The Heartstone Odyssey at Manchester Cathedral


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. 

Across the whole of Greater Manchester, we are committed to standing together to tackle hatred and discrimination, and the bullying and persecution of people simply because of who they are. We also have a role to help communities stand up and speak out themselves to combat this, and innovative approaches are key to this.  It is not just a case of one day or one week a year, but of challenging prejudice and hostility, and their roots every single day, be it in schools, in public, on the streets or in our communities; among young people and among adults. We are proud to work with Heartstone Odyssey and local young people to develop and sustain this work.’
Cllr Lisa Stone, Lead Member, Children’s and Young People’s Services
Working hard for the people of Eccles and Salford

‘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!’

‘As representatives of the Buddha Light International Association  (BLIA) and devotees of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple we were lucky enough to be invited to represent the above at  this event. Having both spoken to Chair may I express we both enjoyed the afternoon very much. We had heard about the Heartstone from the event in Liverpool the year before so we were looking forward to it very much. I don’t think anything could have prepared us for how lovely the event was. Buddhists believe in loving kindness and compassion as a way of life. The atmosphere on the day was amazing. There was clearly a mix of ages, gender, cultures and faiths all in one place celebrating the fact that story telling and dance can cross often great divides.  The multi faith service and welcome from the Cathedral demonstrated even further the recognition of the need for events like this. Please be reassured of  the willingness of the Fo Guang Shan to help in bringing communities together. Please do not hesitate to contact me again.’
Stuart Parsons, PA to Chair May Yau BLIA
 ‘Fantastic performance, well done to the school students. Thank you for the invite’  – Jamila, Manchester Islamic High School
‘An engaging and elaborate performance. We really enjoyed the story being told through dance and cannot wait to read the book and complete the project. Thank you for an amazing experience!’ –  Sam Elliott and Jessica Neary, Clarendon Road Primary School, Salford

‘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


error: Content is protected !!