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Following one woman's journey coping with grief, SWIM is about isolation, being held and just jumping in.
88 backers pledged £3,253 to help bring this project to life.
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About

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The message

SWIM follows a woman, at the heart of the show, and her journey with grief and being at one with life again, through the outdoors and community: something that we all have somewhere, for free. This one woman represents thousands. By supporting the development of this show, both its premiere at HOME (Manchester) and its journey to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, you are supporting the message that we all deserve good health and well-being and can have a better life.

My Childhood swimming

When I was young, all my best birthdays were spent in the valley- picnic on the banks and swimming in the rivers with my favourite people. I was lucky enough to grow up in the Lake District in England, where there's no shortage of green grass, sheep and cows peppering the landscape. Jumping off bridges into deep pools of water on weekends and running through fields as part of our P.E lessons at school, were the norm. 

Me taking a rather cool dip in Brotherswater in the Lake District
Me taking a rather cool dip in Brotherswater in the Lake District

My return to taking the plunge

Over the years as I grew up, career, illness, location all got in the way a bit from me being able to really submerge myself in my wild swimming and the outdoors. When I finally left London and moved to the Peak District, my swimming world opened up to me again. I was invited for an outdoor swim and it was so much fun! I went with a group of friends who did this most mornings before they went to work. They were seeing wonderful sunrises and having these magical experiences together before they had even had a bowl of cereal. I was intrigued. My love for swimming outdoors had been quite a solitary experience up until now (apart from when I was a kid). I was fascinated by this pull to the water these, mainly, women had. I admired their friendship from a distance and wanted to know more about the levels of support they were offering each other in a more conversational-way whilst in the water.

An extremely windy day when I decided to take a hike and a swim to do some filming near where I live in the Peak District
An extremely windy day when I decided to take a hike and a swim to do some filming near where I live in the Peak District

What is Open Water Swimming?

It doesn't have to be 'wild' to be free. The term incorporates all swimming in the outdoors whether it be in the sea, in lakes or large pools of water near cities- it's about swimming outside the restrictions of a manmade pool and enjoying water at no cost.

I recently was featured in a Guardian article talking about this.

The idea for SWIM

I was particularly struck by how many people were using the swimming in cold or outdoor water as a way to aid or help 'de-fuzz' the problems and struggles they were faced with in their day-to-day life. As I talked more to the community of swimmers I found these struggles included grief, long-term illness, depression, anxiety, stress, IVF treatment, post-natal depression, menopause...the list goes on. What they all had in common was that this swimming in open water, the freedom in it, the healing power, the coming together in shared experience, was helping a lot more than anything else in their lives. 

My first dip with theatre makers Josie and Sam in my home valley in the Lakes. The weather couldn't have been worse for their first experience, but we laughed a lot!
My first dip with theatre makers Josie and Sam in my home valley in the Lakes. The weather couldn't have been worse for their first experience, but we laughed a lot!

The people's stories

I wanted to explore these stories and create something that would follow a journey and highlight this ever-growing number of people coming back to nature. When I talked in depth with people I came across stories of heartbreak, determination and healing: a father's loss of his child takes him to the water everyday whereby he swims the length and back of a reservoir- head in, no stopping, letting the water guide his path. A woman's loss of her young niece and nephew and her ability to be able to cope with it all and support her loved ones, found in the renewing power of outdoor swimming and community in the water. 

I set about pulling together a team to help me devise a show which would incorporate the gift of story telling in live art and intrigue an industry such as the outdoor world to experience theatre in a way that felt familiar to them because of the nature of the topic. I can be so excited and inspired by adventure films, for example, but what I knew was that in theatre you can excite and inspire but also tell the story of that inspirational person and delve into their thoughts and feelings more than a film can. I wanted to cross over my two passions- the outdoors and theatre and I brought in two amazing young award-winning theatre makers to help me do this! Josie Dale-Jones (Nominated for an Offie Award 2019; Fringe First Award 2018; New Diorama Theatre & Underbelly’s UNTAPPED award 2018; Nominated for Emerging Company Total Theatre Award 2018; Les Enfants Terribles Stepladder AWARD 2017) & Sam Ward (Total Theatre Award for Best Emerging Company; one of the Guardian's 5 top UK theatre companies) .

A 'scratch of SWIM at York Theatre Royal
A 'scratch of SWIM at York Theatre Royal

HOME and beyond

I have already been on a year's journey with SWIM. From the first pitch to the theatre, to finding the team to make it with, to working with Adventure film Festivals, Outdoor swimming communities, running workshops with outdoor swimming enthusiasts and those who use the outdoors to aid them in their bereavement. I have met incredible people, inspiring people, passionate people, kind people, talented people, generous people. It has been so encouraging. I have LEARNT SO MUCH! 

I am so fortunate to be able to create and premiere SWIM at HOME theatre this July. They have supported and encouraged me throughout my career thus far as a theatre maker. I never thought I could do such a project, and so far (!) I'm still going. I'm learning how to work with spreadsheets without getting palpitations, I'm learning how to produce my work, to liaise with theatres, companies, charities and more. 

Edinburgh

I am SO excited to have had SWIM selected as a regional partner with the Pleasance Theatre and I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to take my show to the Pleasance in Edinburgh this August. As part of my initial interview for the award, I told the Pleasance that I wanted SWIM to not only be an exiting new piece of theatre, but by being present at the Fringe, represent the bigger picture of what I believe all artists who create such things- live art and entertainment deserve- well-being. This can be found in accommodation which is comfortable and affordable (having a bed to yourself and not having to share a room with 6 others); a wage- be acknowledged for the work that you are doing, your job; time-out. Edinburgh Fringe Festival is THE biggest art festival in the world. It gives artists the exciting opportunity to get their work seen by UK industry and international bookers. It is a world showcase.

Swim at the Fringe

Whilst we are up at the Fringe for the month, I will be encouraging people to get outdoors, take a swim in the sea, look after your mind and your body whilst pushing at an incredibly demanding feat to promote your art. There will be a weekly swim happening at Portobello Beach for all those who are working at the Fringe. Details to find out where and when: www.swimatthefringe.co.uk

Fundraising 

The only way that we can take SWIM to Edinburgh and get the message of the show out there is by raising the money to take us there. I have worked long hours (!) to ensure that I raise the funds in order to take SWIM to the masses and cover the costs in order to do this. Your support is integral to this being achieved. Through the reward scheme of Kickstarter, I can share a personal interaction of the show's journey so far by offering one-off experiences and memorabilia in return for funds which will create the next chapter. The money raised through Kickstarter will pay for our accommodation which is one of the huge chunks of money that I have to pay upfront for. This is shy of a third of what I need to raise in total to take us to Edinburgh.

Overcoming adversity

13 years after being diagnosed with an illness which brought my career to a standstill and stopped me being able to to be outdoors as much, here I am wanting to take my second piece of theatre I've created and happens to be all about overcoming struggles and getting outside more! I have my health, fitness and verve for theatre back- help me do my best for this project.

With my local friends now watching the sunrise and talking life
With my local friends now watching the sunrise and talking life

Risks and challenges

The risk in taking a show to Edinburgh is that you don't make enough funds to physically get you there: this comprises of travel, accommodation and food for a team of 4.
I am working very hard at ensuring all measures are in place to make sure we raise enough money and therefore can deliver all rewards that require this show to be at Edinburgh.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About US$ 13

    A trickle: A shout out on social media

    You are a trickle of water on a hot day. We will give you a shout out on Twitter for your contribution.

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    18 backers
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    Pledge £15 or more About US$ 20

    A glug: A list of places to swim

    You are that refreshing glug of water when you're parched. I will email you a list of my favourite spots to swim plus give you a shout out on Twitter.

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    Limited 6 backers
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    Pledge £20 or more About US$ 26

    A bottle: Postcard from Edinburgh +

    You are a refillable eco-friendly bottle full of water. We'll send you a postcard from Edinburgh Fringe and give you a shout out on social media.

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    Limited 8 backers
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    Pledge £30 or more About US$ 39

    A cup: Programme credit +

    You are an American measure, a down-it-in-one. We will list your name in our programme and give you a shout out on Twitter.

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    Limited 2 backers
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    Pledge £40 or more About US$ 52

    A vat: Dedicate a swim to you +

    You're the good meaning of vat. We will dedicate a swim to you, list your name in our programme and do a shout-out on Twitter about our swim dedicated to you (with pic).

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    Pledge £50 or more About US$ 65

    A pond: Exclusive photos +

    'Across the pond' can be a long way. We will email you exclusive photos of our swim in the Lake District, credit you in our programme and give you a shout-out on social media.

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    Pledge £55 or more About US$ 72

    A fountain: A signed poster +

    A fountain of knowledge: wise move! We will send you a signed poster of SWIM. We will also list your name on our programme and do a shout-out on social media.

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    Pledge £60 or more About US$ 78

    A stream: Scripts- from each artist +

    You encompass all that it is to sit by a quiet stream. We will send you a copy of each of our published works: Gutted; 5 Encounters on a Site Called Craigslist; Me & My Bee + Goggles. Plus credit you in our programme and give you a shout out on social media.

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    Pledge £70 or more About US$ 91

    A pool: Playlist +

    Think less swimming pool and more Mermaids Pool. We will send you a digital album of our musician Carmel Smickersgill's music from SWIM plus exclusive photos from our swim in the Lake District, a programme credit and a shout-out on social media.

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    Pledge £80 or more About US$ 104

    A tarn: Free tickets +

    A tarn- rising above all other waters. You will receive 2 free tickets to see SWIM at HOME theatre, Manchester. We will also send you a digital album of our musician Carmel Smickersgill's music from SWIM, credit your name in our programme and give you a shout-out on Twitter.

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    Pledge £90 or more About US$ 117

    A river: VIP tickets +

    A river of generosity flows in you. You will receive 2 x VIP tickets to the Edinburgh showing of SWIM at the Pleasance and meet you after the show plus a programme credit and a shout-out on Twitter.

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    Limited 3 backers
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    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 130

    An estuary: Workshop ticket +

    You are the mouth of the flowing river of generosity. You will get a place on our 'Devising theatre' workshop with Liz, Josie & Sam at HOME theatre, Manchester, Plus a load of HOME goodies, a programme credit and shout-out on social media.

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    Limited 4 backers
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    Pledge £300 or more About US$ 388

    A lake: Meal with the cast at HOME +

    A lake is central to our telling of SWIM- be at the centre of conversation whilst we meet and greet you with a meal and drinks at HOME. PLUS we'll give you a signed poster and the digital album of our musician Carmel Smickersgill's music from SWIM. We will also credit your name in our programme and give you a shout-out on social media.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge £500 or more About US$ 646

    A sea: Backstage tour, membership +

    You are not at sea but right where the action happens! You will be given exclusive access backstage at HOME for a tour of the theatre; a year's membership at HOME; a meal and 2 tickets to see SWIM, a programme credit and a shout-out on social media.

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About US$ 1,292

    An ocean: Devised theatre workshop

    You can't get bigger than that. You are our top pledger, you are a ledg-end. We will deliver a workshop for you on devising theatre, plus a programme credit and DEDICATED shout-out on social media.

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  16. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £75 or more About US$ 97

    A waterfall: EXCLUSIVE 48hr only...

    As the Stone Roses once said "she'll carry on through it all, she's a waterfall".
    5 lucky people will join the cast for our SWIM launch in Salford Quays on May 8th 5.30pm with the staff of HOME plus special guest. Splash out (there, we've said it) and join us for this one-off swim, chat to the cast and staff and join us all for booked drinks afterwards, you may even make it on to the telly. We will also give you a HOME goody bag.

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    Reward no longer available 0 backers
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Funding period

- (33 days)