What Is A Wish?

Timeframe: June – August 2020
Funder: Storyhouse, Chester West and Chester Council, Arts Council England.

To Have & To Hold is a pre-commissioned piece of work for Storyhouse (Chester, UK) that explores female history through Leishman’s research and creative interpretation of local Cestrian folklore and rituals. Production was postponed in March 2020 when Covid 19 national lockdown measures were activated by the UK government. During the projects’ postponement Storyhouse and Leishman explored the opportunity to develop new but associated projects based on the commissions’ thematic; our relationship to ‘wishing’ as a pre/sub-conscious habitual, superstitious, estranged or aspirational practice.

In the context of significant societal changes as a consequence of Covid 19 safety measures Leishman and Storyhouse agreed to re-direct some of this research to support the local Chester community. Storyhouse’s partner the charity Passion For Learning was brought on board for their work and expertise in boosting children’s’ esteem and confidence through their enrichment clubs.

The outcome of this partnership was What Is A Wish? a month-long creative engagement programme designed to explore hopes, wishes and dreams for children as a way to address the impact on wellbeing and the lack/decrease in formal educational experiences after the English school system was shuttered in March 2020.

What Is A Wish ran from 3rd – 28th August 2020. Structured to run every day, schools were asked to put forward 8 children at lower KS2/KS2 age groups. To make an impact the project would work with the same group of 8 children over the month, 40 children in total each week. The workshop/sessions based on different wish symbolisms, were both a creative making session as well as a breakfast and lunch club. Workshop sessions were delivered by the Storyhouse’s drama / dance practitioners and volunteers from Passion For Learning. Due to the national Covid travel restrictions Leishman worked remotely.