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verd de gris was formed by artists Sharon Marsden and Jeff Turner.

When verd de gris was formed 15 years ago we wanted our artistic practice to bring a sophistication and ‘professionalism’ to community settings that raised the standard of participatory, combined art-form work. We wanted our projects to engage with broad, expansive ideas that invite debate, experimentation and emotional engagement – and it is central to our artistic philosophy that everyone who works with us is encouraged to engage with the idea, with each other, and with the work produced.

In all these projects, our approach to work is centred on our interest in the ways in which the creative arts can be employed to help people find their voice and express themselves – whether as individuals or as part of a wider ‘community’. We try to create works in which the individual, shared or collective experience is placed at the centre of our investigations and our own artistic response is very often to ‘frame’ these thoughts, ideas and concerns in as imaginative a way as possible.

We work in diverse environments and tackle a range of issues and concerns; social fracture, intergenerational drift, dementia; our project formats are tightly wrought and turn on big, fundamental principles like: place, migration, prayer, love and aspiration. But it is our underlying artistic vision and faith in art as a catalyst for engagement and change that allows us to get the results that we do. And the results are profound.

The enquiring nature of our work leads to the continued pushing of boundaries of what is possible in our work: of combining dance, drama, storytelling, installation, sound-art, sensory reminiscence. Similarly we aim to continue to develop innovative project formats that incorporate new ideas and new art forms e.g. recent dementia work has involved exploration into recorded sound and ‘soundscapes’ to bring the immediacy of the spoken voice to audiences.

Quality and beauty are an essential consideration in all our work, as important as process and independent of where we are working and who we we were working a with. Beautiful materials, industry-standard print, municipal gallery exhibition displays etc. are all important components because they give participants not only a greater sense of self-esteem and ‘value’, but bring them closer to an understanding of the artistic process, of design, fabrication, presentation and consumption.

It’s very important for us as a company to keep bringing freshness and rigour to the creative process, bringing these ideas and this way of working to a far greater number of people, helping to bring new artists and a new audience into this sector to respond to new ideas and new challenges.