The Great Performing Rope

A celebration of Berwick’s past, present and future.

Berwick upon Tweed.
22 – 25 October 2015.

Inspired by the town’s rich history of rope making and traditions of rope walks, The Great Performing Rope created a 900 metre long piece of rope that wove its way through Berwick Town Centre carrying the personal stories, memories and hopes of the people of Berwick and its visitors. A series of installations, live performances and free activities brought the route of the rope alive from 23–25 October 2015.

November Club worked with individuals and communities in and around Berwick to build up a collection of memories and hopes – celebrating the town’s 900th year in history and looking forward to another 900 years, to reveal the many stories of Berwick, its history, its future, its people and places.

Artists worked with local people to create and perform a series of works telling stories about and for the town.  Artist Carl Von Weiler collaborated with local people to make a special sculptural 90m stretch of the rope, composer Katie Doherty created a new sea shanty which was sung by local school children, the senior section of the local girl guides produced a youth manifesto outlining the hopes and dreams of the younger generation and poet and performer Alfie Crowe wrote a series of poems.

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The Great Performing Rope was co-produced by November Club and Culture Creative in association with artist Carl von Weiler. Presented as part of Berwick 900 The 900 stories will form a digital archive of Berwick’s 900th year at the Woodhorn Museum and Archives to be explored by future generations.

Created by: Carl Von Weiler, Julia Barton, Katie Doherty, Dan Fox, The people of Berwick

Supported by: Arts Council England, Active Northumberland, The Community Foundation, Ernest Cook Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Berwick upon Tweed Record Office 

Partner schools and groups: The Grove School, Holy Trinity Church of England First School, Prior Park First School, Scremerston First School, Tweedmouth Community Middle School, Tweedmouth West First School, Berwick Trefoil Guild, Berwick Guiding Senior Section, The Beehive @ Berwick Youth Project, The Golden Square Singers

Photography: The Image Farm

Awards: Runner Up for Best Event Northumberland at the Journal Culture Awards 2016

Katie Doherty ‘All Hands to the Rope’

What people said

‘It was quite moving … and it gave a real sense of social history, the people’s history rather than the history you get in books.’

‘It brought the community together and I think every community needs that, we’re all very fragmented and have been for decades. Anything that can draw people together ... I think that’s really valuable.’

‘A great project remembering our town’s history. There was real community involvement - a platform for sharing experiences and memories.’

‘This made me see my home town with new eyes and I thought … we really ought to celebrate it and be so grateful that we live in this amazing place.’