinctive and uplifting cultural life and the new brand name encapsulates this energy. Super Culture combines people powered creativity with outstanding international programming to produce a cultural offer with something to surprise and involve everyone – from sublime street art and world class contemporary dance on the beach to climate carnivals, synchronised swimming, poetry slams, feral gardening, community cooking and more.”
Our HQ is the community-led Weston Artspace on the High Street, and we also connect with wider creative meanwhile spaces in the town including fringe theatre space Front Room. Both online and in person, we continue to help weave the cultural fabric of Weston-super-Mare and North Somerset. We hope you enjoy this journey with us…
Meet the team
At Super Culture we believe the arts have and important role to play in exploring, communicating and taking practical action against issues around climate change and the environment.
We recognise our operations and activity have an impact on the environment, and we are committed to measuring, understanding and reducing our impact.
We seek to encourage dialogue and inspire change through our artistic and participation programmes, and in our work with artists, partners, networks and communities.
Here are a few things we’ve done recently:
- Appointed a Green Champion who seeks local and national initiatives to engage with and identify ways in which we as individuals and as an organisation can lessen our environmental impact.
- Developed a net zero strategy aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030.
- All events are powered by mains from a green energy supplier or renewable energy.
- We have a Green Charter for our event food stalls and bars. All produce is locally sourced where possible. All service ware is recyclable or compostable. We are meat and fish free.
- We encourage all our artists to travel by train where possible.
And here’s how you can help:
- Where possible, walk, cycle or use public transport to attend our events.
- Use recycling facilities at our events, or take waste home with you to recycle.
- Use our water refill station to save plastic waste.
As an organisation we aim to create a context where everyone has the opportunity to do their best work and feel fulfilled, no matter who they are, what they do or where they work.
We listen, respect, value input and then act. We are happy to take risks and learn from mistakes as part of our journey.
These principles are also manifest in how we build cultural opportunities for the town from a base of partnership. We seek to realise potential and celebrate difference, so that together we can build a cultural landscape that is inclusive across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status and disability.
Our diversity statement and the conversion of principles into active practise is reviewed by the Board of Trustees at each quarterly meeting.
Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy
At Super Culture we are committed to the safe welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults in all the work we do, from online and live events to outreach and engagement. Our team of professional practitioners are trained in the latest safeguarding and child protection policies including those that apply across all digital platforms, to ensure that every experience we offer as part of our creative programme upholds safe practice within safe places. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries or concerns and for more information on the latest policies surrounding child safety, visit www.nspcc.org.uk
Many of our events are recorded through photography & filming (including drone footage on occasions) for press, social media, website, promotional, documentation and evaluation purposes.
Content is taken on behalf of Super Culture by authorised photographers/filmmakers and shared with event partners and associated third parties.
By attending our public events and entering event sites, you automatically give permission to be included in any photos, filming, audio and video recordings taken during the event.
If you do not want your image/your child’s image taken, please inform the photographer/filmmaker or a member of staff at the time.
Super Culture is only as good as the sum of its parts, and those parts are you!
Join Culture Makers, a dynamic crew of local residents who are coming together to help make Weston an even better place to live, work and visit.
The team encourages people who can spare a few hours at a one-off event or would like to help out at larger events, such as town-centred festivals.
There is something for everyone to be involved in. In the past couple of years, Culture Makers have made their friendly and positive mark on events as diverse as GLOW festival in Grove Park, Whirligig outdoor arts festival on Italian Gardens, Good Grief Festival with University of Bristol (all over town!), Party on the Green in Bournville Park and and our annual Arts + Health Festival with NHS. Culture Makers help out at dance shows, performances on SUPER WONDER SHRINE and walking tours. The possibilities are many!
We offer opportunities in working with the public, with artists and always welcoming those with some technical knowledge to support in the production of our events. If you have another idea where you could help out, let us know.
We have offered training in being a tour guide, becoming a Dementia Friend and First Aid.
Whether you want to make new social connections (or build upon existing ones), enhance your skill base or you simply thrive on supporting your local community, Culture Makers invites residents to get in touch to make this happen.