The Bowes Museum > What's On > Events > Event Detail > Fishdance!


A community dance and music project.

FISHDANCE! celebrated the closing moments of the Museum's 125th anniversary year, looking homewards, to the community in which the Swan and the Museum live.

This project culminated with a performance of music and dance as part of the Barnard Castle Meet parade, bank holiday weekend, Monday 28 May.

We invited community groups and participants from across Teesdale to get involved including dancers, music groups, designers, costume makers and volunteers.

The Silver Swan is the icon of the Museum.
  In spring 2017, the Swan went to The Science Museum London to play headline act in its blockbusting Robots exhibition.


Using the silver fish of the Swan Automaton as a metaphor for community, participants, following their schooling instinct as fish swam their dance up from the river, growing in number; coalescing as a single community, united in direction and motion.

What draws the fishes from their waters towards the light?
  The music of mother Swan, heard but not seen.  Dissonant and mechanical at first, broken and interrupted, disjointed, slowly becoming more coherent.  Culmunating in a single motion and point of sound.  Dead silence for a minute, a moment of reflection in a busy word then dissipation; a return to normality.

Our first ever community facing event delivered in the community by The Bowes Centre and The Bowes Museum.   Generously supported by Northern Heartlands and arts partners The Witham and TCR Hub.  This first step of many as we engage local audiences. Health and Happiness through Access to the Arts.

Information about reopening

We are delighted the Prime Minister has announced that museums can reopen this summer. We understand you are excited at the prospect of visiting The Bowes Museum and would like to assure you we have been developing plans to welcome you back into our beautiful building by late August; we are working on vital social distancing measures so you, staff and volunteers can be confident of a safe environment which everyone can enjoy.

We take pride in offering a relaxed and enjoyable day out for all the family, and with that in mind we are extending the Museum passes we have issued in the last year. Our exceptional Norman Cornish exhibition will continue until Autumn 2020 and we are planning to release details of a packed events programme, including the Christmas Market, over the coming weeks.

In the meantime the grounds of The Bowes Museum are open to be enjoyed by walkers and cyclists, in line with the government guidance on COVID-19. The parkland can be accessed through the front pedestrian gates between 10.30-4.45 daily. We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and understanding, and ask people to respect social distancing guidelines when they visit.

You can keep up to date with developments, including our reopening date here or on our Facebook and Twitter.