A NEW project as part of Salisbury International Arts Festival is going to be showcasing the diversity of the city.

Wiltshire Creative is collaborating with Australian arts company All The Queens Men for Congress.

Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid, who run All The Queens Men, have been on a recce in Salisbury for the international premiere of the event at the festival in the summer.

Congress features eight people from different walks of life to represent the diversity of the city who will be paired with a professional wordsmith.Each of the eight wordsmiths will work closely with an individual speaker to craft a speech about their hopes and dreams for the future. The speakers will then make their maiden speeches in Salisbury Cathedral on May 29.

They were visiting Salisbury to begin work on Congress for the Salisbury Festival.

Tristan said: “We are honoured. These last two weeks we have met people from Salisbury who are going to changes hearts and minds in this event. We have just bore witness to peoples extraordinary resilience, tenacity and generosity.

“One of the privileges of being here at this time is that all we’re doing is creating space for people to be themselves and be true representations of how diverse, exciting and brilliant this place is.”

All The Queens Men have produced several similar citizens’ assemblies but this is going to be the first time it has been done outside of Australia.

Bec added: “I’m actually thrilled. I feel so curious about how it is going to look and feel in the cathedral. It is something very different for us as Australians we don’t have those kind of buildings.Throughout the week it has been fascinating learning from the local participants about their relationship to this building and what it is as a civic statement to create a piece of art together. That is pretty exciting.”

On being involved in Salisbury International Arts Festival, Tristan said: “It is an honour obviously. The festival has reformed and is rebuilding in really exciting new ways and this inclusion of our work in it is a testament to new directions and possibilities so we are pretty honoured as artists to be part of that story and part of how a festival, arts and culture have the ability to change hearts and minds and it is so important for the life of a city.”

The festival runs from May 22 to June 6. Go to wiltshirecreative.co.uk