Recently we have seen how giving young people the space and support to use creative writing to share their thoughts has had beautiful and moving results. Toni Cook has written a guest blog which explains what happens in our writers group, which she leads.
‘Its difficult to quantify the impact that the writers group is having on the young people without sounding evangelical! The fact that the lowest number we have had is perhaps 5 young people speaks for itself.
The group has a range of personalities and a massive range of confidence and ability. The young people are all incredibly generous to each other in their praise and reactions to each others work. Mellissa said today,” I keep thinking that this will be the week that I wont be amazed by something someone has written, that my jaw wont drop, but each week it happens, someone amazes me with what they have written.”
The young people are using writing to explore both their past experiences but also looking to their futures. We have work about anxiety, witnessing domestic abuse, pregnancy, harming, alcohol, depression that are all really strong pieces of writing but at the same time cathartic for the young people. We are discussing issues openly and not hiding from them. People are finding connections with each other through the workshops. We are also writing ridiculous stuff that makes us laugh too.
The impact of being creative, being self aware and sharing work has been incredible so far. Within the range of tasks I have set there have been lots of different ways of challenging the young people. Some activities have been awkward, time pressured, required good listening skills, needing humour, exploring empathy.
The main area where improvement has been extraordinary is confidence. At the start of these sessions some young people refused to read aloud in front of anyone and I had to read their work for them. People were quaking, shakey and over conscious of their content. This has all shifted. People are now reading aloud in front of the group and starting to perform rather than just read. Some have experimented with writing humour which has been delightful and they have been pleased to receive praise for something that isn’t deep/ personal. Others continues to delight us all with their writing and confidence development. They are becoming more self aware and sensitive and write BRILLIANTLY.
The development shown over 8-10 weeks has been immense. The support for each other is wonderful.’ – Toni Cook, www.dramaprojects.co.uk
Our next 2 performances including young people from Close House Projects and led by Toni Cook will take place as follows
Poetry and film showcase
27th June 6pm-7pm Herefordshire Libraries Book Festival
Hereford Library, Hereford. Box office 01432 383600
Epic Youth/Two Kids Lost
8th July 3pm-5pm Ledbury Poetry Festival
Market Theatre, Ledbury. Box office 01531 636232
Both event are ticketed but free, don’t miss out.
Read our blog about My Voice to see one of our latest performances that has creative wiring at its core.