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Free Sherlock Holmes inspired arts and crafts events and theatre performances will take place this month thanks to Portsmouth City Council's volunteer scheme, The Detectives.

The Summer of Sherlock Arts events are aimed at children aged 6-14 and take place on Wednesday 17 and Wednesday 31 August at Central Library. There will also be a theatrical piece for all ages, with two performances at Groundlings Theatre on Thursday 25 August.

The events are unique because they are being delivered by The Detectives – a group of people with learning or physical disabilities, as well as those experiencing mental ill health or substance misuse issues. The scheme has been providing participants with life-changing opportunities to gain work-based skills and experience, enabling them to return to work or start volunteering in the community.

A £65,000 grant was awarded to Portsmouth City Council by Arts Council England to launch The Detective project, to give people work-based experience and build their confidence.

The Detectives are having a real-world impact on the local economy by investigating Sherlock Holmes and organising fun events in the community to magnify promotions of the world-class Conan Doyle collection which resides in Portsmouth.

The Summer of Sherlock has two areas, Summer of Sherlock Make and Take and Summer of Sherlock Theatre. The Detectives interviewed and selected Splodge Designs to train them up to deliver make and take workshops to family audiences throughout the summer.

The remaining workshops will be held at Portsmouth Central Library on the following days:

Wednesday 17 August – Create willow magnifying glasses 

10.30am-12.30am and 2pm-4pm.

Wednesday 31st August – Mystery trail


To book onto the workshops, email, call 023 9243 7713 or book in person at Portsmouth Central Library.

For their last bow of the Summer of Sherlock Theatre, The Detectives have devised a piece with professional theatre maker Dan Hill to put on a fun, interactive theatrical experience that explores Conan Doyle’s time in Portsmouth and the fictional detective that defined him. to put on a fun, interactive theatrical experience that explores Conan Doyle’s time in Portsmouth and the fictional detective that defined him.

Performances are free, with no need to book, last approximately 30 minutes and take place at 4pm and 5pm on Thursday 25 August at Groundlings Theatre, Portsmouth.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Economic Development said, “This has been a fantastic opportunity to use our Conan Doyle collection to support residents in increasing their wellbeing and employability and to also create projects which will benefit our community. We are grateful to Arts Council England for enabling us to deliver The Detectives project and hope many families will enjoy the free events.”

The scheme is part of the city’s 2040 vision for a happy and healthy city, as is part of the council’s commitment to build independence and help everyone to live active healthy lives.

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