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Black Mary Project

What would a 21st Century healing well look like?

Global majority artists and communities collaborate to create an imaginative healing garden and festival for London inspired by Black Mary’s Hole, a 17th Century healing well. Launching Summer 2024.

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What is The Black Mary Project?

A project  bringing together global-majority artists and communities to create an imaginative healing garden and festival centreing wellness, new artistic commissions, talks and music. The Project is inspired by Mary Woolaston aka Black Mary who, legend has it, kept a healing well in 17th Century Kings Cross. Due to the lack of care in recording historic working-class Black  lives, Mary Woolaston remains a shadowy figure although she is clearly mentioned in some historic sources. Guided by Artistic Director Gaylene Gould, artists and the community from Calthorpe Community Gardens  will work together to invoke Mary's memory and reimagine her well, blurring speculative fiction, historic fact and contemporary stories.

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Why now?

At one time, London boasted its own  public healing wells and spas,  places where the rich and poor could rest, play and get well together. The memory of such places have long been forgotten at a time when we need public healing spaces more than ever. The pandemic claimed thousands of lives and now the survivors face punishing economic realities. The Black Mary Project is designed to explore what such a space might look for London drawing on the rich healing wisdoms that the global people of this city carry.


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What will we be able to see and do and when?

Supported by the Mayor of London Untold Stories Fund, a new Mary Woolaston Healing Garden and permanent artwork will be created at Calthorpe Community Garden by award-winning designer Juliet Sargent and sculptor Marcia Bennett-Male. 

A Black Mary Festival will feature a walking Healing Tour led by Gaylene, community researcher Emanuela Aru and dance artist Valerie Ebuwa. There will be a Calthorpe  Community Healing Programme, talks programme, a new music commission and a collaborative immersive performance experience.  

The project will fully launch Summer 2024 but look out for taster experiences beforehand. Sign up to the mailing list to keep up to date.

Find Out More


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