WonderZoo – Making it Happen

WonderZoo have two great news stories to share.. They have been awarded funding to archive the Plymouth Respect Festival and further funding to put on a second pilot festival called Storyteller.

Thanks to funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund, WonderZoo will be archiving 20+ years of the Plymouth Respect Festival. This well-known festival was founded by Ann Wilkinson and her friend Dan Thompson in 1998 and has been going ever since, with support from the Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council (PDREC) and other organisations. The history project will be called ‘Celebrate Respect!’

The project’s aims are to research the development of the festival from its inception to present day. By interviewing organisers, participants and audiences of the festival, the team at WonderZoo will map out its history and impact. They will create an archive of 100 oral history recordings, transcriptions, photographs, film footage, and other artefacts, to be stored at The Box Museum and Art Gallery for posterity. The archive will ensure that all the hard work, ambition and passion involved in creating the Respect Festival will never be forgotten, so that people will always know about the diversity and unity of individuals and organisations in Plymouth who have taken part in it.         

We have also won funding from Plymouth Octopus Project (POP) to stage our 2nd pilot festival called ‘Storyteller’. This comes after the success of our first pilot in March 2021 called ‘Lost Time’, which was staged during Covid-19 restrictions. The Storyteller pilot will include a research project to assess whether a large-scale future storytelling festival will be feasible in Plymouth. It will take place over 1st-5th June 2022 (during half-term holiday) across 6 small intimate venues with 11 events taking place in Stonehouse. This will include day time workshops (photography, shadow puppets and climate change, writing, radio, and personal storytelling), as well as evening events (WonderZoo gig, ticketed meal and play, history walk and film screening, African night, and Comedy). Young film maker Alusché Latuka will be making a short film to help promote the event, which will be shown over the five days at RAAY on Adelaide Street. Supporting the festival will be POP, Nudge Community Builders, Literature Works and Plymouth Culture. The exact timetable will be released in late March.

WonderZoo is all about storytelling, community, and collaboration. It’s a combined arts organisation, specialising in spoken word and performance events, workshops and activities, infused with 1920s surrealism and Punk DIY Ethics.


Contact us if you’d like to get involved in the Celebrate Respect! archive project, or for more information on our events.


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