Events & Workshops




TBA Ulverston

Rites of Passage

with Gilly Adams & Sue Gill

rites of passage workshop

Rites of Passage Autumn Schools 2024


SEPTEMBER 2024 – Dates to be added soon.

For artists, teachers, community activists, arts workers, storytellers and anyone with a creative interest in acquiring the skills to make and lead ritual and ceremony.

Years of austerity and the resulting sense that our society is falling apart, coupled with the experience of Coronavirus and Lockdown, have thrown into relief the pain caused by the lost opportunities to mourn lives that have been lost, our fear and impotence in the face of climate change, the plight of so many refugees and the terrible war in Ukraine, as well as grinding poverty and the loss of faith in the future.
In this context, the challenge is to find transformative ways of working that can move us from impotence to collaborative action and from despair to hope. This is where the creation of new and appropriate ceremonies and rites of passage, both public and domestic, involving not just family and friends but the wider community, can help us to make sense of the world.

This will be the starting point for both intensive 4 day workshops, which will focus on the Hows and Whys of ceremony and celebration in a practical and experiential way, and in particular on what is needed now.  We will investigate how both positive and negative life events can be distilled into myth and poetry and create meaningful rituals to contain them.

Crucially, the workshops will be shaped to fulfil the needs and aspirations of participants so there will be plenty of opportunity to learn and practise different aspects of the art of creating both large and small ceremonies in a safe environment.

Gilly Adams and Sue Gill have been working together for more than twenty-five years, first as part of Welfare State International and latterly under the banner of Dead Good Guides. They will share their experience of working as independent, secular celebrants, guiding families and individuals to create their own distinctive ceremonies.

It was one of the best trainings I have done with a great balance of teaching and direct experience that kept me active, immersed and reflective throughout. Laughter, tears, community, landscape, sacredness and plenty of profanity – marvellous. I will carry the experience with me for a very long time.
Michael Harvey, Storyteller

Practical details

Frome Workshop = £550
Bardsea Workshop = £500 
The fee includes tuition, materials, 4 (vegetarian) lunches, refreshments and 1 evening meal, but does not include accommodation. There are 12 places available for each workshop and a non-refundable deposit of £75 secures a place, (although we will make a full refund if we are obliged to cancel for any reason). The balance is due two weeks before the start of the workshop and may be paid in instalments, if necessary


… From the four corners of the Isle they had come held by the land, held by each other
as they surrendered to the inevitable threshold they would cross together.
Elementally cradled.
Majestic mountains, clear cool lakes, warm sun, salty air.
Gently guided by wise elders
they slowly peeled back the layers
revealing generously tender and loving hearts.
In celebration of all that is raw and real …….
Su Squire, Storyteller and Theatre maker.

For further information or to book a place, contact:
Gilly Adams   02920 552389/0781 354 3990


Also taking place on Saturday 16th September from twilight –  will be an opportunity to witness this unique example of a Rite of Passage for and with the community of this small market town. Now in its 40th year, we close the streets to traffic so four ‘rivers of light‘ converge and flow together, led by community street bands towards the Park for a finale.
As a public Rite of Passage, it offers an opportunity for individuals, generations and families to gather together with their homemade sculptural lanterns to mark the coming of autumn. A moment of excess to celebrate local creativity and belonging.
Started by Welfare State International under our direction, the model has now spread around the world.
For the last 16 years, it has been organised by dedicated volunteers and has gone from strength to strength.
Ulverston is now The Festivals’ Town.
Ulverston Lantern festival

Ulverston Lantern festival


01229 869769