A Bit of Earth plans revealed by The Bare Project

The Bare Project, a Sheffield based theatre company, have announced plans for A Bit of Earth, a new community project that swaps seeds for stories and encourages people to create their own secret gardens with their neighbours.

A Bit of Earth, which forms part of the upcoming Festival of Debate, invites people of all ages in Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley to share real or invented stories set in local green spaces. In return for your story, you will receive a mysterious package containing seeds and a map to your very own ‘bit of earth’ to plant them in. It is free to take part in and you can sign up here.

Malaika Cunningham, Artistic Director, The Bare Project: “Our little bits of earth – those patches of stubborn buddleia and grass emerging from old carparks, our local parks, or the wide hills of the Peak District – have given us a lot this past year.

“They have been places to escape to, to breathe in, and out. They have given us birdsong, hopeful snowdrops, and handfuls of blackberries, and absorbed our carbon dioxide. But how often do we pause to acknowledge these everyday gifts?

“In this project we want to create an opportunity for you to celebrate the green spaces which got us through this past year, and a chance to offer back some gifts of our own.”

A tree. Part of the A Bit of Earth project

The short story you choose to share can be fact or fiction – you can write it down, read it out, or simply make it up as you go along. It could be about secret gardens you’ve explored, unexpected encounters with wildlife, daily walks that become bigger adventures, and how green spaces have helped you through Covid-19 lockdowns or led to new connections or friendships. The stories can be as long or short as you like.

Only the first 150 households to sign up will receive a package, and you have until 16 May, or until all 150 spaces are filled up, to join in. The project is also open to groups – if you are interested in signing up as a community group, school, care home or similar you can get in touch with The Bare Project by emailing bitofearth@thebareproject.co.uk.

The stories and images that are collected through this project will be used to form a digital exhibition, hosted by Festival of Debate, featuring the images and audio stories contributed. This will include a map of all the green spaces mentioned in these stories and the community gardens where seeds have been planted.

In September there will be a physical exhibition displaying all of the collected images and stories gathered alongside the maps and photographs of the seeds being grown in the community gardens across South Yorkshire.

This project has been created by The Bare Project, in collaboration with Can Do South Yorkshire, Sheffield Climate Alliance, The Festival of Debate, Opus Independents, and community gardens across South Yorkshire. The creative team are Malaika Cunnigham, Lee Affen, Joe Bunce, Sarah Lewis-Cole, Linda Bloomfield & Sally Proctor.

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