Column: I will delight in supporting arts events across Derbyshire
Ballet at the Royal Opera House, plays at the National Theatre, musicals in the West End and on Broadway, I’ve enjoyed them all immensely during the past 18 months, says Bishop of Derby, The Right Rev Libby Lane.
And I’ve done it from the comfort of my own living room. Free, live TV broadcasts of performances from some of the world’s most famous arts venues were something I made time for whenever I could - a welcome lift after the often grim news about the pandemic.
Wonderful though these performances were, I have, nevertheless, missed the sights, sounds and excited buzz around live events and being able to visit museums and galleries in person.
As well as entertaining us and enriching our lives, from street performers to the stars of Buxton International Festival, the arts can teach and transform us and play a vital part in individual wellbeing and community coherence.
A quick look at the hundreds of diverse events of all sizes that take place up and down our county every year shows how much people want to be involved, engaged, inspired, and creative - to come together whether as observers, makers, or performers.
Arts, culture and heritage are also very significant contributors to the economic life of our county. From the biggest towns to the smallest villages event organisers are all striving to draw in visitors and provide work - from the Derbyshire Woodland Festival to the Glossop Music Festival, the Belper Arts Trail or the Wirksworth, Ashbourne and Melbourne Festivals.
As we emerge from lockdown and reimagine our lives, there is so much we can learn from those who have gone before us.
I recently visited the new Museum of Making in Derby city centre, which is an incredible and wonderful building. It tells of 300 years of imagination, invention and innovation; of adoption, adaptation, and creativity; of enterprise and hard work.
We will need all those things over the coming months. I loved hearing individual stories of making and also seeing the impact many individuals have had on Derby and Derbyshire. Our city and county have been greatly influenced by creative manufacturing through the centuries and that legacy is alive today in world-class companies like Rolls-Royce.
They too will be learning lessons of adaptability and innovation that our forebears learned before them, not just to survive but to flourish and prepare us for the future. Derbyshire is used to being at the front of sweeping cultural change as the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site amply demonstrates.
Over the coming months I intend to play my part in rebuilding our cultural life. I will delight in supporting our arts, performance and heritage centres and events across Derbyshire. I will use my gifts, skills, talents and knowledge, my relationships and connections to work together with others, learning from the past, shaping the present, forming the future.
It’s time to get off my sofa, leave the comfort of my living room and re-engage with cultural life outside my front door. I hope you will join me. Perhaps I’ll see you in Buxton? Or maybe amongst the crowds at Bloodstock?