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Sketching out a legacy

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Ellesmere Port resident Deb Jones is a shining example of the legacy of Covid-19 Reflections. After taking part in an artist-led sketch club as part of our programme of socially-engaged work, she’s now set up her own

The vision for this programme was to engage creatively with a broad range of communities across Cheshire. One way that Liverpool-based artist Jayne Lawless engaged with residents in Ellesmere Port was to host regular sketch clubs.


The North End Sketch Clubs took place at the Westminster Community Centre, Stanny Grange Community Centre and Theatre Porto. Anyone was welcome, whether they had sketched before or not, and the outdoor activity allowed her to creatively engage community members and get to know them.


The work was part of her broader project exploring how society changed during the pandemic with community groups, foodbanks and neighbourhoods working in partnership with essential services and becoming a lifeline to people in need. Deb Jones, Lawless says, has been the “star of the show”, recording her reflections in the podcast series she developed with Mick Ord, and providing inspiration for the book Lawless and the community created, with a story about her neighbour’s dog.

"After initial nervousness I really enjoyed the whole experience"

Deb loved the sketch clubs so much she’s now created her own – an independent legacy project for Covid-19 Reflections. With Jayne's mentoring, the sketch club began on 20th September and is in the safe hands of Deb with the support of Phil Cross from Theatre Porto, who are also very kindly providing the space to meet up and all the materials.



"After initial nervousness I really enjoyed the whole experience of our first ever sketch club in the port,” Deb said after the inaugural event. “It's my honour to carry on the North End Sketch Club in Ellesmere Port as I know it will be beneficial to the community and the area."


Lawless added: “This makes us so proud, the first of hopefully many communities taking over our North End Sketch Club model as their own,” said Jayne, who runs Dead Pigeon Gallery. “This is possible as Cheshire West and Chester Council have shared our vision of what real legacy of a project is, and I’m really enjoying this role as mentor and consultant.”

The Port Sketch Club will take place fortnightly on Wednesdays – the next one taking place on 4th October. The session will be indoors throughout the winter months and informal and sociable rather than taught.


For more information contact phil@theatreporto.org



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