A PROFESSIONAL dancer returned to her Warrington roots as part of her preparations for Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Kate Jackson took up a residency at the Pyramid to rehearse for Airplane of Flowers which was on stage at Edinburgh Fringe’s forest theatre.

She took the opportunity to fine tune the production in Warrington as she grew up in the town and has previously been commissioned by Culture Warrington.

It also felt apt as the performance’s theme at the biggest arts festival in the world was partly informed by her knowledge of the IRA bombings which took place in Bridge Street on March 20, 1993, killing 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball.

Kate said: “I was interested in what happens to a community which has been affected by a bomb like that – what changes take place, how people’s sensitivities change.

“The Irish people felt so passionately about what had happened in Warrington that they sent loads of flowers which came, of course, by plane. I thought it would be nice to highlight that with the title of the piece.

“That really resonated with me. I started asking lots of questions about what’s in place to support people after something like this happens, what can prepare people for the aftermath, how do these things affect us and shape us.”

Kate spent a year and a half carrying out research with organisations like the Tim Parry and Jonathan Ball Peace Foundation and Survivor Alliance, and volunteered with charities like Asylum Link Merseyside.

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Picture: Chantal Guevara

The piece was also being created at a time when Syria and terrorism was being discussed a lot.

She added: “Terrorism was very much in people’s consciousness; it was just before the Manchester Arena bombing to put it into context. I started to research the affects that war, terrorism and injustice can have on individuals and the community.

“Although it’s not graphic, it is by its nature a small stand against the storm of violence against women and children in terrorism and the need now, in that light, to hold tighter to our understanding of community.

“Airplane of Flowers celebrates the innocence of life, the great social part of being human that makes us all connected and loved, and the ability within us all to survive and recover.”

Meanwhile, Kate has again been commissioned by Culture Warrington to create a new performance as part of this year’s Contemporary Arts Festival.

She is currently working with students from Priestley College for an event during the Heritage Open Days weekend in September.

Leah said: “It’s been fantastic having Kate as our artist in residence this summer, knowing that we are helping one of our Warrington artists in the development of their work, especially when it was for such a renowned platform as Edinburgh Fringe. I have been lucky enough to work with Kate on several projects and it’s a wonderful opportunity to now be able to connect an artist of her calibre with students from Priestley College in creating new work for this year’s Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.

“I’m sure Kate will be a huge inspiration to other dance artists and I wish her the best of luck in her upcoming show.”

Originally from Warrington, Kate returned to the town seven years ago after working in London and saw a lot of changes.

She said: “It’s amazing that we’ve got somewhere like Pyramid and Parr Hall here. I’ve been coming to this building all my working life and it’s great to be connected with Culture Warrington again.”

Previous collaborations with the arts charity include Household, Solo and All-One with the support of Arts Council England and Warrington Borough Council.

“The town has doubled in size since I moved back here from London,” she added.

“The art scene seems to be thriving and there’s a great dance programme developing here. That’s why I’ve made most of my work here.”