Charlie Ryder (Ubuntu into Grief)

Area: Tooting

Type: Project

Art form: Art, Dance, Film, Music, Other, Poetry

Charlie Ryder
Charlie Ryder

Biography / Artist statement

Charlie Ryder is a Puppeteer, Filmmaker, Creative Producer and Collaborator. Charlie first creative experience was playing Scrooge at Broadwater school in 1981 and then M Darling in 1987 as part of Ernest Bevins production of Peter Pan. In 2007, he developed a one man play as part of Battersea Arts Centres scratch night using puppets, masks, physical theatre, dance and silence to shine a light on his prison experience the play was performed as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2008. In 2008, he got a job editing an arts magazine for people in prison which covered the themes of forgiveness, hope and happiness. From 2010 to 2015 he worked for a charity at HMP Wandsworth which ran a volunteer mentoring scheme supporting people in prison back into the community. In 2018, he produced a documentary called The Art of Ubuntu which was screened as part of the Docs Ireland film festival. He is currently caring full time for his mum who is coming to the end of her life and has dementia. What has struck Charlie is the need for creative spaces and ways to process and talk about grief. So his vision is to create a grief arts festival with visual art poetry dance singing creative workshops plays film screening comedy and death cafes. To start with Charlie has come up with an idea to bring some art forms together to create a creative space to talk, listen, share and learn from each other. An open space forum to talk about death, dying grief, climate grief and other types of grief. There will also be singing and dancing to music themed around grief. Ubuntu is an African word which means 'I am because you are'. Ubuntu remains a uniting principle that underscores the spirit of togetherness, the ability to work together towards a common goal and emphasizes the idea that the essence of being human rests largely on the recognition that we are all interconnected. There is a dying matters week which takes place every May which is to raise awareness about the need to talk about death, dying and bereavement. If this resonates with you, Charlie would love to hear from you. Charlie believes we live in a society which doesn't like to and is fearful of talking about death, dying and bereavement. He believes it is something we will all experience one day and has found by talking about my grief the more grateful he is to be alive. So he would love to create collaborations between different art forms, and would love to hear from artists and activists in Wandsworth who would like to help make this happen. Charlie welcomes imaginative creative ideas to help us to start this difficult conversations.

Why do you love Wandsworth?

I loved when Citizen Smith shouted power to the people putting us on the map. When Wandsworth lad Jimmy White made the world snooker finals I had to clap. When my school mate Sadiq Khan became mayor of london, I felt proud of what he had done. I love the wonderful characters in Tooting market. The kindness joy and sense of ubuntu existing in it. I love the unpaid carers volunteers and professional carers in Wandsworth for all the love and grace they bring which makes Wandsworth a brighter borough.