HerStory: The Catchpole Chronicles

Series: Enquiries

Ideas explored: music for health and wellbeing

HerStory: The Catchpole Chronicles is a unique performance project that celebrates and showcases the creative talents of people living with Parkinson’s.

Supported by Arts Council England and Snape Maltings, HerStory began as a research and development residency held in Jan 2019 at Snape Malting’s Creative Campus. During the residency, artists Amy Mallett, Danielle Teale, Sarah Lewis & Nicola Wydenbach formed a new collective; CARVE coLAB, with a shared vision for developing inspiring artistic opportunities for people living with Parkinson’s.

“We want to show the world what people with Parkinson’s can do!”

- company member

Devised in collaboration with the company, HerStory is an operatic performance work combining dance, music, film and animation, celebrating the exploits of a local Suffolk heroine, Margaret Catchpole. The company’s goal is to stage performances of the finished work in Suffolk and London, with a cast including members of the Parkinson’s communities from each location.

Throughout the summer of 2019 CARVE worked with community participants to develop material for the performance in a series of workshops, culminating in an Open Session at Snape on August 20th.

The next phase of the project will see Suffolk and London cast members unite for a performance at the Royal Opera House in summer 2020, as part of the venue’s Open Up programme.

“In this project I have seen people stretch themselves and then blossom when they find their involvement is a success. It gave me personally a feeling of wonder, my anxieties diminished and I felt full of joy that my performance was enjoyed and appreciated by an audience.”


“It’s given me confidence and reduced isolation. It’s given me new friendships.  It’s given me something to look forward to. It’s given me happiness and a sense of something achieved. It’s made me feel a little bit special in the fact that we all have something to give creatively.”


“We all saw the potential to increase self-awareness and confidence which will, inevitably, improve our well-being. It’s very rewarding being part of a creative group that, together can pull something like this off especially under the direction of such talented guidance.”