Hawk’s Well ‘Sligo Sings’ initiative recognised at Business to Arts Awards
The 25th annual Allianz Business to Arts Awards ceremony took place at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre last night. This year’s Allianz Business to Arts Awards attracted a record number of nominations with over 15% related to the 1916 commemorations.
The Awards recognise businesses, artists and arts organisations that develop creative partnerships to bring businesses and the arts into mutually beneficial relationships across society. The evening was a celebration of the most innovative and creative partnerships in Ireland which use the arts to enhance communities and working environments.
Sligo’s Hawk’s Well Theatre and IT Sligo’s partnership for ‘Sligo Sings’ in 2015 was shortlisted for the 2016 Allianz Business to Arts Awards in the Best Use of Creativity in the Community & Best Creative Staff Engagement categories. According to Business to Arts, the 25th Allianz Business to Arts Awards saw high levels of nominations from cultural events associated with 1916, expanding sponsorship portfolios and long-term partnerships which continue to evolve through diverse activation campaigns. This made judging a challenge, and caused lively and lengthy discussion among the Business to Arts Judging Panel. To be shortlisted for this category was an enormous achievement.
As part of Sligo Sings 2015 Hawk’s Well Theatre choirmasters developed and nurtured six new amateur choirs, created from the largest and busiest workplaces in Sligo. No experience was needed and it was not a competition. Each of the choir members were fully involved in the development and contributed to the success of their choir. The choirs rehearsed in their workplaces and later performed at the Hawk’s Well Theatre in a major celebration of their achievements. On the evening each choir performed two individual songs and then all 204 choir singers joined together for the final song as one major choir, celebrating the joy of singing together.
Hawk’s Well Theatre’s Sligo Sings initiative in 2015 was planned to break down barriers and hierarchies by creating workplace choirs to celebrate singing in the community. Sligo Sings was the perfect opportunity for the theatre to develop this concept with pre-existing communities such as workplaces as well as establishing mutually beneficial relationships and potential sponsors. The six final participating partners in 2015 were: IT Sligo, Sligo University Hospital, Sligo County Council, HSE, Sligo Volunteer Centre and Department of Social Protection. The Sligo Sings Choir evening took place at the theatre on 29th November 2015. The process of developing each choir was as important as the final performance at the theatre. The feedback received from each choir was amazing. The benefits and physical advantages of singing in a choir such as ‘release of happiness hormones,’ ‘relieving stress’ and ‘creating confidence when performing as a team’ have been well documented and there was certainly evidence of these benefits during the programme.
204 singers in total participated in Sligo Sings. All of the 6 choirs that took part continued to sing together as choirs after the 2015 programme had completed, performing for charity and at corporate events. One of the choirs raised funds from their performances for a workshop at the theatre for profoundly disabled children.
The programme raised the theatre’s corporate engagement profile which resulted in corporate sponsorship for the night and sponsorship pledges for the 2016 programme. Many of the companies that did not participate in the 2015 programme have requested to be included in the Sligo Sings 2016 programme or have become Corporate Friends of the theatre. Having proven the concept in 2015, the theatre is rolling out a more extensive programme for Sligo Sings 2016 which includes workplace and community choirs. The theatre has already secured two key sponsors for the 2016 programme and rehearsals are already underway for what promises to be a spectacular ‘Sligo Sings’ performance on Saturday 26th of November at 8pm. Choirs performing at Sligo Sings this year include a new community choir and new choirs from the Pensions office, The Mercy College, Abbott, Tidy Towns as well as the return of the Volunteers, Sligo County Council, IT Sligo, Sligo University Hospital and Markievicz House.
Tickets for Sligo Sings on Saturday 26th of November are €15/7.50 u18s and are available to purchase from the Hawk’s Well box office on 071 9161518 or www.hawkswell.com