A special performance of ‘Sailvoyage’s Journey’ from The Heartstone Odyssey took place on the 17th and 18th October in the grand setting of Manchester Cathedral. Special guests Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Sharman Birtles, on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Cabinet Member for Salford, Cllr Lisa Stone and Cabinet Member for Oldham, Cllr Barbara Brownridge opened the event with welcome address from Canon Dr David Holgate for the Cathedral. The event was undertaken in partnership with Faith Network for Manchester with Rabbi Warren Elf leading a moving interfaith ceremony to close the performances on both days.
Sitakumari led the performance with dancers drawn from Ellesmere Park High School in Salford and Delph Primary School in Oldham. The story covered the period from the initial creation of the Heartstone in the Himalayas by the Spirit of the Land, the accident which shattered the gem, Sailvoyage setting off from Madras in 1796 bound for Britain on a tall ship as a stowaway, arriving in London and meeting Lavenderwhiskers, the journey across Britain and final setting of the stone fragment in a stained glass window in the mythical cathedral of Wellminster. The performance opened with Chandra’s show being cancelled and her meeting Hugbundle and ended with her realising her role in the legend and the start of the great adventure.
Below are a few comments and photos from the event.
‘I was delighted to represent the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester at a recent performance of The Heartstone Odyssey at Manchester Cathedral. Kindness and compassion amongst neighbours and communities is vital to the wellbeing of the citizens of Greater Manchester, a County which is made up of people from many different cultures. We are all too well aware of what can happen when intolerance and bigotry is allowed to fester in a few individuals.
The Heartstone Odyssey teaches everyone, but particularly children and young people, the values which we should all live by – tolerance, understanding, respect and love for one another. The message is delivered in such a joyful way that one cannot help but be moved.
I therefore congratulate the Heartstone Odyssey on their vital work in this field, and would strongly urge those Boroughs of Greater Manchester which haven’t yet joined with this Project to do so without delay.’
Sharman Birtles JP DL, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester
‘I was really impressed by the way that the Heartstone Odyssey story and the performance captured the attention of youngsters from different backgrounds. This is an excellent way of involving and educating children to understand the value of co-operation, tolerance, understanding and mutual respect.’
Cllr Eddy Newman, Lord Mayor of Manchester
‘What a fantastic event showcasing our young people and their involvement in this project, which challenges racism and all forms of intolerance by engaging young people with the story. I was especially proud to see what a great job young people from Ellesmere Park High School in Salford did performing and speaking at the event as well as using the story to create their own art, drama and writings about hate crime and its impact on lives and communities. It’s really exciting to think of the potential and lasting influence that their performances will have on young people and communities.
‘The Heartstone Odyssey’ story teller (Sitakumari) and the students were absolutely amazing. The energy and passion can only come from higher power.’ – Sukhbir Singh
‘Amazing performance and very poetic. Really enjoyed the story and cannot wait to read the book. Thank you!’
‘A wonderful opportunity for bringing all the people of Manchester together to share joy and peace’ – C of E Resurrection Primary
‘Our pupils really enjoyed the performance and especially to see how a story can be interpreted into music and dance.’ – Bilquis Hatahet, Manchester Muslim Prep School
‘What a fabulous day. It was a real honour to represent our town and our school’ – Paul Britner, Delph Primary School
‘Fabulous experience and opportunity for the young people and it brought the story to life through dance and expression’ – Suzy Ashworth & Virbai Kara, Oldham Council
‘Really enjoyable performances. The children brought the story alive. They had obviously gained a great deal from the experience’ – Jenny Patterson, Manchester City Council
‘Thoroughly enjoyed all the performances. The children gained so much from being part of the project’ – Jan Bradburn, Manchester City Council