Monday 28 May 2018

A community dance and music project.

The project will culminate with a performance of music and dance as part of the Barnard Castle Meet parade, bank holiday weekend, Monday 28 May.

We invite community groups and participants from across Teesdale to get involved. We need dancers, music groups, designers, costume makers and volunteers.


FISHDANCE! celebrates the closing moments of our 125th anniversary year, looking homewards, to the community in which the Swan and the Museum live.

The Bowes Silver Swan is the icon of the Museum.
  In spring 2017, the Swan went to The Science Museum London to play headline act in its blockbusting Robots exhibition.

How do we bring the Swan to the community?
  This event will reflect the stewardship of the town’s institutions, remind us that we are stronger together as a community and that communication is critical.  The project will also generate space for communal reflection, peace and personal reflection as one another’s neighbours.

Using the silver fish of the Swan Automaton as a metaphor for community, dozens of participants, following their schooling instinct as fish will swim their dance up from the river, growing in number; coalescing as a single community, united in direction and motion around a powerful, emblematic, dynamic sculpture; the contra-rotating shafts of water and light forming the focus for this building wave of energy.

What draws the fishes from their waters towards the light?
  The music of mother Swan, heard but not seen.  Dissonant and mechanical at first, broken and interrupted, disjointed, slowly becoming more coherent.  Culmunating in a single motion and point of sound.  Dead silence for a minute, a moment of reflection in a busy word then dissipation; a return to normality.

The event will have a film, photography and poetry legacy, available on-line for free.

Get Involved

There are several ways for everyone to get involved. 


To make the event truly memorable, we want as many participants as possible to take part in the performance. Register at one or both of the below events to get tuition from a professional choreographer through workshops held at the Witham.  The final dance will take place in the streets of Barnard Castle on Monday 28 May and will last about 30 minutes; get dancing!

Thursday 10 May, 5.00 - 7.30

Tuesday 22 May, 6.30 - 7.30


The Bowes Museum’s Centre for Art, Craft & Design and its Education and Textiles Departments will work with individuals, schools and other community groups in workshops to create costumes.  Participants will decorate hoodies, provided free of charge, to represent the silver fishes to be worn during the performance and kept as souvenirs after the event.

Thursday 24 May, 3.30 - 5.30


The Silver Swan has six songs.  The TCR Hub will provide workshops for groups to compose music inspired by the six tunes of the Swan to form a soundscape, moving ahead of the schooling fish.  Groups will be able to record their compositions in the Hub’s digital recording studios.

Register Here


The Centre for Craft at the Bowes will help participants design a dynamic rotating sculpture at Scar Top representing the flowing glass rods of the Swan, responding to the river Tees.  Workshops will help participants with the necessary materials manipulation skills during the design process.

Register Here


We need the help of volunteers to help with workshops and organising the event on the day of the performance.  If you have textiles, dance, music recording, making skills, filming experience or could help marshal the event on the day. 

Register Here

Shopkeepers and business.

Make FISHDANCE! a truly sparkling event by decorating your window as a FISHDANCE! fishtank!

Register Here


On the weekend of the performance, we invite all to take part in participatory workshops to make devices to recreate the spirit of the beckoning river Tees. To take part:

Register Here


«May 2018»