Strike a light

In 1960 my best friend was the daughter of Sam Moreland who owned the Moreland’s match factory in Gloucester. I remember the lovely graphics on the match boxes and the jokes on the back. As a child I liked the idea of the timber arriving in Gloucester docks by ship supplying the factory.


Gloucester is a city of unsung heroes and hidden gems and we have the opportunity to dig deeper into the heart of this city with its sea faring past and sites of pilgrimage and home to travellers from different parts of the world.

The opportunity is a new festival of theatre called ‘Strike a Light’ (no need to explain the connection to the name). The festival has been brought about by collaboration between Battersea Arts Centre in London, Create Gloucestershire and six different regions around Britain to develop and nurture a new model for touring contemporary performance around the country. Stand and Stare, in partnership with the dynamic theatre maker Sarah Blowers will produce two seasons of new work a year in Gloucester, the ‘Strike a Light Festival’ aims to involve all kinds of people in the city and to seek out our own homegrown talent.

The Festival will kick off with a feast and a ceremonial fire lighting on Sat 21st September in Blackfriars, a beautiful 13th century priory near the docks which has been restored by English Heritage. Blackfriars’ ancient walls whisper with stories of old Gloucester and the scale of the great hall is awe inspiring. Our first season includes Made in China performing Gym Party in the great hall and the North Wing at Blackfriars. The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey will be performed in the East Wing. The Gloucester Folk Museum will host Polarbear, the master maker-upper of stories in Mouth Open, Story Jump Out for children.

I have always liked lighting fires and this is a new fire-lighting challenge, the metaphors are countless of kindling, igniting, lighting up.

Small burning twigs can produce a large fire, to get the fire going blow where the wood is already burning. It won’t light if you blow where there is no fire, you get it to light by nurturing the fire that’s already started and let it spread to the rest.

Ali Heywood